Quantum 3D

3D printing issues

Problems & Solutions

 

3D printing issues

You’re here because you’ve either just had a complete 3D print failure, or your prints aren’t quite perfect. We don’t settle for less than perfect, so we don’t expect you to either.

Wondering why did my 3D print fail?

Rest assured the problems and solutions to every 3D printing issue you could experience are explained in this tips & fixes-packed guide to 3D printing.

Each issue has a clear high resolution photograph, a detailed explanation of the subject and a problem solving checklist for how to improve 3D print quality.

This includes instructions for software settings and even best practices for specific prints and materials, where applicable.

Hopefully this guide saves you hours of frustration – if you feel it’s useful to you please share it & tell others!

Please note: Our guidance within this document is based on findings from extensive tests carried out with our own rigid.ink filament. We’re unable to advise on all printers and material combinations though, so if you’re unsure it’s best to either check with your supplier or experiment within the boundaries of common sense. Your setup will require some trial and error as very few 3D printing issues are identical.


First Layer Issues

Print Not Sticking To The Bed

Prints Sticking Too Much

Warping

Inconsistent Extrusion: How To Fix Under Extrusion

Inconsistent Extrusion: How To fix Over Extrusion

Filament Not Feeding Properly

Extruder Is Grinding Filament

Extruder Is Crushing Filament

Other Filament Issues

Clogged Nozzle

Other Blockages

Stringing and Oozing

Overheating

Elephants Foot

Walls Caving In

Curling and Rough Corners

Cracking or Layer Separation

Layers Shifting & Misaligned Layers

Layers Missing or Skipped Layers

Weak or Under-Extruded Infill

Deformed Infill

Insufficient Retractions

Blobs and 3D Printing Zits

Infill Poking Through Outline

Scratches on Top Layers

Gaps & Holes

Small Parts & Features Not Printing

Lines On The Side Of Your Prints

Temperature Variations

Vibrations and 3D Printing Ringing

Dimensional Accuracy Of Your Prints

Circles Are Not Round

Leaning Prints

Poor Surface Quality Above Supports

Failing Supports

Poor Bridging

Stringy & Droopy Overhangs

Molten / Deformed Prints

Burnt Stuff Dripping On Your Print

Popping Noises Coming From Your Nozzle

Steam / Smoke Coming Out Of Your Nozzle

Clicking Motors

I Cannot Print Model X

1. First Layer Issues

The first layer of your print is probably the most important layer. As foundation to your whole print, it is essential in providing proper adhesion to the build plate.

Many common 3D printing problems stem from a poor first layer. There’s a couple of things that can go wrong when printing your first layer.


Nozzle too close to the bed

Signs that your nozzle might be too close to the bed:
1. Printed line is way thinner than desired. It might get so thin it turns transparent.

2. Excess filament is squished upwards at the edges of the current printing line creating a rough surface and wavy patterns. (You can feel the roughness when touching it carefully even during the print).

3. Filament is getting torn off the bed when the next neighbouring line is printed.
Finished prints are hard to remove from the print bed.
Explanation:

1. If your nozzle is too close to the bed, there is not enough space between the nozzle and the bed to extrude the proper amount of filament. Excess filament is either squished upwards between individual printed lines or isn’t extruded at all creating additional pressure in the HotEnd.

2. Excess filament that gets squished to the sides and upwards might get torn off the bed on the next pass by the nozzle destroying adhesion and making the top of your first layer very rough to the touch.

3. Excess filament might also get picked up by the nozzle and might drip back on your print later. This is especially common for PETG.

4. If filament backs up in the HotEnd because it cannot get extruded due to the nozzle being too close to the bed, your extruder might even get jammed and start clicking.

5. Squishing your first layer too much into the bed can lead to prints that are almost impossible to remove from the build plate when done.

How to fix:

Adjust nozzle to bed distance either by tightening the 3 or 4 levelling screws of your printer and using thicker paper stock for manual bed levelling or by adjusting your z-offset value when using a bed levelling sensor. Make sure you’re not pressing down on your bed when levelling it.

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Nozzle too far away from the print bed

Signs that your nozzle might be too close to the bed:

1. When looking at the bottom of your printed object, you can clearly make out individual lines with a noticeable gap between each line.

2. During printing the first layer, the individual lines are not touching each other.

3. There’s small gaps where the lines of the infill are not touching the outlines of the wall.

4. The shape of the extruding line is very round. With the proper distance, extruded line is slightly squished, pancake shaped.

