Common 3d printing errors

Blobs and Zits

Blobs and Zits

During your 3D print, the extruder must constantly stop and start extruding as it moves to different portions of the build platform. Most extruders are very good at producing a uniform extrusion while they are running, however, each time the extruder is turned off and on again, it can create extra variation. For example, if you look at the outer shell of your 3D print, you may notice a small mark on the surface that represents the location where the extruder started printing that section of plastic. The extruder had to start printing the outer shell of your 3D model at that specific location, and then it eventually returned to that location when the entire shell had been printed. These marks are commonly referred to as blobs or zits. As you can imagine, it is difficult to join two pieces of plastic together without leaving any mark whatsoever, but there are several tools in Simplify3D that can be used to minimize the appearance of these surface blemishes.

Common Solutions

Retraction and coasting settings

If you start to notice small defects on the surface of your print, the best way to diagnose what is causing them is to watch closely as each perimeter of your part is printed. Does the defect appear the moment the extruder starts printing the perimeter? Or does it only appear later when the perimeter is completed and the extruder is coming to a stop? If the defect appears right away at the beginning of the loop, then it’s possible your retraction settings need to be adjusted slightly. Click on “Edit Process Settings” and go to the Extruders tab. Right below the retraction distance, there is a setting labeled “Extra Restart Distance.” This option determines the difference between the retraction distance when the extruder is stopping and the priming distance that is used when the extruder is restarting. If you notice a surface defect right at the beginning of the perimeter, then your extruder is likely priming too much plastic. You can reduce the priming distance by entering a negative value for the extra restart distance. For example, if your retraction distance is 1.0mm, and the extra restart distance is -0.2mm (note the negative sign), then each time your extruder stops, it will retract 1.0mm of plastic. However, each time the extruder has to start extruding again, it will only push 0.8mm of plastic back into the nozzle. Adjust this setting until the defect no longer appears when the extruder initially begins printing the perimeter.

If the defect does not occur until the end of the perimeter when the extruder is coming to a stop, then there is a different setting to adjust. This setting is called coasting. You can find it right below the retraction settings on the Extruder tab. Coasting will turn off your extruder a short distance before the end of the perimeter to relieve the pressure that is built up within the nozzle. Enable this option and increase the value until you no longer notice a defect appearing at the end of each perimeter when the extruder is coming to a stop. Typically, a coasting distance between 0.2-0.5mm is enough to have a noticeable impact.

Avoid unnecessary retractions

The retraction and coasting settings mentioned above can help avoid defects each time the nozzle retracts, however, in some cases, it is better to simply avoid the retractions all together. This way the extruder never has to reverse direction and can continue a nice uniform extrusion. This is particularly important for machines that use a Bowden extruder, as the long distance between the extruder motor and the nozzle makes retractions more troublesome. To adjust the settings that control when a retraction takes place, go to the Advanced tab and look for the “Ooze Control Behavior” section. This section contains many useful settings that can modify the behavior of your 3D printer. As was mentioned in the Stringing or Oozing section, retractions are primarily used to prevent the nozzle from oozing as it moves between different parts of your print. However, if the nozzle is not going to cross an open space, the oozing that occurs will be on the inside of the model and won’t be visible from the outside. For this reason, many printers will have the “Only retract when crossing open spaces” option enabled to avoid unnecessary retractions.

Another related setting can be found in the “Movement Behavior” section. If your printer is only going to retract when crossing open spaces, then it would be beneficial to avoid these open spaces as much as possible. Simplify3D includes an extremely useful feature that can divert the travel path of the extruder to avoid crossing an outline perimeter. If the extruder can avoid crossing the outline by changing the travel path, then a retraction won’t be needed. To use this feature, simply enable the “Avoid crossing outline for travel movement” option.

Non-stationary retractions

Another extremely useful feature in Simplify3D is the ability to perform non-stationary retractions. This is particularly useful for bowden extruders that build up a lot of pressure inside the nozzle while printing. Typically when these types of machines stop extruding, the excess pressure is still likely to create a blob if the extruder is standing still. So Simplify3D has added a unique option that allows you to keep the nozzle moving while it performs its retraction. This means you are less likely to see a stationary blob since the extruder is constant moving during this process. To enable this option, we have to adjust a few settings. First, click “Edit Process Settings” and go to the Extruder tab. Make sure that the “Wipe Nozzle” option is enabled. This will tell the printer to wipe the nozzle at the end of each section when it stops printing. For the “Wipe Distance”, enter a value of 5mm as a good starting point. Next, go to the Advanced tab and enable the option labeled “Perform retraction during wipe movement”. This will prevent a stationary retraction, since the printer has now been instructed to wipe the nozzle while it retracts. This is a very powerful feature and a great option to try if you are still having trouble removing these defects from the surface of your print.

