Get Started with 3D Print Troubleshooting Part 1

Working with 3D Printers means we know just how amazing they can be if the prints come out as expected. Due to the nature of 3D Printing, there are quite a few common issues makers will encounter that can cause failures or quality issues with the print and nobody likes a failed print. This is why in this blog post we will be looking at a variety of common issues and how to prevent or correct them with future prints.

It is important to note that the tips in this blog post might not work for every situation and that there may be more than one cause of certain issues.

insufficient retractions troubleshooting

1. Insufficient Retraction

Insufficient retraction can result in stringing or other issues and while It may be tempting to sand or cut these sections from the print prevention is always the best way to fix 3D print issues.

How To Fix:
– Increase retraction distance.
– Increase retraction speed.
– Use non-stationary retractions in your slicer software.
– Use a different restart distance.
– Print cooler, decrease temp at 5°C increments at a time.

overheating troubleshooting

2. Overheating

Overheating is when the filament is too hot and there isn’t enough cooling. This will have a big impact on the levels of detail and the overall print quality. Luckily it is usually a pretty easy issue to fix!

How To Fix:
– Add a part cooling fan or increase the part cooling fan speed.
– Try printing colder to begin with. Alternatively, reduce the temperature when the printer is approaching the problem area.
– Print slower, giving the print more time to cool down. Consider the 15 second rule: the time for the nozzle coming back to the same point on your object should not be less than 15s.

Pro Tip: you could add a pause to the layer change script and park the nozzle away from the object for a few seconds.

blots and zits troubleshooting

3. Blots & Zits

Blob and 3D printing zits are another case of excess filament on your print.

While often caused by retraction settings it can also be the result of poor bed levelling. Excess filament additional filament blobs out and onto the print.

How To Fix:
– Retraction Speed, try increasing your retraction speed to retract your filament faster.
– Retraction distance, try increasing the retraction distance to retract more filament.
– Coasting, you can try coasting towards the end of the print to release some pressure before retracting.
– Wiping, you can use the wiping option to run back over an already printed wall to remove any excess filament.
– Disable Z-Hop, sometimes lifting your nozzle before retracting can cause blobs so try disabling this popular feature.
– Dry your filament, If your filament has absorbed moisture this could be the cause.

under extrusion troubleshooting

4. Under Extrusion

Under extrusion mostly occurs when your printer is unable to supply the correct amount of material needed to correctly print a layer. This will greatly impact print quality, strength, and will often result in a failed print. This issue is often one of the easier ones to fix with quick and easy to perform checks.

How To Fix:
– Make sure that there is no unnecessary resistance or back-pressure throughout the feed-path.
– Unclog nozzle if necessary.
– Filament diameter (Check you have specified the correct diameter in your slicer settings).
– Check print temperature, you might be printing too cold.
– Make sure your extruder gear is nice and clean with no plastic between the teeth.

poor surface above supports troubleshooting

5. Poor Surface Above Support

One of the more frustrating issues with 3D Printing is when you complete what seems like a perfect print only to find that the supports material has resulted in quality issues. There are many different settings within the various 3D Software programs that allow us to adjust support settings however it can be tricky to achieve great surface quality above the supports.

How To Fix:
– Lower Layer height.
– Increase Support Infill density.
– Lower Vertical Separation Layers.
– Lower Horizontal Part Offset.
– Lower Nozzle Temp.
– Increase Density of Support Structures.

warping troubleshooting

6. Warping

Warping is when parts of the shrink once they have cooled. This is an issue that varies depending on the filament type and printing environment. If printing in an area with ambient temperature that varies or an aircon it can result in warping. This is an issue is it can cause print failures or cause issues with the overall print quality.

How To Fix:
– Use a heated bed.
– Disable part cooling fan.
– Use an enclosure.
– Print with a brim or a raft.
– Clean your bed with isopropyl alcohol.

failing support troubleshooting

7. Failing Supports

Support pillars, especially when setup using a low support density are not the most stable things and will be in increasing danger of toppling over or failing the taller they get. As supports often serve an important role in getting the best print quality possible it is important that you do as much as you can to prevent their failure.

How To Fix:
– Avoid isolated towers, place your supports in bigger groups.
– Reduce printing speed for support.
– Use higher support density and if your slicer supports it a different support pattern.
– If your slicer supports it, have a brim or a solid bottom layer added to your supports.

poor bridging troubleshooting

8. Poor Bridging

Bridging, which is printing long distances unsupported over thin air, is tricky business. Being able to get correctly prepare your print for bridging is a great skill to have I the world of 3D Printing and It requires different settings than regular printing, usually speed and cooling is key to the success. Advanced slicer software often detects bridging and automatically adjust settings.

How To Fix:
– Increase extrusion multiplier for the bridge.
– Try different speeds, slower is usually better, but results may vary so experimenting is key.
– Increase your fan speed for bridges. We want the material to harden quickly without drooping. May
not be suitable for all materials, check with the manufacturer/seller.
– Make sure your slicer is actually using bridging mode.

leaning prints troubleshooting

9. Leaning Prints

Prints that are leaning to one side are usually caused by mechanical issues. Usually leaning prints have a very slight but constant or proportionally increasing deviation along one axis. This issue can sometimes be confused with layer shifting which is a sudden singular occurrence at a much bigger scale.

How To Fix:
– Slipping pulleys or gears or belts can cause the print to slightly shift and start leaning. Tighten pulleys/gears/belts to stop this happening.
– Friction along the axis might cause it to lose steps. Just a few steps here and there, enough to make it lean. Clean and lubricate the axis so there’s no friction.
– A misaligned printer frame or bed will result in a leaning print as well, check everything is as straight as possible.

We hope this post has helped you with troubleshooting some print issues your were encountering. If you enjoyed this post then please consider sharing it on social media. Check out the rest of our blog for other interesting topics and posts. Join the DIY Community Discord or Forum and keep up to date with all things DIYElectronics by checking out our social media, FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter. If you want to check out our store, click this link.

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