Common 3d printer issues

Stringing or Oozing

Stringing or Oozing

Stringing (otherwise known as oozing, whiskers, or “hairy” prints) occurs when small strings of plastic are left behind on a 3D printed model. This is typically due to plastic oozing out of the nozzle while the extruder is moving to a new location. Thankfully, there are several settings within Simplify3D that can help with this issue. The most common setting that is used to combat excessive stringing is something that is known as retraction. If retraction is enabled, when the extruder is done printing one section of your model, the filament will be pulled backwards into the nozzle to act as a countermeasure against oozing. When it is time to begin printing again, the filament will be pushed back into the nozzle so that plastic once again begins extruding from the tip. To ensure retraction is enabled, click “Edit Process Settings” and click on the Extruder tab. Ensure that the retraction option is enabled for each of your extruders. In the sections below, we will discuss the important retraction settings as well as several other settings that can be used to combat stringing, such as the extruder temperature settings.

Common Solutions

Retraction distance

The most important retraction setting is the retraction distance. This determines how much plastic is pulled out of the nozzle. In general, the more plastic that is retracted from the nozzle, the less likely the nozzle is to ooze while moving. Most direct-drive extruders only require a retraction distance of 0.5-2.0mm, while some Bowden extruders may require a retraction distance as high as 15mm due to the longer distance between the extruder drive gear and the heated nozzle. If you encounter stringing with your prints, try increasing the retraction distance by 1mm and test again to see if the performance improves.

Retraction speed

The next retraction setting that you should check is the retraction speed. This determines how fast the filament is retracted from the nozzle. If you retract too slowly, the plastic will slowly ooze down through the nozzle and may start leaking before the extruder is done moving to its new destination. If you retract too quickly, the filament may separate from the hot plastic inside the nozzle, or the quick movement of the drive gear may even grind away pieces of your filament. There is usually a sweet spot somewhere between 1200-6000 mm/min (20-100 mm/s) where retraction performs best. Thankfully, Simplify3D has already provided many pre-configured profiles that can give you a starting point for what retraction speed works best, but the ideal value can vary depending on the material that you are using, so you may want to experiment to see if different speeds decrease the amount of stringing that you see.

Temperature is too high

Once you have checked your retraction settings, the next most common cause for excessive stringing is the extruder temperature. If the temperature is too high, the plastic inside the nozzle will become less viscous and will leak out of the nozzle much more easily. However, if the temperature is too low, the plastic will still be somewhat solid and will have difficulty extruding from the nozzle. If you feel you have the correct retraction settings, but you are still encountering these issues, try decreasing your extruder temperature by 5-10 degrees. This can have a significant impact on the final print quality. You can adjust these settings by clicking “Edit Process Settings” and selecting the Temperature tab. Select your extruder from the list on the left, and then double-click on the temperature setpoint you wish to edit.

Long movements over open spaces

As we discussed above, stringing occurs when the extruder is moving between two different locations, and during that move, plastic starts to ooze out of the nozzle. The length of this movement can have a large impact on how much oozing takes place. Short moves may be quick enough that the plastic does not have time to ooze out of the nozzle. However, long movements are much more likely to create strings. Thankfully, Simplify3D includes an extremely useful feature that can help minimize the length of these movements. The software is smart enough that it can automatically adjust the travel path to make sure that nozzle has a very short distance to travel over an open space. In fact, in many cases, the software may be able to find a travel path that avoids crossing an open space all together! This means that there is no possibility to create a string, because the nozzle will always be on top of the solid plastic and will never travel outside the part. To use this feature, click on the Advanced tab and enable the “Avoid crossing outline for travel movement” option.

Movement Speed

Finally, you may also find that increasing the movement speed of your machine can also reduce the amount of time that the extruder can ooze when moving between parts. You can verify what movement speeds your machine is using by clicking on the Speeds tab of your process settings. The X/Y Axis Movement Speed represents the side-to-side travel speed, and is frequently directly related to the amount of time your extruder spends moving over open air. If your machine can handle moving at higher speeds, you may find that increasing this settings can also reduce stringing between parts.

Related Topics

🔥 The definitive guide to solving 3D printing problems by Bitfab

🤬Having problems with your 3D printer? You’ve come to the right place.

In Bitfab we have prepared the definitive guide to solve all your 3D printing problems. Thousands of hours of professional 3D printing behind our back to help you with the setbacks you have with your printer.

And we not only give you the keys to diagnose your printing errors but also the best tips to prevent them from reappearing, fix your printer and calibrate. Pictures, videos and our best tips in a mega article.

👇 Enjoy the guide and use the index if you want to go to directly to the part that interests you.

📖 What do you want to read?

🤬 The most common defects and problems in 3D printing

We have put together a collection of the most common problems that arise when using our 3D printer. They are the same problems that we commonly encounter in our online 3D printing service, and so we have quite a bit of experience dealing with and solving them.

A well calibrated printer, correct lamination and an experienced operator are key to avoiding these problems. By having that you will be able to solve any printing problem.

If you experience any of these issues, follow the instructions we give you and if you still can’t solve them, you have the comment box at the end of the article to tell us your doubts.

❌ Warping, the first layer peels off and the parts bend

Warping is a decreasingly common problem, as the vast majority of modern printers have hot beds. In any case, warping can be caused by the following factors:

  • Lack of adhesion to the bed: this can occur due to incorrect height of the nozzle in relation to the base, or poor leveling; but also lack of adhesion to the printing surface.
  • Thermal contraction of the upper layers, which when “shrinking” pull on the lower layers. If this occurs, the print surface may even break if it is a BuildTak type, as the sticker will be torn off the bed. This can also happen with glass. This happens mostly with materials such as ABS or Nylon, and it is very difficult for it to happen when printing PLA.

Depending on our problem we can look for a solution accordingly:

For the lack of adhesion there are several solutions. If we are using a glass base, it is highly recommended to use some adhesive to increase the fixation of the part. Some known adhesives are the famous Nelly hairspray, or its more professional version 3Dlac. If we are using ABS we can apply a layer of the mixture known as ABS slurry which we can make ourselves by dissolving ABS in a container with acetone.

If your problem is related to thermal contraction, increasing the adhesion will not help you too much since, as we have said, the ABS when deformed can even break our printing base. To solve this problem we can simply cover the printer with whatever we have at home. A large box can work, as well as a more professional enclosure made in a closet.