Choose the location of your start points

If you are still seeing some small defects on the surface of your print, Simplify3D also provides an option that can control the location of these points. Click on “Edit Process Settings” and select the Layer tab. In most cases, the locations of these start points are chosen to optimize the printing speed. However, you also have the ability to randomize the placement of the start points or align them to a specific location. For example, if you were printing a statue, you could align all of the start points to be on the backside of the model so that they were not visible from the front. To do this, enable the “Choose start point that is closest to specific location” option and then enter the XY coordinate where you want the start points to be placed.

Related Topics

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

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 the build plate

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 9 too large0023

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 bed. 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 factor 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.

Low percentage of filling

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.

Slits 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.

Split 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.

Problems associated with printing algorithms are quickly eliminated by software developers.

Do not be afraid of possible difficulties and each print will be successful.

12 common 3D printing mistakes from easy to hard. How to avoid them?

1. Underestimation of the importance of the first layer. 2. Don't ask the 3D printing communities for help. 3. Random entanglement of the filament. 4. Fast assembly of your 3D printer. 5. Incorrect table and nozzle height calibration. 6. Using the wrong slicer settings. 7. Using a high % infill to reinforce details instead of walls/shells. 8. Don't use support when needed. 9. Never replace worn parts. 10. Lack of 3D printing monitoring. 11. Neglect of safety rules in 3D printing. 12. Buying a bad 3D printer out of over-enthusiasm. Conclusion.

There's nothing worse than 3D printing for days, weeks, months and years only to find out you're making common mistakes.

We're sure many of you are familiar with that feeling, which is why we've written this post to get you back on the road to success by outlining some common mistakes to avoid on your 3D printing journey.

Here you will find both small errors that you did not pay attention to before, and serious errors that can lead to a complete cessation of 3D printing.

Join our research to identify the most common 3D printing mistakes, as well as simple solutions to fix them quickly.

1. Underestimation of the importance of the first layer.

Too often 3D printing fails in the middle of the process due to poor adhesion of the first layer.

Definitely keep this important factor in mind if you want a successful print.
This is a mistake that is made too often, and it causes people to chase ghosts, trying to figure out what the problem is.

All this time, the reason was the bad first layers, which did not have a strong enough connection with the working platform.

Although your first layer is held at the start of printing, adhesion decreases as the print head moves. It is likely that your print may shift or fall off after a few hours if the first layer was not well extruded.

Solution .

  • Make a few test prints ahead of time and see how well the material adheres.
  • Use an adhesive such as 3D Printer Varnish or at least a glue stick.
  • Increase the flow rate (extrusion multiplier) for the first layer so the material has a better chance of sticking to the printer bed.

2. Do not seek help from the 3D printing communities.

Every user of a 3D printer has encountered some kind of problem that required some effort to fix. Some people took on entire projects just to solve a 3D printer problem, when the solution was easy to find.

3D printing communities are known for helping people solve their problems, so be sure to check out these free resources. From 3D printing forums to Facebook groups and YouTube surveys of other 3D printer users, the options are endless.

When we first started exploring 3D printing, we noticed that many people mention how helpful other 3D printer users are, so we immediately registered on all kinds of Russian and English resources, Facebook and Reddit communities and joined this space .

In most cases, people will offer the right solution and will be happy to help you try various troubleshooting options.

Not only can they help you with troubleshooting, but they can point you to some fun projects to try, as well as some of the latest innovations in the world of 3D printing.

Solution .

  • Join active Facebook groups on 3D printing and your specific 3D printer.
  • Subscribe to news feeds of authoritative 3D printing resources.
  • Be sure to check out YouTube 3D printing bloggers who post new and interesting content on a regular basis.
  • Find groups in Viber and Telegram. This is the fastest way to get an answer to your question.

3. Random entanglement of the filament.

We have read many reviews about 3D printer materials including PLA, ABS, PETG, etc. and some of the negative reviews mention tangled filament.

Unfortunately, in most cases, the thread becomes tangled due to the fault of users.

As a general rule, when the thread is wound onto the spool, there is very little chance of tangling, much more often after you take the spool out of the package.
If you loosen the windings in the winding and then wind the deflated windings back on the spool, you could accidentally wind them unevenly and create an overlap that will ruin your prints.

Solution .

When storing the filament, make sure that the end is securely fastened and cannot be easily loosened.
If there are already tangles on the spool, unwind enough thread and wind it tightly again so that it does not cross over.

If you are still unlucky, and you have purchased plastic of inadequate quality, during the production of which all technological cards were violated, then here is our advice: buy plastic for a 3D printer from trusted brands. The $100 price difference is infinitesimal compared to all sorts of other 3D printing costs.

