Even though 3D printing has evolved to a point where the 3D printers are perfectly suitable for home usage, the fact that they are complex machinery still stands, which naturally makes them more prone to issues than standard household electronics.
As a result, encountering problems during the 3D printing process is not something that should make you surprised, and as a matter of fact, it should be something that you expect now and then, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as each problem teaches you more about the intricacies of a 3D printer.
In today’s article, we will be focusing on a particular problem that can get quite irritating and, above that, can be a warning sign of something more problematic to come down the road, which is the Ender 3 making squeaking noises during the 3D printing process.
So, what can cause your Ender 3 to make squeaking noises during the printing process?
Below, we have listed the most common culprits that can cause your Ender 3 to make squeaking noises:
- Incorrectly adjusted eccentric nuts
- Misconfigured timing belt tension
- Improperly tensioned extruder tensioner
- Filament rubbing on itself or another plastic part
- Z rod unable to rotate freely
- Worn out V slot roller bearings
In the upcoming parts, we will examine the potential factors that can cause your Ender 3 to make squeaking noises in further detail, go through the solutions that correspond to the possible factors behind the problem, and take a quick look at lubricants that are suitable for usage on your Ender 3.
What Can Cause the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Make Squeaking Noises?
While the primary thing that stands out about the squeaking noises is that they are annoying, especially if they get loud, it’s also vital to keep in mind there is a good chance that the noises are a forewarning for something more serious.
Here are the most common reasons behind your Ender 3 making squeaking noises, along with the detailed descriptions that will make it easier to pinpoint the problem in your case:
- The eccentric nuts are incorrectly adjusted. When the eccentric nuts responsible for determining how tightly the V slot rollers are attached to the rail are incorrectly adjusted, a squeaking sound can come from the rollers, most likely due to the eccentric nuts being too tightly tensioned. If the eccentric nuts are incorrectly adjusted, there is a chance that you may face issues with the XY movement of your Ender 3.
- The timing belts are misconfigured. When the timing belts that transfer the motion from the stepper motors to the axes are way too tight, it’s possible for them to make a squeaking sound during the movement of your Ender 3. In this scenario, you may notice some inconsistencies in the XY movement of your Ender 3.
- The extruder tensioner is improperly tensioned. The extruder arm is directly responsible for how tightly the extruder gears grab the filament, which can trigger a squeaking sound when the tension is way too high. In this case, you would also notice that the filament is being chewed by your Ender 3.
- The filament is rubbing itself or on another plastic part. If the filament is rubbing on itself or a poorly made filament guide while your Ender 3 is trying to pull the filament, the squeaking sound can occur as a result.
- The Z rod is unable to rotate freely and smoothly. If the Z rod, which is responsible for the movement of the Z-axis, cannot move smoothly due to factors such as being too tightly attached or being worn out, the squeaking sounds can come from it during the Z-axis movement. You may notice inconsistencies in the Z movement in this case.
- The V slot roller bearings are worn out. The V slot rollers that connect the axes to the rails have metal bearings that can eventually wear out, which will cause them to make unpleasant squeaking sounds.
How to Fix the Issue of the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Making Squeaking Noises?
Fixing the issue of the Ender 3 making squeaking noises can be a long and arduous process due to the many potential factors involved, but on the bright side, applying the necessary solutions shouldn’t require a lot of technical expertise.
Below, we have listed the potential solutions that correspond to the common culprits behind the issue of the Ender 3 making squeaking noises:
- Re-adjust the eccentric nuts on the problematic axis. You can locate the eccentric nuts behind the rollers of the axis where the sound is coming from and adjust them with the 10mm wrench that ships with your Ender 3. For best results, perform very slight turns on the eccentric nuts and test the movement after each adjustment.
- Re-configure the timing belt of the problematic axis. To adjust the timing belt’s tension, all you need to do is loosen the nuts placed next to the belt tensioner to loosen the belt and tighten them back on while you hold the belt tensioner at an angle and position where the belt is correctly tensioned. When the tension is optimal, you should still be able to pull the belt with your hand, but it should immediately snap back to its original position.
- Change the tensioning of the extruder tensioner. The extruder tensioner screw that you can use to adjust the tension is next to the spring you see on the extruder. We recommend performing slight adjustments as loosening the tension too much will prevent the filament from moving correctly.
- Use a filament guide, or replace the one you’re using. An adequately made filament guide prevents the filament from getting stuck, rubbing on itself, and practically any issue related to the movement of the filament between the spool and the extruder.
- Loosen and lubricate the Z rod. For this process, we recommend starting by loosening the Z rod screws first and performing a test. If the squeaking continues, lubricating the Z rod will be helpful.
- Replace the problematic V slot rollers. Once the V slot rollers start squeaking, the best course of action is to replace them, as they are not designed to be opened and lubricated. Fortunately, they are relatively cheap parts that you can find almost anywhere and are straightforward to replace.
Which Lubricant Works Best for Lubricating the Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
Lubricating parts of your Ender 3 can eventually become necessary, and in such a case, a vital point to keep in mind is to use a lubricant that is suitable for the task to ensure that you don’t face problems down the line.
For lubricating your Ender 3, we highly recommend using moly-based grease or lithium grease for metal parts that come into contact with other metal parts and silicone-based grease for plastic parts that come into contact with other plastic components.
As it’s vital to ensure that you’re using the correct lubricant to ensure the optimal amount of lubricity and avoid damaging the parts, we do not recommend using any lubricant you currently have available unless you already have used it before with success.
The appearance of squeaking sounds during the 3D printing process can be a real pickle due to various reasons, such as there being many factors that can cause it, it being not a very pleasant experience, especially in the long run, and finally, the possibility of it being a sign of a more critical problem.
To quickly recap, many different mechanical parts of your Ender 3, such as the V slot rollers, the timing belt, the Z rod, the extruder tensioner, or even the filament itself, can be the culprit behind the squeaking sounds that you are experiencing.
Fortunately, as all of these problems are relatively uncomplicated and do not require deep technical knowledge to fix, you should be able to get your Ender 3 back in working condition in no time.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.