The idea in this case is to enclose the heat generated by the bed, so that there is not much difference between the temperature of the first layers and the temperature of the upper layers, which are farther away from the heat of the bed.

Here’s an article that we made explaining this problem more in depth: How to avoid warping and cracking in my 3D prints.

❌ Cracking or delamination

Following on from the above problem is cracking or delamination. We talk about cracking when the layers of a part are not well joined, resulting in these layers being separated (hence the name delamination). This problem can be caused by two different reasons:

  • Poor adhesion between the layers: the layers do not stick properly to each other.
  • Thermal shrinkage: the layers stick together well, but a difference in temperature between different sections of the part causes it to deform, which can cause some layers to separate.

If the problem is lack of adhesion, it is usually due to low of temperature. Most filaments have a temperature range in which they can be printed.

Within this range, lower values will give us a better aesthetic appearance, since the deposition will be “cleaner”. Conversely, higher values will give us better layer adhesion. Printing materials such as ABS at less than the proper temperature often leads to cracking when trying to bond two layers without applying enough heat.

To check if our part is cracking due to lack of adhesion between the layers, we can try to raise the temperature and/or reduce the speed of the layer fan, as excessive cooling can also affect it negatively. Some materials, like ABS, will always be prone to cracking and will be more difficult to control; others like PLA are very easy to print without cracking.

On the other hand, if our problem is thermal contraction the solution is more complicated, as we must manage to create a warmer environment in our printing area. The optimal solution would be to cover our printer, as indicated in the previous point. This can result in some problems, since an excessive temperature can lead to failures in the electronics: missing steps or losing printing artifacts… it can also cause clogging, since there is not enough difference in temperature between the cold zone and the hot zone of the hotend.

In general, avoiding draughts (and the consequent temperature variations) and covering our printer will help, but we must be careful to avoid the problems mentioned.

❌ Layer shift

Layer shifting is a problem that occurs in the form of a displacement on some axis at a certain height. It can occur in the X-axis, the Y-axis or even both simultaneously. The most common causes of layer shifting are:

  • Excessive temperature in the motors, or drivers: the electronics in general are not designed to operate continuously at a very high temperature.
  • Lack of power in the motors, usually caused by a very low voltage value in the drivers.
  • Mechanical failure: it can happen that we have some of our belt’s teeth broken, or there is some debris on the shafts that can cause a jam in the movement of our printer. Sometimes a wrongly tightened component can also cause layer displacement defects when the whole shaft moves freely.

A general advice would be to put heatsinks, and if possible ventilation, to the drivers of our board. These components basically take care of sending all the necessary air flow to the motors, so they tend to heat up. Likewise, if our printer operates in very hot environments it would be appropriate to add some heatsink to the X and Y axis motors as well. If the drivers are very hot, you will usually hear a knock, knock, knock on the motors when the drivers are briefly disconnected to give them time to cool down.

Additionally, you can check if your printer has drivers with adjustable voltage, and if so, you can increase this voltage slightly by carefully turning the potentiometer on each driver. Be careful when doing this, and always do it with the printer turned off or using a ceramic screwdriver to avoid short-circuiting with a metal screwdriver. If you turn up the power on the motors too much you risk falling into the overheating problem again.

Finally, check that the shafts of your printer are clean and free from obstructions. Also check that the belts and bearings are not too tight (if the bearings are tightened with flanges or screws). Shafts that do not move well, over-tightened belts… cause motors to work harder and may lose steps.

❌ Z-wobble

This problem can be difficult to identify, as it is often not easy to distinguish it from a simple inconsistency in the extrusion. To identify it we must look at whether this inconsistency is repeated on a regular basis. If it seems random, or just noise in general, your problem is probably not z-wobble but an extrusion problem. Conversely, if there seems to be a pattern that repeats periodically such as waves on the surface, you may well have a problem with your Z-axis.

This problem is mostly due to structural failures in the construction of the machine, and is difficult to solve without making major modifications to our machine chassis. First of all check that all the parts are properly assembled, maintaining the perpendicularity and making sure that there are no loose screws.

Try to tighten all the screws on the couplers that connect the z-axis motors to the spindles. Also check that there is no wobble between the spindle and the trapezoid nut. It is complicated to give a correct solution, because the axis needs some freedom to move to compensate small errors in the chassis, such as corners that are not perfectly perpendicular.

A good solution that is not too expensive is to replace the motor-coupler-spindle assembly with a motor with a built-in spindle. We can also add reinforcements to our printer so that the frame of the printer does not wobble at the top.

❌ Stringing

Stringing is one of the most common problems in novice parts in the world of 3D printing, so if your parts have a lot of strings don’t worry, it’s totally normal and quite easy to solve.

Stringing appears when, as the hotend moves between two sections of our print, a small amount of plastic drips off and sticks to both sections, leaving a small thread in between.

This problem can be caused by the use of a bad quality hotend, but usually the machines have a hotendsn of sufficient quality, so the problem almost always comes from bad lamination in the slicer.

The most important parameters you should check in your slicer to minimize the stringing are the following:

  • Temperature
  • Retraction distance
  • Retraction speed

Temperature is a vital factor and probably one of the 5 most important settings in your profile. If you have a lot of stringing you are almost certainly melting at too high a temperature. Remember that all materials have a range of temperatures in which they can be printed, so try lowering the temperature and bringing it closer to the lower limit recommended by the manufacturer. If you are already using a very low temperature and still have stringing, check the following points.

While it is not possible to “suck” plastic out of the nozzle, as no negative pressure can be created, it is possible to minimize the pressure on the nozzle by pulling the filament out of the hot zone of our hotend. The shrinkage distance is very dependent on our printer, as both the melter and extruder and the type of extrusion (direct or bowden) must be considered. Most bowden printers perform well with a shrinkage value between 3mm and 6mm, and direct extrusion printers between 0.5mm and 2mm.

The speed of retraction is another important factor, as the higher the speed the lower the stringing. This speed will depend on the motor of our extruder and also on the type of extrusion (1:1 vs 3:1 like the Titan extruder). Generally values between 40 mm/s and 60 mm/s usually work, but if you have any doubt, please ask in a forum or group dedicated to your specific printer.

Additionally, almost all slicers or laminators have different more advanced settings that can help reduce the stringing, but these will only be of importance if the three previous ones are well adjusted. This is a very broad topic and we could make an exclusive guide about this problem, so if you want to see it, leave us a comment!