However, this 100 UAH will save you not only from problems with overlaps, but also provide a stable diameter and color along the entire length, the absence of ovalities and smooth feeding.

4. Quick assembly of your 3D printer.

We were all very excited when we got our first 3D printer and it came to building it, but being overly excited can cause your 3D printer to build too quickly, resulting in poor print results.

This may not be immediately noticeable and you will get good quality prints within a few months.

What can happen gradually is wear due to incorrect assembly.

Ask yourself these questions before starting your first print.
Was your belt tight? Did you properly and securely fasten each wire? Is the Bowden tube installed correctly?

When it comes to a 3D printer, every little detail counts, so don't fall prey to 3D printing problems because of a quick and careless build.

Solution .

Find an authoritative YouTube video tutorial from an experienced 3D printer operator and follow assembly.
There are always a few little tricks they advise you to do for durability and high quality prints.
Even if you have already built your 3D printer, you can fix some things you may have missed.
The correct and high-quality assembly of a 3D printer actually leads to higher quality prints.

See also: How to set up your new 3D printer.

5. Incorrect table and nozzle height calibration.

Of all the layers in your 3D print, the first layer is the most important and it depends a lot on how well you leveled your platform and set your nozzle height.

It's not as easy as uploading a 3D model, sending it to an SD card and starting printing.

The software side of things is important, but the hardware side is just as important.

Many 3D printers come with manual platform calibration, so you have to raise or lower each corner yourself.

Your 3D printer doesn't have a perfect feedback system, which means it can't always check where the print head is.

The best he can do is use the X, Y and Z limit switches to make sure the printhead is 0.00mm in each axis.

What your 3D printer is very good at is extremely precise movements in the X, Y and Z axes, but if the nozzle height is not set properly at the beginning, everything falls apart.

The Z axis is height, so the nozzle must be properly adjusted so that it smoothly extrudes the filament along the surface of the build, neither too high nor too low.

Solution .

  • Learn how to manually calibrate the table.
  • Once your table is properly calibrated and the nozzle height adjusted, you can expect good prints.
  • It might be a good idea for you to invest in an auto leveling system like BLTouch. We at our 3D printing studio in Odessa prefer manual calibration.

6. Using incorrect slicer settings.

The slicer settings you use to print are some of the most important things when it comes to successful 3D printing.

Of the hundreds of setting changes you can make, one wrong setting is enough to ruin your print.

Fortunately, there are printer profiles and default settings that give people a basic starting point for printing.

After a few prints, you will start experimenting with different settings such as temperature, line width, flow rate, and so on.

Some of the misapplied misconfigurations are related to changing materials.

Whether PLA or ABS or PLA of different brands and/or colors, temperature recommendations will vary.

Make sure you set them correctly.

Slicer settings can either help you or break your 3D printing, so use them wisely, preferably with some kind of guide.

In most cases, when you load a model from Thingiverse, for example, designers create a list of settings that generally work well, but don't blindly follow them and be careful.

For example, if you replaced a brass nozzle with a hardened steel nozzle, you would need to slightly increase the nozzle temperature because hardened steel does not conduct heat as well as brass.

Another example is your work surface.

If you have added a glass substrate to your 3D printer, you should increase the table temperature to allow for the extra layer of heat transfer material.

Solution .

  • Use calibration models such as speed and temperature towers for each new material.
  • Spend a little more time looking at the slicer options to make sure you know what changing a setting will do.
  • Repetition is the mother of learning. The more often you type, the faster you will become a pro.

Read also: The best models for 3D printing testing.

7. Using high % infill to reinforce details instead of walls/shells.

For years, most people have tried to reinforce their 3D printed parts with infill. This method definitely does the job, but there is a much more efficient method that has been proven to work much better.

Instead of wasting a lot of material and extra time printing the infill, you should use shells/walls to make the 3D printed part stronger.

In some cases, increasing the percentage of filling does not provide the necessary margin of safety, while increasing the wall thickness makes it possible to produce truly reliable and impact-resistant products.


  • Instead of adding more infill, add more shells/walls to your prints to make them stronger.
  • For a functional 3D printed part requiring strength, it is recommended to use about 4-6 walls.

8. Do not use supports when necessary.

Most people try to avoid the use of auxiliary supports to save time and material, but there are times when their use is necessary.

You can try tilting the prints in a certain way and moving them around the print bed, but sooner or later there will come a point when this approach doesn't work.

Many models are specially designed not to use support for successful printing, which is very convenient.

On the other hand, some designs are too complex to print without support.

3D printers cannot print in the air and large ridges definitely need support structures to extrude the material onto.

Most often you can do without supports on 45° or lower overhangs, but for anything higher it is recommended to use supports.