5. Individual printed lines are barely sticking to the build plate.

6. Parts are warping off the build plate or become loose during the prints.

Explanation:

If your nozzle is too far from the bed there is not enough filament extruded to properly fill the space between nozzle and bed. The line currently extruding is barely making contact with the bed. Individual lines making up the first layer are not connected to their neighbours and they’re not touching the outlines of your objects wall. All this usually this leads to poor adhesion problems like warping or detaching of your object mid print.

How to fix:

Adjust nozzle to bed distance either by loosening the 3 or 4 levelling screws of your printer and using thinner paper stock (receipt paper is good) for manual bed levelling or by adjusting your z-offset value when using a bed levelling sensor. Make sure you’re not pressing the bed upwards while levelling manually.

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Print Not Sticking

Signs that your nozzle might be too close to the bed:

Your print is lifting off the bed, such as warping, or returning to your printer with a birds nest (as per image in ‘Print Not Sticking To The Bed’ section below).

Explanation:

In this instance it’s likely your print has popped off the bed after slight warping, due to insufficient adhesion.

This can happen on the first layer (less likely) or several layers into the print.

If your print has warped, but remained adhered to the bed, see [Warping].

How to fix:

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Printer specific tips

1. Prusa MK2/MK2S: The Prusa’s PINDA sensor is temperature sensitive and will give false readings if the probe is heated before the mesh bed levelling. Raise your probe a good distance off the bed during the preheat before mesh levelling at the beginning of a print.

2. Creality CR10/Tevo Tornado: Both printers come with a fairly large bed. And they’re not necessarily the flattest. Try leveling the bed not at the outermost corners but rather a bit further in.

3. Wanhao i3: keep your hands well away from the bed while feeling the paper dragging during the levelling process. The stock bed frame is rather flimsy and looking at it sternly screws up the results. Repeat levelling procedure at least 3-4 times or more to make sure it stays level. Try levelling at full printing temp, use Preheat in the menu.

4. Tevo Tarantula: green stock SN04 sensor is unreliable. Level manually and keep your hands well away from the bed while feeling the paper dragging during the levelling process. The stock bed frame is rather flimsy and looking at it sternly screws up the results. Repeat levelling procedure at least 3-4 times or more to make sure it stays level. Try levelling at full printing temp, use Preheat in the menu.

5. Ultimaker 2/2+: The bed carrier flexes a lot when turning the levelling screws, especially the ones in the front. Keep hands clear. Don’t bother with the bed level assistant, just run through it and do the rest manually.

Filament specific tips

1. PLA likes to be squished more into the bed than other filament types to provide good adhesion.

2. PETG usually prints better with a higher nozzle to bed distance to avoid the nozzle picking up filament that might drip on your print later during the print. Also, the extra distance helps prevent excessive adhesion issue that for example might occur when printing on glass or PEI beds.

3. TPU and Flexible PLA will also adhere stronger than you might like if printed too close to a PEI or specialist bed surface (such as BuildTak).

2. Print Not Sticking To The Bed

This is one of the most common issues with many 3D printers. If your adhesion is lacking, you might end up with warped print – or no print at all besides a huge mess of tangled filament on your bed (eg. Green ‘birds nest’ print you see here).

The following are the various causes for bed adhesion to fail before or during a print.


Platform not level

Signs that your nozzle is too far away from the print bed

1. When looking at the bottom of your printed object, you can clearly make out individual lines with a noticeable gap between each line.

2. During printing the first layer, the individual lines are not touching each other.

3. There’s small gaps where the lines of the infill are not touching the outlines of the wall.

4. The shape of the extruding line is very round. With the proper distance, extruded line is slightly squished, pancake shaped.

5. Individual printed lines are barely sticking to the build plate.

6. Parts are warping off the build plate or become loose during the prints.

Description:

If your nozzle is too far from the bed there is not enough filament extruded to properly fill the space between nozzle and bed. The line currently extruding is barely making contact with the bed. Individual lines making up the first layer are not connected to their neighbours and they’re not touching the outlines of your objects wall. All this usually this leads to poor adhesion problems like warping or detaching of your object mid print.