❌ Overheating, curling

One of the easiest problems to diagnose is overheating.

As we can see in the image, melting our plastic at an excessive temperature will cause the parts to look deformed, with the center of the layer sunken. This is because when melted at too high a temperature, the material does not have time to cool down, and that is why the layers can collapse or sag.

These deformations will be much more pronounced in small areas, such as small peaks of our part, where instead of a clean figure, a deformed churro will remain.

The solution to this problem is simple: lower the temperature. We must also play with the values of the layer fan, since a high temperature can favor a more fluid extrusion and we can compensate this temperature with a good cooling. In this way the material will be cooled down quickly and we will be able to obtain optimal results.

❌ Elephant’s foot

The elephant foot is a defect consisting of the expansion in the horizontal plane of the first layers of our part. It can occur due to two things or, normally, a combination of both: the nozzle is too close to the bed or the temperature of the bed is too high.

If the nozzle is too close to the bed, it is obvious that the first layers will be more flattened and therefore expand in the XY plane. To solve this problem we must correctly level our first layer, as indicated in a previous section of this article.

An excessive bed temperature (say, 90 or 100 degrees for PLA) can cause the newly deposited plastic to expand and deform, causing this very characteristic effect.

❌ Ghosting, ringing

The best article on this topic on the internet is the 3D Campy post by 3DSpana about ghosting, because he dedicated himself to try different combinations and components, taking pictures of the results, so you can see how decreasing the weight of the axes affects ghosting. If you prefer it on video, here’s the summary:

😍 Keys to print correctly with your printer

You’ve seen the list of problems we’ve collected. Now you have to know how to DO things.

Knowing your printer and laminator is the key to error and defect-free printing, so here are some tips to avoid problems and help you diagnose and fix them:

✅ Printing speeds

One of the most common mistakes we find on beginners is wanting to print too quickly on their first parts.

The printing speed is one of the most important printing parameters to obtain the best printing quality and an excess of speed affects the part very negatively for many reasons: vibration, extrusion problems, overheating, loss of steps…

One of the first things you have to do when you encounter a problem is to reduce the printing speed to see if it is solved. We usually print almost all parts between 40 and 60mm/s, no more is needed for most cases. In a printing service the most important thing is reliability and when you are looking for reliability it is best to print at reasonable speeds so you don’t have to throw the parts away.

It is not necessary to print your parts at 100mm/s, especially the first ones. Yes, we all know someone who does it and gets it done, but it’s not the best way to make sure they come out right.

✅ Bed adjustment and leveling

Learning to set the bed correctly level and the extruder at the right height is one of the first steps we take with a new 3D printer.

Here’s what a properly adjusted bed looks like: the height of the first layer has to be correct across the entire surface of the bed.

First layer too close

If your first layer is too close to the printing surface, you can cause jams, scratches on the bed, parts with the wrong dimensions, elephant foot…

Correct first layer

When the first layer is correct, the threads deposited by the extruder touch each other and are not too flat against the bed.

First layer too separate

A very separate first layer can be noticed by the separate threads.

Parts printed in this way are usually detached from the bed or warp.

And how do you properly level a hot bed? Our preferred technique is paper in the corners. It is not necessary to have a printer with self-leveling, the best thing is to have a reliable and well calibrated printer to print with quality.

✅ How to prevent and fix extruder clogging

Extrusion jams are the number one cause of failure on a farm like ours. You may have mastered your printer but the jams are always going to be there, so it’s critical to understand them and be able to prevent and fix them.

If you don’t yet understand how a 3D printer extrusion works and what the common terms for referring to them are, you can first check out our guide to 3D extruders.

Causes for clogging

Clogs arise from many different causes, sometimes in conjunction with each other. I believe the best way to solve them is to first understand all those causes and then try a series of techniques that can help fix them.

  • Contamination at the tip and print canal. Impurities that are deposited in the print canal or at the tip of the nozzle and hinder or completely block the flow of the filament.
  • PTFE/teflon degraded. Teflon hotends in the hot zone require maintenance of the Teflon, which when degraded clogs the filament flow.
  • Extruder problems. Maybe your extruder is not working properly:
    • Too much tension or too little tension in the dock
    • Low voltage in the driver that does not give enough power to the motor
    • Dirty thrust wheel, with teeth covered with filament debris
    • Any loose or broken parts
  • Scratching the filament. This is very, very important to understand. When we see the scratched filament, nibbled by the extruder wheel, it is not always the cause of the clogging. All printing clogs, whatever the cause, end up scratching of the filament. And only those clogs that are due to spring tension and excessive shrinkage are the root cause of the clog itself.
  • Tip scratching the base. If the first layer is too low, it can interrupt the flow of the melted plastic and quickly cause a clog in the extrusion system.
  • Watch out for shrinkage. A part with a lot of very fast retractions can end up scratching the filament. And long, slow retractions can overheat the cold zone of the extruder and cause clogging as well. In general, retractions won’t cause your clogs, but you should always keep an eye on them.
  • Poor cooling. Cooling is a fundamental variable in all-metal hotends. If your extruder is 100% metal like the E3D V6 you have to be very careful with this and with excessive shrinkage.
Unclog the nozzle with acupuncture needles

The technique of passing an acupuncture needle through the printhead is most useful if the real cause of your clog is an impurity. The nozzles themselves last many hundreds or even thousands of hours of use, so you will almost never have to change them.

Most likely a particle has been deposited in the nozzle and you should be able to get it out with the needle. We heat the head and stick the needle while hot, and then pull out the filament with the particles that might be causing the clogging embedded in the molten filament.

Repeat this process until the plastic comes out of the nozzle again easily.

Hot and cold pulling

The pulling takes a little longer to do than using the acupuncture needle, but it cleans the impurities better and also takes away the filth not only from the tip, but from the whole interior of the hotend.

They are easier to explain with a video like the one below:

Teflon switching

In hotends with Teflon liner it is necessary to change this component, in general, every several hundred hours. The Teflon or PTFE liner is a small tube that goes in the hot zone of your hotend to guide the filament in the last centimeters of run, and that is degraded due to the temperature it reaches. Changing it is a job that you will have to learn to do to properly maintain your printer.

Before the tube degrades completely, you will notice that your printer is having more and more trouble printing, the filament thread that comes out is thinner and it’s harder for it to deposit material on the parts that you print faster.

