Makerbot 5th Generation (all models)

Filament Jam errors on first layers

If your filament isn’t sticking to your build plate, the Smart Extruder is probably printing a little too far from the build plate. 

Similarly, if no filament is coming out of the nozzle, or you’re hearing a clicking noise when your MakerBot Replicator starts a print, your Smart Extruder may be a little too close to the build plate.

In this case you may be getting filament jam error in the first layers, but the machine loads and homes correctly, it is because the z axis offset is incorrect.

This is a number (up to .4mm) that the machine adjusts in height if the nozzle from 0 mm when running a print to account for the glass and tape on the bed etc.

You may find it only occurs in certain parts of the bed, in which case please run the bed level routeen first (an option in your LCD menu). If the problem persists continue with this fact sheet.

In either of these instances, the first thing to do is make sure you’re running the latest version of the MakerBot Desktop software and that you have the latest firmware installed on your MakerBot Replicator.

Why is it happening :

For an unknown reason some users are finding that the machine re-sets to 0 after a firmware upgrade. This occurs randomly and Makerbot are looking into it.

How to fix it:

It is very easy to correct : watch this video

You can change the starting height by manually adjusting the Z-axis offset. Be careful: bringing the nozzle and build plate too close together can damage your build plate.


In MakerBot Desktop, navigate to Devices > Device Preferences

Click to open the Z-Axis Offset tab, and locate the “Manual Z-Axis Offset Adjustment” section at the bottom.

There you will see a picture of your Smart Extruder in relation to the build plate. Next to that is a slider, which should be set to “Default” at 0.00 mm for the mini and .34 for the other 2 models. 

To avoid damaging your build plate, make changes in .08 mm increments, or one notch on the slider. To increase the space between the nozzle and the build plate at the start of a print, move the slider down. To decrease the space, move the slider up. Then click Apply Changes

After running the homing process at the start of a print, your MakerBot Replicator will incorporate the distance you set and will raise or lower the build plate by that additional amount.

Experiment with making small changes to this setting until your MakerBot Replicator is printing to your satisfaction.

For prints with the raft falling apart or becoming detached from the model:

If you are finding that your first layer is sitting slightly too high off the bed - this will cause your raft to be attached very loosely and may even come apart during a print, you may need to raise the build platform slightly to get better adhesion between the raft and the bed. The following are examples of some of the issues you would encounter if your build plate was set too low versus a correctly aligned Z offset height.

Notice that the image on the left shows the layers being more smooth and compact whereas the image on the right the layers have small gaps and some of the filament has become detached from the model due to poor Z offset alignment.

Note : it is a good idea to re-level your bed after changes.

Bilby3D hopes you found this helpful