How to fix:

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Platform is warped

Description:

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Clean your bed
Nozzle too far
Accordion Content
Nozzle too close
Accordion Content
First layer too fast
Accordion Content
Check extrusion settings to ensure proper amount of plastic is extruded
Accordion Content
Print temperature for first layer
Accordion Content
Bed temperature first layer
Accordion Content
Part cooling fan settings
Accordion Content
Use build plate adhesion helpers
Accordion Content

3. Prints Sticking Too Much

Maybe less common than the opposite problem with prints not sticking or warping, but prints sticking excessively to your print bed may happen. Possible reasons and fixes include:


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4. Warping

Warping can be caused by a few different variables but is fairly easy to recognise and resolve. Read below more information on warping and how to fix it.


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5. Inconsistent Extrusion: How To Fix Under Extrusion

3D printing under extrusion is one form of inconsistent extrusion (the other being over extrusion). Unfortunately, it can have a myriad of causes. No 3D printer troubleshooting guide would be complete without the full list of causes.

Here’s an attempt to classify and list possible reasons and fixes. We also have a dedicated article on under extrusion issues here.


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6. Inconsistent Extrusion: How To fix Over Extrusion

3D printing over extrusion is one form of inconsistent extrusion (the other being under extrusion). Here’s information on over extrusion:


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7. Filament Not Feeding Properly

Proper operation depends on your extruder being able to feed the correct amount of material at any given time. Any messing with the feed of filament will likely ruin your print. Here’s what to look out for. But first, listen closely to the noise your extruder motor is making, it’ll give you a clue.


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8. Extruder Is Grinding Filament

Grinding filament is never welcome and not what you want to see but keep reading on how to spot and fix the issue.


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9. Extruder Is Crushing Filament

Just like filament being grinded, filament being crushed isn’t ideal. The issues are often related but can be resolved.


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10. Other Filament Issues

The quality and state of your filament plays a vital role to the success and quality of your prints. Here are some common issues with filament to look out for:


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11. Clogged Nozzle

Clogged extruders happen. Here are why they happen, how to prevent them and what to do if you have one.


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12. Other Blockages

Unfortunately, the nozzle isn’t the only place where clogs might occur. If no filament is coming out of the nozzle anymore the actual blockage might not be in the nozzle itself. You’ll have to check the whole filament path, starting from the feeder to the nozzle.


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13. Stringing and Oozing

3D printer stringing and nozzle oozing are two common 3D printer problems that usually share the same root cause. Printing too hot and using inadequate retraction settings.


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14. Overheating

One of the ugliest forms of bad 3D prints is overheating. Here’s some information on how to spot it, why it happens and how to fix it:


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15. Elephants Foot

A classic problem in 3D printing but don’t worry we’re here to help.


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16. Walls Caving In

A very similar problem to elephants foot, sans the flared out first layer.


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17. Curling and Rough Corners

Curling and rough corners is very easy to spot and looks quite the mess compared to the sides of the print.


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18. Cracking or Layer Separation

Cracking can be difficult to differentiate from temporary under extrusion but this section will help you figure it out and how to fix it.


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19. Layers Shifting & Misaligned Layers

Some 3D printing issues like this, appear as completely random and isolated events. There are some checks that can be done to fix it though so keep reading to learn more.


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20. Layers Missing or Skipped Layers

This is often a confusing issue to come across as it may appear as other problems initially. It’s important to look at the consistency in the whole layer and compare it to the rest of the print.


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21. Weak or Under-Extruded Infill

This may be one of those problems with 3D printing that you can live with, although it can be an early warning sign of worsening under extrusion.


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22. Deformed Infill

Infill is usually printed in a regular pattern, like in a grid, or boxes or even honeycomb structures. If you notice your infill printing deformed there’s a few things you can check.


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23. Insufficient Retractions

It may be tempting here to improve 3D print quality by sanding or cutting these sections from the print, and while that’s an OK fix, prevention is always the best way to fix 3D print issues.


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24. Blobs and 3D Printing Zits

Blobs and 3D print zits on the outside of your model can seriously affect the looks of print. Here are a few possible causes how you can cut down on these 3D printing artifacts.


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25. Infill Poking Through Outline

Although perhaps not the most unsightly finish, it isn’t what you want to see on a print you’ve waited hours for.


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26. Scratches on Top Layers

If it indeed is a scratch, sometimes it is hard to tell if it is really a scratch or if the line was in fact caused by the nozzle oozing onto the top surface during the move. Time to get out the magnifying glass to check.


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27. Gaps & Holes

This is a common fault and there are many reasons for gaps in your print, depending on where they’re located. It’s worth checking everything mentioned in this section so that you don’t miss the exact cause.