In every printer the change of Teflon is different, but here is the example of the Hephestos 2 from BQ to help you understand it better.

Adjusting the printing parameters

There are clogs that can occur because our laminate is not well adapted to the type of part and printer we are going to use.

To allow your printer to extrude more easily you can try:

  • Printing slower
  • Printing at a higher temperature
  • Printing thinner layers
  • Reducing the flow rate if you have more than 100%

These are all tricks that reduce the requirements on the extruder and melter because they require less flow through the hotend and heat the plastic to make it more fluid.

Retractions can also influence extrusion problems:

  • Too many or too fast retractions can result in scratching of the filament in the extruder.
  • Too long or too slow retractions can cause cooling problems in your melter (especially if it is all-metal) or end up clogging the plastic in the cold zone of the melter.
If you don’t know how to fix it, dissasemble the extruder and hotend

The best way to attack a mechanical problem that you don’t know how to solve is to proceed to disassemble what you want to fix. Taking apart a hotend and an extruder is quite simple and will allow you to see inside what is happening and reflect on the problem.

When you dismantle your extruder you will notice that there are some broken parts, dirt somewhere, some loose screws…

If you disassemble the hotend you will be able to see the state of the Teflon, the tension of the hotend threads and if there is print residue deposited in the filament canal.

In either case, take the opportunity to clean the parts to prevent errors in the future.

👋 That’s it for the 3D printing troubleshooting guide by Bitfab

Thank you so much for getting this far.

If you have any doubt or a different problem just put it in the comments and we will help you solve it, or maybe even add it to the rest of the problems 😁

👋 Greetings and thanks again!

The 20 Most Common 3D Printing Problems (Part 1)

Good afternoon dear 3D Today community! I would like to present you a translation of the article Troubleshooting Guide to 20 Common 3D Printing Problems, which will be divided into 2 parts.

Everyone has problems with printing. We had enough of them to analyze and find solutions for the 20 most common 3D printing problems. In this article, we share our experience and hope that now you do not have to spend extra time diagnosing and solving problems that have arisen.

If you cannot determine what the problem is, compare it with the description.

3D Printing Issue #1: Warp - First Layer Peeling

Issue Description

The print is lifting up on the base of the model and does not stick to the platform. This problem can also cause horizontal cracks in the top sections of the printout.

Why did the problem occur?

Deformation of the print base is due to the nature of the plastic. ABS and PLA plastic cools very quickly and this is what can cause the first layer to come off.

Solve 3D printing problem: Printout warped

1. Use heated bed. The easiest solution to this problem is to use a heatbed and set the temperature just below the melting temperature of the plastic. If you set the temperature correctly, the first layer will not come off the platform. The printer bed temperature is often set automatically by the slicer. The recommended temperature for your plastic is listed on the side of the package or reel.

2. Use adhesive . If your printout is lifting around the edges, apply a thin layer of glue (or hairspray) to the platform to increase adhesion.

3. Try another platform. Change the platform to a platform with more adhesion. Manufacturers like Lulzbot use a PEI (Polyetherimide) coating that provides a good grip even without the use of glue. XYZPrinting Some printers include a few pieces of thermal tape for the liner. This is a good solution for cool platforms. Zortrax 3D choose a different solution - a perforated backing to which the printout adheres, thereby relieving the user of the problem of deformation at the base.

4. Calibrate the platform. Improper platform calibration can also affect the print quality of the first layer. Check the level of the platform and correct the height if necessary.

5. Increase contact between printout and platform. Often this problem also occurs due to insufficient contact between the model and the substrate. It can be easily corrected using the printer software by adding a skirt or backing.

6. Optimize temperature settings. If none of the methods worked, check the advanced settings of the printer software and the printer itself. Try increasing the platform temperature by 5 degrees.

7. Pay attention to the fan settings. As a general rule, the fans should switch to full power as soon as the print reaches a height of 0.5 millimeters, but you can increase the height to 0.75 millimeters to allow the layers to cool naturally.

8. Even if your printer has a heated bed, it is recommended that you use glue (or varnish) and constantly adjust the bed level.

3D Print Warping: Checklist to Avoid Problems

  • Use Heated Platform
  • Use Glue (Varnish) for More Adhesion
  • Instead of Glass Platform, Use Kapton/Heat Tape/Adhesive/Varnish
  • Calibrate Platform or substrate
  • Adjust temperature and fan settings

3D printing issue #2: First layer misalignment (Elephant foot)

Problem description

The base of the model is slightly off.

Why did the problem occur?

Typically, the base of the model shifts due to the weight of the print, which puts pressure on the first layer when the lower layers have not yet had time to cool. Often happens with heated bed printers.

3D Printing Solution: First Layer Offset

1. Correct balance. To get rid of the problem of first layer displacement, the printed models must be cooled enough to support the weight of the entire structure. Here you should be careful: excessive hypothermia can lead to deformation of the first layer. Finding a balance is hard enough. Start by lowering the platform temperature 5 degrees (but no more than 20 degrees below the recommended temperature). If Bottom / Top Thickness is set to 0.6 millimeters, turn on the fan immediately at a height slightly lower.

2. Platform level. Most 3D printing problems are related to the wrong platform level. For each printer, there is a specific approach for platform level calibration. Check the manufacturer's recommendations to determine what you need. Print out a calibration cube and look at the quality of the plastic feed. The calibration cube will help you determine if the plastic has been laid flat, and if the nozzle is too close to the platform and scrapes the melted plastic, or too high causing the plastic to bubble.

3. Raise the nozzle. Raising the nozzle a little can often help. The main thing is not to raise it too high.

4. Smoothen the corners of the model. If all else fails, try chamfering the corners of the model base. Of course, this is only possible if you created the model yourself or if you have access to the source file. Start with 5mm and 45º bevel and experiment to get the best result.

First Layer Offset in 3D Printing: Checklist to Avoid Problems

  • Balance Platform Temperature and Fan Speed ​​
  • Raise Printer Platform
  • Check Floor Height
  • Make model corners smoother
  • : Other problems with the first layer

    Description of the problem

    The first layer does not look right, some fragments are missing. There are unnecessary lines at the bottom.

    Why did the problem occur?

