Project Dashboard Tutorials Preventative Maintenance Workflow

1 Smooth Rods

Wipe the smooth steel rods with a clean cloth or paper towel. The linear bushings leave a solid lubricant that builds up over time. Hearing squeaking noises while the printer is printing is likely a sign that the smooth rods need to be cleaned.

If necessary, buff smooth rods with #0000 steel wool and clean with cloth and isopropyl alcohol to ensure no debris is left on the rods.

NOTE: Never apply any lubricant or cleaning agent to the smooth rods; the bushings are self-lubricating.

Smooth rods

2 Lead Screws

If your printer uses lead screws for its z-axis, periodically you will want to wipe down the threaded rods with a lithium-based grease.

Never use any petroleum based grease such as WD-40, which may compromise the plastic parts.

We utilize Lucas white lithium grease NLGI-2.
Apply the lithium grease both above and below the X ends on the threaded rods and wipe down the threaded rods.

Use your preferred printer host software or the Graphical LCD controller to drive the Z axis up and down to help further distribute the lubricant.

Wipe off any excess.

Grease applied
After grease is spread

3 PEI Surface

If you are unable to get parts to print and you have already dialed in your z-offset, we can look into cleaning the build plate.

First, take a 50/50 mix of water and isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the bed to clean the surface of any dust or oils from touching the PEI.

If you want to really help bed adhesion, you can take a green or red scotch-brite pad and add a little of the water/iso mix to the PEI and lightly scuff the PEI surface.

Wipe down with the 50/50 mix again and add glue stick to that.

Doing this opens up the print surface to allow greater bed adhesion and is exactly what we do in our print farm if the print surface starts to lack adhesion.

If that still does not work for you, you may need to replace the PEI surface on the build plate.

We have a guide on this process found here

Items required

4 Hobbed Bolt/Gear

Filament is pulled through the extruder by a hobbed bolt/gear.

After repeated use, the teeth of the gear can become filled with plastic.

Using the brush or pick, clean out the hobbed bolt teeth.

If an extruder jam ever occurs, remove the plastic filament from the extruder and clean out the hobbed bolt.

Hobbed gear/bolt teeth

5 Belts

Over long periods or after extensive relocating of the printer you may need to re-tighten the belts on your 3D printer.

You will want to tighten your belt tension.

Each printer will have a different process by which this will be done.
Please refer to your user manual or the correct OHAI page for instructions on this process.

Make sure not to over tighten the belts as this can cause unneeded stress on the printer.

Printer belt

6 Hot End

The hot end should be kept clean of extruded plastic by removing melted plastic strands with tweezers.

Raise the printhead off the bed, and bring to extrusion temperature.

Using a thick leather glove and a clean blue shop towel gently wipe off the outside of the nozzle.

Using a non-conductive Scotch Brite pad to clean the nozzle is also very effective.

Do not clean the hot end with anything metal.

The printers hot end is susceptible to electrostatic discharge that can damage the hot end, so avoid using any kind of wire brush.

Clean hot ends

7 Wiper Pad

Over time the nozzle wiping pad will become filled with plastic residue.
The pad can be flipped over once and will need to be replaced when full.

Replacement nozzle wiping pads are available in our online store at

Do not attempt to use a plastic or polymer based wiping pad as it can melt, rather than clean the nozzle.

If the nozzle is not clean during the bed-level calibration process the heated bed assembly or extruder tool head can be damaged.

Felt wiper pad
Done! Take me home