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28. Small Parts & Features Not Printing

The detail in 3D printing is one of the things that makes it so incredible. But what happens when small parts and features don’t print? Keep reading to find out…


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29. Lines On The Side Of Your Prints

This refers to very apparent lines on the side of your print that should not be there (like in the image shown), not the standard layer lines of your print.


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30. Temperature Variations

While temperature variations are unlikely to result in a failed 3D print, they’re unsightly.


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31. Vibrations and 3D Printing Ringing

Good 3D printers are like good speakers, solid and heavy, with some dampening.


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32. Dimensional Accuracy Of Your Prints

To achieve true dimensional accuracy is one of those 3D printer issues that is not easy and requires a very well-tuned printer, solid motion systems and flawless mechanics. Here are the key factors to achieving perfect 3D printer tuning:


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33. Circles Are Not Round

It can be quite confusing when you’ve set a circle to print and it comes out an oval. Here’s why this can happen and how to fix it:


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34. Leaning Prints

The print in the image is a classic case of leaning. It starts out ever so slightly but increases in “momentum”. This is not layer shifting, this problem got nicknamed “Leaning”.


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35. Poor Surface Quality Above Supports

Sometimes it is enough to print at a lower layer height to get better 3D printing quality surfaces over supports, increasing cooling or lower printing temps. Anything that increases bridging performance will help here as well, as bridging is what we’re in fact doing.

However, if this doesn’t work or you repeatedly experience this issue, keep reading to learn what else you can do to stop poor surface quality above supports.


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36. Failing Supports

Failing supports are not what anyone needs when using supports. Unfortunately, it happens, and can even happen to several independently failed support like in the image displayed.


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37. Poor Bridging

Bridging, i.e. printing (more or less) long distances unsupported over thin air is tricky business. It requires different settings than regular printing, usually speed and cooling is key to the success.


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38. Stringy & Droopy Overhangs

Overhangs are where you’re printing a slanted surface without any support beneath. This is asking quite a lot of your printing, especially if you’re thinking of exceeding the 45° rule.

Also see our article [How to print overhangs, bridges and exceeding the 45° rule].


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39. Molten/Deformed Prints

If the prints coming from your printer look like somebody held a blowtorch to it keep reading.


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40. Burnt Stuff Dripping On Your Print

Even if all your settings seem to be set correctly, the unexpected can cause issues with your prints.


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41. Popping Noises Coming From Your Nozzle

Are you sure it is popping from the nozzle and not clicking from the extruder motor? If it is clicking, see [Filament not extruding properly]. If it is indeed a popping nozzle, here are some pointers:


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42. Steam/Smoke Coming Out Of Your Nozzle

This is basically a continuation of the last topic. Moisture in your filament doing strange stuff or the machinery isn’t clean from manufacturing.


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43. Clicking Motors

If you hear a motor clicking it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. If it is the extruder motor that is clicking, check this chapter: [Filament not extruding properly]. For any other stepper clicking, continue here.


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44. I Cannot Print Model X

Places like Thingiverse, Youmagine, etc. are great for downloading free models to print. However, people uploading these models are not necessarily aware what design considerations need to be done for a certain printer type to be able to print the model in question. Sometimes all your 3D printing troubleshooting efforts can be mute if the file just isn’t printable.

Some models are designed for resin based printers and will fail miserably on FDM filament based printers. There are certain geometries that are impossible to print with filament based printers and throwing supports at it might not be enough to make it work. There are STL files that are not meant to be printed at all. Some models that should print ok are plain and simple broken. Some print fine unless you try to scale them.

Downloading STL files is a hit and miss kind of thing. Some work, others won’t. You can try some of the free STL fixing tools, like Netfabb-online, MakePrintable.com or the like, but your results may vary. Not all STL files will print. Luckily MyMiniFactory boast guaranteed printable files, so this is usually a good place to start.

Something that might help you sort out the good from the bad when browsing these ‘free’ model download sites.

Taking Thingiverse as an example, if you see an object you are interested in printing, if there are no associated photographs of the printed object supplied by the uploader, and all you see is the system-generated blue object image – it might not be at all printable. Take a look at the associated comments section to confirm this one way or another.

It may be that the model is just fine, or has only just been uploaded. In any case, if there is another similar object that has photos, comments and lots of downloads, you might be better off looking to see if that meets your needs first online casino ohne einzahlung.

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