    Such 3D printing problems usually indicate that the platform level has not been set correctly. If the nozzle is too far from the platform, unnecessary lines often appear at the bottom of the printout or the first layer does not stick. If the nozzle is too close to the platform, this can cause formation bubbling.

    Also note that the platform must be clean. Fingerprints on the platform may cause the first layer to not adhere to the platform.

    3D printing problem solution: Other first layer problems

    1. Set the platform level. Each printer has its own platform level configuration process. For example, the latest Lulzbots use auto-calibration, while Ultimaker offers step-by-step manual calibration. But to set up the Prusa i3 platform level, you will need to spend a lot of time studying the issue.

    2. Set nozzle height. If the nozzle is too high, the plastic will not stick to the platform, if too low, the nozzle will scrape the printout.

    3. Clean the platform. Be sure to clean the printer platform regularly, especially if you are using adhesive. Fingerprints, dust and adhesive residue affect how well the model sticks to the platform.

    4. Use glue (varnish). Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the platform to increase the adhesion of the model to the platform. Remember to clean the platform regularly as excess glue can cause the opposite effect.

    5. Use textured underlay for non-heated printer platforms.

    Other problems with 3D seal: Cheklist to avoid problems

    • Check the level of platform
    • Check the height of the nozzle
    • Clean the platform
    • Use the adhesive 4: Offset layers in model

      Problem Description

      Layers shift in the middle of the printout.

      The printer straps are not tight enough. The top plate is not attached and moves independently of the bottom plate. One of the rods in the Z-axis is not perfectly aligned

      3D printing solution: Layers misalignment in the model

      1. Check the belts. First of all, check how tight the straps are: they shouldn't hang loose, but they shouldn't be too tight either. If you pull on the straps, you should feel a slight resistance. If you feel that the top strap is tighter than the bottom strap, this is a sure sign that they are not tight enough.

      2. Check the cover. Check the cover, rods and other parts on top of the printer (if you have coreXY). Make sure all parts are properly fastened.

      3. Check the z-axis screws. Many printer manufacturers use threaded studs more often than trapezoid screws, and while both do the job, the studs tend to bend over time. No need to disassemble the printer to check if the rods are straight. Simply use software such as Printrun to move the print head up and down. If one of the Z axis bars is bent, you will definitely notice it. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to straighten a bent stud, but on the other hand, this is a great reason to replace old threaded rods with trapezoidal screws.

      Supreme displacement: Checklist

      • Check belts tension
      • Check if the upper cover is moving
      • Evil that the stilettos of the zis are even
      Problem with 3D seal #5: missing layers

      description problems

      Gaps in the model appear due to the fact that some layers are missing (partially or completely).

      The printer was unable to produce the required amount of plastic to print the missing layers. In 3D printing, this problem is also known as under-extruding. The essence of the problem may lie in the plastic itself (for example, a different diameter of the material), in the coil, in the feed mechanism (extruder) or in a clogged nozzle.

      Friction can cause plastic to get stuck. It could also be that the z-axis screws (studs) are not properly aligned with the linear bearings.

      There may also be a problem with the screws (studs) in the Z axis and with the bearings themselves.

      3D Printing Solution: Missing Layers

      1. Mechanical Check . If suddenly you find missing layers in the print - it's time to take a little care of your printer. Start by checking the screws (studs) and make sure they are firmly attached to the bearings or clamps.

      2. Check rod alignment. Check that all screws (studs) are aligned and not misaligned. Turn off the power and gently move the print head along the X and Y axes. If there is any resistance, then there is some problem. It is easy enough to understand what exactly the problem lies in - a slightly bent rod or bearings.

      3. Worn bearings. Worn bearings make noise. You may also feel the rattle of the print head, while the printer vibrates slightly. In this case, turn off the power and move the print head along the X and Y axes to find out where the worn bearing is.

      4. Check the oil. Remember to regularly lubricate the moving parts of the printer. Sewing machine oil is ideal for lubrication - you can buy it at any hardware store at an affordable price. Before applying oil, make sure the studs (screws) are clean. If the studs(screws) have dirt or print material residue, clean them.

      Then connect to the printer via a program (eg Pronterface) to move the print head in the X and Y axes and check that the studs are evenly lubricated. If you apply a little more oil, just wipe off the excess.

      5. Underextruded . The last cause of the problem may be insufficient extrusion. There can be many solutions to this problem, and all of them are described in Section 9.


      • Check the printer mechanism to make sure the moving parts are tight.
      • Recheck printer design and alignment
      • Check for worn bearings and bent pins
      • Use some oil to lubricate parts

      3D printing issue #6: Cracks in tall objects

      Problem description

      Cracks on the sides of the model, most commonly in tall models.

      The problem can occur unexpectedly, and most often occurs in large printers, especially if you do not monitor their work.

      The material cools faster on the upper layers, because the heat from the platform does not reach the required height. Because of this, the adhesion of the upper layers is lower.

      3D Printing Solution: Cracks in Tall Objects

      1. Extruder Temperature . Start by increasing the extruder temperature - 5-10ºC is best. On the side of the plastic box you will find the highest temperature for plastic, try not to raise the temperature to this value.

      2. Fan direction and speed . Double check your fans and make sure they are pointed at the model. If the direction is correct, reduce their speed.


      • Check the maximum possible temperature of the extruder and increase the current temperature by 10ºC in one attempt.
      • Check the direction and speed of the cooling fans.

      3D Printing Issue #7: Holes in the top layer

      Description of the issue

      Holes and gaps in the top surface of the printout.

      The two most common causes of this problem are improper top coat cooling and top coat not thick enough.

      Solution to 3D printing problem: Holes on the top layer

      1. Thread (filament) diameter . Often the problem happens with plastic with a diameter of 1.75 mm. Holes in the top layer are a problem with all 3D printers, but they happen more often with printers that use 1.75mm filament than with printers that print with filament larger than 2.85mm.

      2. Check the location of the fan . Cooling can cause this problem, so check the fans first. When the printer starts printing, the fans are at their lowest speed or off. After printing the first layer, the fans start to work. Check if they start working and also check if they continue working when printing is finished. If all is well, double-check if the direction of the fan is set correctly - they should blow over the model.

      3. Set fan speed in G-Code. Another cooling issue is related to excessive plastic in the top layer. It must cool quickly so as not to fall between the already printed supporting elements. The fan speed can be adjusted with G-Code ( is usually G-Code for Fan On is M106 and M107 Fan Off ). Also set the fan speed to maximum for the upper layers.