This is more of a visual skill that, with time and experience, allows you to understand when models need supports and when you can do without them.

Some slicers may not show support in preview, so you'll have to judge for yourself.


  • Make sure you don't avoid supports when they are needed, because in this case you will just lose overall.
  • Use proper part orientation to ensure that your prints use as little support material as possible.

9. Never replace worn parts.

Although the profile, power supply and stepper motors of your 3D printer are designed to last for several years, other parts are consumables.

These are parts such as belts, nozzles and bearings. Make sure you replace these parts as they wear out.

You may notice a decrease in print quality over time, and wear and tear on certain parts can definitely be the cause, so check these consumables and replace them as needed.

If you are printing with materials such as ABS, PA12, PC or glow-in-the-dark plastics, the brass nozzles wear out much faster than when printing with traditional materials.

Switching to a hardened steel nozzle is a good idea if you want to print with abrasive materials.

The disadvantage is that it does not have the same level of thermal conductivity as brass nozzles.
Here is a short list of 3D printer parts that wear out over time:

  • Thermal barrier;
  • PTFE tube;
  • Fans;
  • Wires/connectors;
  • Thermistors;
  • Belts;
  • Glass platforms;
  • Bearings;
  • Heating block;
  • Motherboard.

You can buy accessories for 3D printers in the corresponding section of our catalog.


  • Be aware that some parts will not last forever, so check these parts from time to time and replace them as needed.
  • Make sure these components are installed to minimize wear.
  • Keep a set of replacement parts on hand in case they fail (nozzles, belts, wiring, PTFE tubing).
  • Buy high quality parts designed for long life.

10. No 3D printing monitoring.

Whether you have a premium or budget 3D printer, any of them can fail. They can fail within the first few minutes when the first layer is not printing well, or a few hours after printing starts.

In our practice, there have been a few cases when checking our printers after a night shift, we found a mess on the work surface and the printer continued to extrude spaghetti plastic.

Monitoring is not a panacea for all problems, but with its help you can stop the process in time and avoid waste of plastic and electricity.

It is recommended to constantly monitor your 3D printers throughout the printing process to make sure everything is in order.

What we make sure to do is monitor the first coat and then come back 15 minutes later to make sure everything is going according to plan.

After that, checking the printers every hour or so is a good idea to control your prints.


  • Check the 3D print from time to time to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  • Use the camera for remote fingerprint verification with remote power control.
  • Be sure to teach others how to stop your 3D printer if necessary.

11. Neglect of safety rules in 3D printing.

Basic safety precautions are based on burn and fire hazards, mechanical hazards, and injury from tools or melted plastic.

The risk of fire is very rare these days because 3D printers are usually equipped with overheating protection.

Pay attention to burns from hot nozzle or print bed.

We've also heard stories of injuries from the sharp edges of the printer's scraper.

This can be easily avoided if you are careful in your actions.

Removing supports is not the most pleasant and interesting thing to do, but getting cuts or scratches when cleaning parts is even worse.

It is recommended to check the wiring, bolts, belts and all moving parts from time to time so that a potential malfunction can be detected in the future.

Connectors can sometimes fail, so be sure to check these aspects to ensure the 3D printing process runs smoothly and safely.


  • Be aware of your surroundings and be safe.
  • Do not put your hand too close to the nozzle.
  • Do not keep your hand on the platen when taking the print.
  • Provide good ventilation.

12. Buying a bad 3D printer out of over-enthusiasm.

We are regularly contacted by clients who, on a wave of enthusiasm, bought a cheap 3D printer on Aliexpress or other market place, and this printer does not work.

Spontaneous cheap purchases do not give you time to analyze and compare 3D printer models. In other words, you are making your choice unconsciously.

People have experienced a number of problems, such as the SD card slot not working along with serious difficulties in transferring files over Wi-Fi.

Other options included poorly insulated wires, crooked frames and platforms.

Deformed threaded screws, cheap hot ends, broken parts, poor shipping packaging, poor assembly at the factory are also common when buying cheap "NoName" printers.

You may end up spending most of your time repairing, fixing poor print quality issues, and just getting frustrated with 3D printing.

If you've been one of those unlucky ones, you've probably learned to take your time buying a 3D printer.

One of the most popular manufacturers of inexpensive 3D printers around the world is Creality, and their top product Ender-3 v2.

This 3D printer has been tested many times by users around the world, and its popularity proves to be the perfect combination of price and quality.

Every 3D company is a team that buys parts and builds a printer, but some do it much better than others and more consistently.

Some people who buy a bad printer either give up 3D printing, do a complete costly rebuild, or buy a better 3D printer much later. You might as well start by buying a good 3D printer!


Choose a reliable 3D printer with a good reputation and avoid 90% of avoidable problems.

Learn more