7 Common 3D Printing Problems & Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

7 Common 3D Printing Problems & Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

When it’s a matter of creating prototypes and cool printed models, 3D printers are a wonderful option to get the job done perfectly. 3D printers are surely a form of complex machinery and facing a couple of frustrating situations while using them is completely normal. If you are someone that doesn’t have a huge experience with 3D printer usage, you’ll most likely face a handful of moments where the printer is just against printing properly. On top of that, every setting in the printer seems to be absolutely fine when the only thing that’s going crazy is the 3D print. 

In order to save you all of the not-so-pleasant moments, we are here with 7 common 3D printer problems and their most effective solutions. 

Troubleshooting Guide to Common 3D Printer Problems

1. What to do about a blocked nozzle? 

If you are stuck in a situation where you initiate all of the print jobs and are ready to see the printing but notice that nothing is coming out of the nozzle. You’ll probably try reinserting or extracting the filament but in most cases, that won’t be of any help.  

There are three ways you can solve this issue. 

  • The easiest way is to unblock the nozzle with the help of a needle. Begin by getting rid of the filament. Now, with the help of the control panel of the printer, select the heat-up nozzle option. 
  • Another way you can carry out the fix is by pushing the old filament through. All you need to do is just push the filament with another piece of filament. After removing the filament also remove the feeder tube present in the print head. 
  • If none of the above two techniques work, you have no other option but to dismantle the hot end and rebuild it. 

2. Print isn’t sticking to the print bed 

You may have lost a print because the print just refuses to stick to the print bed and though it might seem to be tricky to fix, it’s the contrary. No matter how patient you are, a little bit of lightning will strike when the 3D print breaks free while doing the last layer. The 3D print breaking free can happen anytime from the first to the last layer. 

It is important to note that it is not always the printer’s fault. If you try to print something that has very little contact with the platform, issues are inevitable. But if that’s not the case with the print model then you can fix the issue with the following troubleshooting steps. 

  • Getting the print bed level is the first thing you should try. Print platform leveling for all printers is not the same and differs from one model to the other. You can check the printer manual for how to level the print bed. 
  • The addition of texture to the print will help a lot in solving this issue. When another material is added to add texture, the bond between the platform and filament increases. 

3. 3D model bends from the edges 

If the 3D model that you have created starts to bend from the edges it is called warping. When this happens, the print will not be parallel to the platform. 

  • The easiest way to fix this issue is by using a pre-heated platform. Doing this will help the first layer of paint to lay flat on the printing platform. 
  • Instead of heating the platform up, you can also use adhesive on the platform. Doing this will stop the base layer from rising and keeps it in place. 

4. Layer shifts after getting halfway 

One issue that can turn all of your efforts into vain is layer shifting after going halfway through the printing process. This usually occurs when one or more of the 3D print layers of your model are misaligned. A problem in the extruders X/Y motion system causes this issue. 

  • Begin by inspecting the motion system and make sure the belts have enough tension between them. If you find that the belts are loose, first check for a built-in tensioner and if that’s not available in the printer, you’ll have to replace the belts. 
  • Also, try lowering the travel speed of the printer to avoid the print head from colliding with the model. 

5. Inconsistent extrusion 

Consistency in extrusion is important for having an accurate end product and if the extrusion is inconsistent, you’ll see its effect in the outcome of the model. You will be able to see flaws especially if you are printing a straight line. 

  • First of all, start by inspecting the filament and see if it’s tangled to the spool. If it is, then the tangled filament doesn’t allow the spool to move freely. When the spool is not allowed to move freely, it has an effect on how filament gets extruded through the nozzle. 

6. Too much filament gets extruded 

The accuracy and quality of the print get ruined when over extrusion or the extrusion of too much filament occurs. Oozing and stringing signs in the print are very common indications of over extrusion. 

  • In order to get past this problem, the first thing you can do is decrease the extrusion multiplier. Decreasing this setting makes sure that the printer does not extrude much material. 
  • Decreasing the print temperature will also work just as well as decreasing the extrusion multiplier. The filament tends to melt faster due to high temperature and flow out of the nozzle uncontrollably. 

7. Cob-like strands in the model 

If you spot cob-like strands in various areas of your model, this condition is known as stringing. It takes place if the printer head puts filament in places where printing shouldn’t be done. Springing can just toss the appearance of the model to rock bottom. 

  • Among all of the other ways to get rid of this issue, enabling the retraction settings of your printer is the easiest and most effective. This setting lets the filament retract into the nozzle prior to when the printer head starts to print. 

Conclusion 

Using a 3D printer gets to a whole another level of frustration when new problems manage to emerge every day. We hope that the troubleshooting methods we’ve given here help you save a lot of that frustration. The ones we’ve given are just simple fixes, if there’s any sort of mechanical failure, better consult a professional.

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