      For example, for a 1cm x 1cm cube, the height of the top layer would be 0.1mm. In this case, when generating a G-code through CURA for Prusa i3, the G-code indicates that the number of layers for the cube is 100. Considering that we specified heights of 0.6 mm for the top and bottom layers, it is worth editing the value to LAYER: 94

      4. Increase the thickness of the top layer . One of the simplest solutions to the problem is to increase the thickness of the top layer. In most applications, you will be able to adjust the thickness using the ‘Bottom / Top Thickness setting’ advanced settings. You need to increase the thickness of the top and bottom layers up to 6 times the other layers and up to 8 times for smaller nozzles and plastics. If the layer height is 0.1mm, then the height of the top and bottom layers should be 0.6mm. If there are still holes and bald spots in the top layer, increase the thickness to 0. 8mm.


      • Use a larger diameter
      • Mrive that the direction and speed of the fans are correct
      • manually set the speed of fans
      • increase the thickness of the upper layer
      9000 problem with 3D sequences #8: yellow, pute

      Description of the problem

      Cobwebs or hairs appear between model elements when printing.

      When the printer head moves across an open surface (without extrusion), i.e. from one object to another, the plastic flows out of the nozzle.

      3D printing solution: Hairs, webs

      1. Turn on retract . Retraction is an important factor for the quality of the finished model and can be enabled in the slicer. It functions quite simply and works by pulling the filament back into the nozzle before the head starts to move. The bottom line is that it prevents plastic from flowing out of the nozzle, which creates a "spider web" between objects.

      2. Retraction activation in settings . Most apps like Cura offer pull activation in settings and this is set by default. However, if you want more options, you can customize them further. For example, you can set the minimum head path before activating retraction.

      3. Minimum distance (mm) . If retraction is not working correctly, the easiest way to fix this is to reduce the minimum distance. Reduce it by 0.5mm until hairiness disappears. Activate retraction (retract) to increase the speed of printing.

      4. Just cut them off. Not the most sophisticated solution, but it has the right to life. Carefully cut the web.


      • Turn on pulling
      • Set up the minimum distance before pulling
      • Cut with a scalpel

      Problem with 3D extruding

      description of the problem. Description the extruder cannot extrude enough material (or cannot do it fast enough). This leads to the fact that the layers are too thin, unwanted bald spots appear in the layers or the layers are completely absent).

      This problem has several causes. First of all, the thread diameter may not match the diameter set in the slicer. Also, the amount of extruded material may be lower due to incorrectly configured firmware. Another problem is that the nozzle can become clogged and this will cause under extrusion.

      3D Printing Solution: Underextruding

      1. Check filament diameter . Start with the simplest solution - check the filament diameter settings in your slicer. If you are not sure about the filament diameter and the recommended temperature, check the information on the packaging.

      2. Measure thread . If you still can't get the desired result and filament separation remains a problem, use a caliper to check the filament diameter. After measurement, adjust the settings of the slicing software. ( author's note - if you have a bowden hotend, then you need to unscrew the fitting from the hotend, enter the command (for example, in Pronterface) M302 : Allow cold extrudes and extrude a meter of plastic. If more or less is extruded, then you have an incorrect number steps per mm for the extruder If you have a direct hotend, then you need to unscrew the nozzle ( the nozzle can only be unscrewed when it is hot! ). It is also worth noting that even with the correctly set steps per mm value, when retracting, the distance traveled will be less than when extruding. This is because more resistance is experienced when retracting )

      3. Check print head . After starting printing, most printers lift the print head off the model base. Check if the nozzle is clean.

      4. Set the extrusion factor to . If there is no difference between the actual extrusion diameter and the software settings, check the extrusion multiplier settings (or flow rate or flow compensation), they may be too low. Each slicing application solves the problem differently, but try increasing the ratio by 5% and restarting the print process.

      5. Open the Edit Process Settings window in Simplify3D and go to the Extruder tab - the extrusion factor should be set to 1. 0 which corresponds to 100%. Open the Material tab in Cura and increase the Flow settings (you may need to enable Flow in the Preferences window).


      • Check the diameter of the Philiment
      • Use the caliper to double -check the diameter of the Philament
      • Check whether
      • EXTRICATION is 5% at a time
      Problems of 3D SEMMARITIONS #10

      Description of the problem

      Excessive extrusion means that the printer is supplying more material than needed. This affects the fact that the printout has excess filament.

      Solution to 3D printing problem: Overextruding

      This problem is usually caused by the slicer's extrusion or flow ratio being too high.

      1. Extrusion ratio . Open the slicer and check that you have selected the correct extrusion ratio.

      2. Flow settings. If everything is correct with the extrusion ratio, reduce the Flow parameter in your printer software settings.

      Checklist :

      • Check if the extrusion factor is set correctly
      • Reduce the flow settings of the filament

      We are waiting for your comments on the translation.

      Happy New Year everyone!

      Problems, defects, 3D printing errors and solutions

      Often during the operation of a 3D printer, problems may arise due to which defects appear on the finished model. Or instead of a neat product, plastic noodles suddenly appear on the table.

      In fact, the causes of defects can be conditionally divided into 2 types - these are physical and software.

      Physical ones are those that arise due to problems with the mechanics or any other causes that can be eliminated physically. These include problems with printer mechanisms (belt tension, backlash), clogged or deformed nozzle, incorrect table geometry, etc.

      Software - these are defects that occur due to incorrect slicer settings or, less often, errors in the printer firmware. For example, incorrectly selected print speed, retract settings, incorrectly selected temperature for plastic, etc.

      Very rarely, the problem may lie in the wrong or “flying” printer firmware (although usually the printer simply will not start then), overheating of some boards during printing, etc. These are rather special cases, so we will not consider them.

      Model peels off or does not stick to platen

      This is the most common 3D printing problem. Every 3D printer has had a case when the first layer treacherously rolls, clinging to the extruder, or the most offensive - when it tears off a partially printed model from the table. The first layer must stick tightly otherwise nothing will be printed.

      Gap between table and nozzle too large

      This is the most common reason. You just need to set the correct gap between the table and the nozzle.

