Troubleshoot Guide

1. Wrapping

As per the natural characteristics of plastic the problem of warping arises if the plastic cooled too quickly.

  • Heated Bed
    Heated bed is the easiest and preferable solution for warping. If you get the proper temperature, the first layer will stick proper on glass surface. You will find normal bed temperature for your printing material on internet or sometimes it is also mentioned on the filament spool.
  • Level the Print Platform
    Check the print platform is properly leveled and the nozzle height. If the print platform is not levelled then try to make the proper leveling by adjusting the knobs.
  • Adhesives
    In Some tall and large objects if you find the corners are warping then, apply very thin layer of adhesive on the Print platform. Make a mixture of adhesive material with water to make it thin so that you can properly apply it on Print Platform (Glass Plate).
  • Brims and Raft
    Some objects have very less contact area with Print Platform, to reduce the problem of warping raft layers are created or you can also increase the brim area for proper contact with the print platform.
  • Disable Fan Cooling
    Plastic has property of shrinking as it gets cooled. By disabling the fan we can reduce the speed of cooling of plastic.
  • Clean Print Platform
    Generally in heated bed to print ABS, the ABS paste or glue is applied to print platform. But after some time this glue or paste gets dry and because of that the print get trouble to stick on print platform. Clean the print platform properly. Acetone gives best result for cleaning the print platform of glass.

2. First Layer Problems

While printing an object, first layer is very much important. If the first layer is not proper it can lead to complete failure like parts detaching and warping.

  • Level the Print Platform
    More often the problems related to first layer get solved by properly levelling the print platform. Every printer has different methods of print platform levelling, it can be levelled by adjustment of knobs or by auto bed levelling process.
  • Adjust Nozzle Height
    If the nozzle is too high then filament won’t stick to print platform and if the nozzle is too low then it will start to ruin the print.
  • Clean the Print Platform
    Sometimes it is a better idea to clean your glass build platform if you are applying glue to glass. Glue deposits can also be responsible for not sticking of print. Clean by rubbing alcohol, acetone or ammonia, or reapply surface tape
  • Apply Glue
    If you are not using heated print platform then you must apply glue for better adhesion of print. Glue can be applied over regular intervals.
  • Bed Material
    PLA is more forgiving and works well on PET, Kapton tape , or blue printers tape. ABS usually needs more cajoling and, whilst it can print well on PET and in Kapton tape, there are reports that people have success by applying hairspray to the bed before printing. Others have reported that an ABS slurry (made from dissolving some ABS in Acetone) thinly applied can also help keep the print attached.

3. Layer Shifting and Misaligned Layers

Some layers in the middle of the print are shifted or some layer have been skipped.

  • Belts Checking
    First you must verify that belts tighten with appropriate tension, it should not be too tight or too loose. Most of the 3D printer have belt driven technology, If the belts are loose then the motor rotates but the belt on the pulley will not move. Or if the belt originally installed too tight then it will create excess friction on bearing that system is unable to move. To resolve this you need to contact 3D printer manufacturer.
    The printers which have belt driven system uses the belts that are driven by pulley fitted on the motor shaft with help of grub screws. If the set of screw loose, the motor rotates but the pulley will no longer rotate. This means the motor is spinning but the pulley and belts are not moving.
  • Electrical Issues
    There are chances of layer misalignment due to low current to motors for spinning properly. This low current can cause because of overheating of motor drivers which cause motor to stop spinning temporarily until the motor driver gets cool down.
  • Print Platform
    Check the print platform is fastened properly and all the rods tightened at the top of the printer.
  • Bent or Misaligned Rod
    The moving mechanism is based on rods and bearing. If the rod is slightly bent then it can cause resistance in the movement of the bearing. Also check the lead screw, if bent or not by moving the Z-axis up and down.

4. Missing Layers

There are gaps in the 3D Printed models because the layers are skipped.

  • Rod Alignment Check
    Check the rods are properly aligned and not shifted. You can check it by switching off power and gently moving the X-Y axis. If you find some resistance in the movement of X-Y axis then there is a problem of misalignment of rods. You need to contact printer manufacture for proper alignment of rods.
  • Worn Bearing
    Usually worn bearing notify you by creating sound. Or you will feel slight vibration in the movement of print head. If it is so you can check it by switching off the power and gently moving the X-Y axis to locate the broken bearing.
  • Check for Oil
    As the moving mechanism is based on rods and bearings, oil is essential for smooth running of machine. Before applying the oil just check rods are clean enough.
  • Under Extrusion
    Check under extrusion troubleshooting in No.5.

5. Under Extrusion

Under extrusion is when the printer is not able to supply correct amount of filament. This can be detected by just putting finger where it is taking the filament and sense that the filament is stuck or it is going smoothly.

  • Check the filament Diameter
    Check the filament diameter physically by using the calipers at regular intervals for 2-3 points. Improper filament diameter may be a manufacturer fault.
  • Check the Head Manually extrudes the filament from the printing software or LCD display and check whether it is extruding properly or not. If it is not extruding properly or you found any noise from the feeder assembly, there might be chances of nozzle jamming.