      Modern printers often use an auto-calibration (auto-leveling) table system or an auxiliary table leveling program. To calibrate such printers, use the instructions. If there is no manual, it can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

      If you have a simple printer without auto-calibration, a self-assembly or KIT kit, use a probe or a piece of paper folded in half to calibrate. The probe should be slightly pressed against the table by the nozzle. Before calibration, the table and extruder must be heated. Align the table surface over each adjustment screw (there may be 3 or 4) in turn, and only then check the center point.

      If you're having trouble getting your table surface perfectly level, try raft printing. Raft is a thick substrate in several layers that is printed under the model. It will help smooth out the slight curvature of the table.

      A small cheat sheet to determine the correct gap on the first layer

      Plastic with poor adhesion

      Some types of plastic, due to various reasons, such as large shrinkage, do not adhere well to the surface of the printing platform. In this case, try using stickers or special 3D adhesives to improve adhesion between the table and the first layer of plastic.

      In the early days of 3D printing, there were experiments with different homemade 3D adhesive recipes. ABS diluted in acetone, BF glue, sugar syrup and even beer. Some experiments have been successful. Until now, some enthusiasts use some types of hairspray or glue sticks as 3D glue. But still they are inferior in their properties to industrial 3D adhesives.

      Some types of high temperature plastics with a high percentage of shrinkage (ABS, Nylon, etc.) may peel off the table during printing. This is due to uneven cooling and “compression” of the model (the lower layers have already cooled down, but the upper ones have not yet). For such plastics, it is imperative to use a 3D printer with a heated table and a closed case.

      Plastic temperature too low

      The hotter the plastic is when it exits the nozzle, the better it will adhere to the print platform. It is better to print the first 5-10 layers at a higher temperature (+ 5-10 degrees) and turn off the blower fan.

      Wrong first layer settings (speed and thickness)

      A thicker layer sticks easier, so the standard first layer is 0.3mm thick. With an increase in print speed, the heating block may simply not have time to heat the plastic to the desired temperature and it will stick to the table worse. Before printing, check the speed and thickness settings of the first layer in the slicer.

      A lot depends on how the 3D printer prints the first layer. Try to control the printing of the first layer and only then leave the printer to work alone.

      Plastic does not choke from nozzle

      The printer has already begun to print, but the print table remains empty. Or part of the model did not print.

      Clogged nozzle

      In 3D printing, a nozzle is a consumable. The nozzles are clogged or worn out (frequency depends on the type of plastic). The simplest thing is to replace the nozzle. But if there was no spare at hand, you can try to clean the old one. To do this, there is a whole set of thin needles. Or you can heat a clogged nozzle above the melting point of the plastic and “burn out” the blockage. But later it is still better to replace the nozzle.

      Low temperature nozzle

      You need to increase the temperature of the extruder in the slicer settings or check the thermistor and heating block. Sometimes the thermistor may not read the temperature correctly due to a malfunction or incorrect 3D printer firmware settings.

      If the problem occurs after replacing the thermistor - contact the manufacturer or read articles about PID tuning.

      Empty extruder

      As the extruder heats up, plastic begins to ooze out of the nozzle. Because of this, the extruder may start printing half empty. Because of this, part of the first layer is not printed. You can push the plastic manually by simply pushing the bar into the nozzle. Or solve this problem programmatically - in the slicer, add a contour print around the model (one line).

      Some manufacturers and 3D enthusiasts add a line print on the edge of the table at the beginning of each GCode. This is done so that there is plastic in the nozzle by the time the model is printed.

      Feed mechanism does not push through plastic

      The plastic pushes the feed mechanism to the extruder - a motor with a special pulley put on the shaft. If for some reason the plastic is not pushed through (nozzle clogged, extruder temperature low, etc.), then the pulley “gnaws” through the bar. You need to push the plastic bar with your hands or cut off the damaged piece.

      Elephant foot

      The first layers of the model are wider and protrude beyond the boundaries of the model. This is due to the fact that the upper layers put pressure on the first ones that have not yet cooled down and flatten them.

      High table temperature

      Due to the too high temperature of the table, the lower layers remain soft for a long time. Try lowering the table temperature. It is better to reduce gradually (in increments of 5 degrees). You can try to turn on the blower when printing the first layers.

      Small gap between nozzle and platen

      If, when printing the first layer, the nozzle is too close to the table, then excess plastic will be forced out. After a few coats, this will not be as noticeable, but can lead to the effect of an “elephant's foot”.

      Plastic re-extrusion

      When too much material is squeezed out of the nozzle, the walls of the model are not smooth, but bumpy, with sagging.

      The solution is software - in the settings of the slicer, you need to set the material feed rate (fluidity) to a lower value. The average value is 95-98%.

      It is worth checking the diameter of the rod. If its size is greater than 1.75, then the plastic will be squeezed out more than necessary.

      Plastic underextrusion

      The plastic is squeezed out too little, because of this, gaps may appear between the layer. The finished model will be fragile and fragile.

      Wrong thread diameter

      Check the filament diameter in the slicer settings. Sometimes, instead of the popular 1.75, the default is 2.85.

      Incorrect feed rate settings

      Check the fluidity settings in the slicer. The average should be 95-98%.

      Clogged nozzle

      Something could get into the nozzle and partially block the exit of the plastic. Visually, the plastic will choke from the nozzle, but in a smaller amount than necessary for printing.

      Hairiness or cobwebs on finished model

      Thin threads of plastic protrude from the outer wall of the model (most often on one side). The defect appears due to the flow of plastic from the nozzle during idle movement.

      Insufficient retract

      A retract is a slight pull of a plastic filament from an extruder. Due to the retract when the extruder is idle (from layer to layer or from model to model), heated plastic does not drip from the nozzle. For some flowable plastics (eg PETG) the speed and amount of retraction must be increased.

      "Hairiness" can be easily removed by grinding or cutting off the threads with a sharp scalpel.

      High temperature extruder

      The higher the extruder temperature, the more fluid the plastic becomes. It is important to find a balance so that the plastic is not too liquid and sticks well in layers.

      In the selection of the optimal extruder temperature, a test model - a tower - helps a lot. It clearly shows how plastic behaves when printed at different temperatures.


      Temperature test

      Top "perforated" or uneven

      The top of the model is bumpy or with holes. The problem may arise if the top of the model is flat. For example, like a cube.

      Insufficient airflow

      When printing the top plane (cover), the plastic does not have time to cool down and remains too liquid. Because of this, the threads are torn and holes are formed. Increase the fan speed on the last layers.

      Few top layers

      The top of the print may be too thin and deform as a result. Check slicer settings. The number of upper layers is not recommended to be set less than 6.

      Fill percentage low

      If the infill percentage is too low, then the top layer will simply have nothing to rely on. Increase the fill percentage in the slicer settings.

      Model deformation

      Some parts of the model seem to have melted in some places or on one side. The problem most often occurs when printing with PLA plastic. The defect appears due to the fact that the plastic does not have time to cool and deforms.

      Insufficient airflow model

      Turn the fans on to maximum. If their power is not enough (in some printers, the fan is located only on one side), you can put a regular desktop fan and direct it to the 3D printer table.

      Small model

      Small models are difficult to blow well. Try to print small items alongside larger ones, or place several identical models in different corners of the table. So the plastic will have more time to cool.

      Layer offset

      Layers shift along the x or y axis during printing.

      Print head jam

      Turn off the printer and try to move the extruder along the x and y axes with your hands. The extruder must move freely. If there are jams, check the mechanics of the printer. Bearing wear or the curvature of the shafts may be to blame.

      Electronics overheating

      Sometimes electronics problems can be to blame for misaligned layers. The most common cause is overheating of the drivers or too low current exposed to them.

      Table top is loose

      This is most often seen in 3D printers with glass. During printing, the nozzle may hit the model and move the glass slightly. Before printing, check if the glass or other printing surface is well fixed on the heating table.

      Skip layers

      Small holes are visible on the print, or the shell of the model is not continuous.

      Teflon tube deformed

      There are 2 types of thermal barriers - all-metal and with a Teflon tube. If overheated, the Teflon tube may deform. Plastic will pass through it, but in a smaller amount.

      Low extruder temperature or high print speed

      If the extruder is not heated enough, then the plastic will not be liquid enough and simply will not have time to be forced through the nozzle. The higher the print speed, the higher the extruder temperature should be.

      Sometimes the outer walls print well, but the infill is “torn”. In this case, slow down the infill print speed in the slicer.

      Model bundle

      Cracks form on the surface of the printout during or after printing. Cracks can be large or very small. Most often, this problem occurs with plastics with a high percentage of shrinkage - ABS or Nylon.

      Sudden temperature difference (if model delaminates during printing)

      With a sharp temperature difference (for example, a draft), part of the model cools down faster. This leads to uneven shrinkage and incorrect distribution of internal stress. For plastics with low shrinkage, this is not critical. But if the shrinkage percentage is more than a few percent, the model may burst in layers.

      For printing with such plastics, it is recommended to use a printer with a closed housing. If this is not possible, try to avoid drafts and sudden temperature changes in the room where the 3D printer prints as much as possible.

      Print temperature

      Due to too low printing temperatures, the layers may not “stick” well to each other. Raise the print temperature in the slicer settings.

      Hardening (if the model cracks after printing)

      Sometimes cracks appear on the model a few days after printing. This is due to uneven distribution of internal stress after cooling. You can try to “harden” the finished product.

      For hardening, the model is placed, for example, in an oven, and heated to the softening temperature of the plastic. After that, the heating is turned off and the oven is left to cool slowly with the model inside. Due to this, the stress inside the print is distributed more evenly. But accuracy is very important in this method - if you make a little mistake with the temperature, the finished product can “float”.


      In places where the extruder changed direction, ripples are visible. Most often it looks like a shadow around the “sharp” protruding elements of the model.

      Mechanical problems

      Sometimes the problem occurs due to extruder play. Check if the extruder mount to the rails is loose. Be sure to check the tension of all belts.

      High print speed or high accelerations

      Moving the extruder too fast can cause vibrations that cause ripples on the wall of the model. The lighter the weight of the extruder, the less noticeable the ripples will be. To get rid of ringing, simply reduce the print speed in the slicer settings.

      Slots for thin-walled models (not solid shell)

      The thin wall of the model is not solid, but consists of two thin walls with a narrow gap between them. This problem is often faced by fans of printing "cutting" for baking.

      Left model with wall defect, right without

      Wall thickness and nozzle diameter mismatch

      If the wall thickness is 1 mm, and the nozzle diameter is 0.4, it turns out that for a solid wall, 2 nozzle passes are few, and 3 are already many. The result will depend on the slicer algorithm, but most often you will get 2 walls with a thin slot in the middle (the slicer cannot change the wall thickness). The solution to the problem may be a slight refinement of the 3D model or the use of a different slicer.

      Algorithms for calculating 3D models are constantly being improved and refined, and now this problem is less common.

      When modeling, take into account not only the thickness of the nozzle, but also the percentage of “overlapping” of lines on each other. If you have a nozzle with a diameter of 0.4 - make the wall in your model not 0.8, but 0.7 - 0.75.

      Wrong model geometry

      When instead of a circle you get an oval, and instead of a square you get a semblance of a rhombus.

      The main reason is malfunctions in the mechanics of the printer. Be sure to check:


      Check belt tension in x and y. Belts stretch over time and may need to be tightened or replaced. Each 3D printer has its own way of tightening the belt. If the belts are slightly stretched, you can tighten them with the help of a "spring".

      Loose pulleys, etc.

      Check if all bolts and nuts are tight. Are there backlashes. Pay special attention to tightening the pulleys located on the motors along the x and y axes.

      Sagging of some parts of the model

      Some parts are not printed, broken, or instead of a neat surface, a swollen plastic snot is obtained.

      No support for overhangs

      A 3D printer cannot print in the air, so if there are overhanging elements in the model, you need to set supports - supports. The slicer can set the necessary support itself, you need to check the appropriate box in the settings.

      When printing with soluble support, you can set the gap between the model and support - 0. This will make the surface smoother. If the support material and the model are the same, you need to add a small gap. Otherwise, it will be difficult to separate the support from the model.

      Divide model

      Sometimes the supports can take more plastic than the model. In this case, to save material and time, it will be more convenient to cut the model. If you have more than one 3D printer, then the model will print several times faster.

      When cutting the model, you can leave grooves or mortgages so that the pieces of the model are connected without displacement.


      In this article, we talked about the most popular 3D printing defects and how to solve them. Don't be intimidated by such a long list. Some problems are rare and you are unlikely to encounter them.

      There is a list of problems that arise due to the design features of a 3D printer, so try to choose a printer that suits your needs. To do this, you need to understand what products and what material you need.

      Learn more