6. Broken Filament

This issues might occur with Bowden feed (Remote feed) printers, where you found the filament broken at the feeder assembly or somewhere in the guide tube. This cause due to direct sunlight on filament or poor quality of filaments.

  • Remove the Filament Firstly heat up the nozzle to remove the broken filament in the tube and extruder. Manually check filament whether it is breaking or not. Sometimes the filament will break up to some points because of atmospheric effects. Check the filament at different points and feed it again.
  • Loosen the Idler Tension If the idler tension is too high then it might break the new filament. So just loose the tension of the Idler at feeder assembly, then gradually start tightening the filament until it stops sleeping.
  • Check the Nozzle Manually extrudes the filament from the printing software or LCD display and check whether it is extruding properly or not. If it is not extruding properly or you found noise from the feeder assembly then there might be chances of nozzle jamming.
  • Check the Temperature If filament is continuously breaking then just check the temperature is correct or not. See the temperature reading shows on the screen that it is correct or not.

7. Stripped or Slipped Filament

Blockage of nozzle, loose idler tension, improper hot end temperature and too fast feed rate cause slipping of the filament. Because of that you find difficulties to get the proper print or filament may not coming out of nozzle.

  • Check the Feed System If the filament start slipping, you can usually detect it by noise or by improper extrusion of filament. Just try to push the filament from extruder for some time, this will help the machine to print smoothly.
  • Adjust the Idler Tension If the Idler tension is too loose then start tightening it until it stops slipping. Due to variation in filament diameter as per various manufacturer, some filament require fine adjustment.
  • Check hot end Temperature If the filament is still slipping after adjusting the Idler, check the temperature of the hot end. In some cases filament deposits in the nozzle which is obstacle for the filament to come out so by increasing the temperature the deposited filament will come out from the nozzle.

8. Material Contamination

Tiny holes on print side due to humidity or water absorbed by filament material. These problems occur commonly with the ABS material as it has an affinity for water.

  • Proper handling of filament to reduce exposure of humidity.
  • Heat the filament to remove absorbed water but take care that in wont melt otherwise it will stick together and cannot be separate.
  • Try to keep the filament in dry place or in zip lock bag when it is not in use.
  • Popping sound from the nozzle because of contains of air bubble in the filament which cause blowout or missing plastic in part buildup. Use quality filament from known sources.

9. Layers Splitting and Separation

3D printer works layer by layer to build an object. Each layer is printed on top of previous layer and at the end it creates the 3D model build. After the model build the strength and finishing should be reliable if it is not perfectly layer by layer then the model can be brittle.

  • Low temperature If the temperature is not enough for the filament then printer gets difficulties to extrude proper amount of filament. Improper amount of filament cause splitting of layers in the 3D model. The temperature is ideal for the plastic materials but it varies sometimes as the manufacturer of the filament varies. Increase the temperature gradually by 10-10 degree and check the prints.
  • Check the Feed System If the filament start slipping, you can usually detect it by noise or by improper extrusion of filament. Just try to push the filament from extruder for some time, this will help the machine to print smoothly. Just tight the Idler and check by manually extruding the filament whether it is skipping or not.
  • Print Platform Check the print platform is properly fastened or not.

10. Lines in the Sides of Print

3D printed parts are composed of so many layers. If the things goes properly the print got smooth surfaces and something goes wrong the layers are clearly visible outside of the print. Many times this problem occur due to over extrusion and mechanical issues with the printer.

  • Inconsistent Filament The most common issue is the filament quality. If the variation in diameter is there then it is visible on the sides of the print. The width variation of the filament is tolerable up to 0.05mm. The extra width cause wider layer which look like a line on the side of the print.
  • Temperature variation Most 3D printer work on a PID controller to regulate the temperature. So it might get variation in the temperature up to 2 degree. If it varies more than 2 degrees than the extrusion will be affected. So monitor the temperature variation and if it is exciding its limits then just check physically that the thermocouple installed is in its position or not. Otherwise contact printer manufacturer.
  • Mechanical issues Print platform wobble or vibrate while printing cause the wider extrusion. So check for vibration of print platform or and if it is there then contact manufacturer.

11. Vibration and Ringing

Ringing is wavy Pattern that appears on the print surface due to vibration or wobbling.

  • Printing too fast The common cause for ringing is to move the printer too fast. While printing small moves the sudden movements of the axis in high speed cause vibration or ringing. To reduce the problem use higher resolutions option given by manufacturer, as in higher resolution the printer will complete small moves at low speed and vibration is reduced.
  • Mechanical Issues If the above solution is not working then you should check the mechanical structure. For example check the structure parts, Grub Screws, Rods are tight, Bearings are okay. Try to trace the mechanical issue if possible or contact manufacturer.

12. Gaps on the Top of the Print

Gaps or holes are there on the top of the object.

  • In some small moves in the print or thin line prints you find the gaps, to prevent that try to print such critical small object in higher resolution options given by printer manufacturer.