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Best Tips for 3D Filament Prints

Best Tips for 3D Filament Prints.

Filament 3D printers can produce anything from holiday decorations to medical implants, so there’s no shortage of excitement in the process. The problem is getting from your 3D model to the actual print. A lot of things can go wrong and ruin your print, especially if you’re new to the business and still don’t understand how 3D printing works.

In this article, we’ll show you how to get better results by helping fix your filament 3D prints that went wrong. Check out all our troubleshooting tips, apply them step by step, and above all, be patient. 3D FDM printing can be frustrating at times, but it rewards you with countless real world applications.

A white man struggles with a modern 3D printer with swirls of filament

It’s Not Printing

Is your 3D printer not printing anything? Don’t worry, this is a common problem. There are quite a few issues that can prevent your printer from extruding any material. Here are the most common problems and how to fix them.

1. Check the thread

You have prepared the printer and your model, but nothing happens. There may even be a little bit of filament coming through the nozzle, but your design is not printing.

Your printer has run out of filament. This may seem like an obvious problem, but it’s easy to miss if you don’t have a printer that alerts you when you need to add a new spool. Before looking at other possible issues, make sure your 3D printer has enough filament to print your model.

2. Check for clogged nozzle

If you’re dealing with a blockage, nothing will come out of the printer nozzle. This usually happens when you change filament or material type and the old material is stuck in the nozzle. Prevent clogging by performing regular maintenance and keeping the nozzle clean after every project.

However, if you forget to clean the nozzle, you can easily remove the blockage with a needle or other thin object. Poke the needle through the nozzle to remove as much of the remaining thread as possible. In doing so, you can heat the nozzle to make your work easier.

Alternatively, you can try pushing new thread through to clear the clog. This may not work on its own and you will have to apply some external pressure to force out the old thread. If you try this method, apply force carefully or you may damage the printer.

3. Adjust the nozzle

If your printer is still not working, the nozzle may be too close to the print surface. When this happens, the filament cannot properly pass through the layer forming nozzle. This issue can also lead to missing layers, clogging, or adhesion issues, so be sure to adjust the nozzle height.

Go to the printer settings and change the Z-axis value. Increase the setting to the value recommended by the printer manufacturer’s manual, or gradually adjust the nozzle height until the filament flows normally.

4. Look for filament fragmentation

One of the most common 3D printing problems that goes unnoticed is filament fragmentation. The filament spool seems fine, but nothing comes out through the hot end. In this case, you may be dealing with fragmentation somewhere between the coil and the nozzle.

It depends a lot on the type of material you’re using, whether it’s ABS or PLA, and how old it is. However, the only solution is to remove the filament to look for any damaged areas. If the material is new but you are sure it will break along the way, try a different spool or try lowering the temperature and flow.

5. Is the printhead not touching the bed?

Did you hear a terrible noise when you started typing? The printhead may be trying to deviate from its X or Y axis and come off the print bed completely. This makes it impossible to print and is usually caused by a software configuration issue.

Make sure you have selected the correct printer in the slicer software. Each model comes with its own customization options included in the configuration file. If you select the wrong model, the print head will be misaligned. However, you should also update your firmware as outdated configurations can also cause this issue.

The Print Was a Complete Failure

So, you’ve managed to get your 3D printer working, but printing has been a complete disaster. This usually happens when the print is not sticking or when the supports are not working properly. Anyway, here are the most common problems with 3D printing.

6. Eliminate the terrible sticking to the bed

One of the most common problems that fails to produce prints is lack of adhesion to the table. The print doesn’t adhere properly to the build bed, so the whole project becomes a waste of time.

First, make sure the print platform is properly leveled and clean. Any material that does not belong to the print surface can prevent filament from sticking. After that, try using supports or edges. Go to your slicer settings and print using these extras.

7. Did the supports fail and ruin your print?

As mentioned, the use of coasters can help with build platform adhesion, but they are also essential when printing complex models. Without supports, your print may be affected by other issues such as edge warping and misaligned layers. Also, using the wrong type of support or not enough supports can ruin your project.

Luckily, your slicer software should automatically generate the necessary support. You then add additional supports by hand if you think your print might be marred by ridges, warping, and other issues. However, you will have to experiment with supports depending on your project. There is no way around this.

8. Extrusion went bad

Sometimes, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the hot end of your printer stops extruding filament halfway through the printing process. This will definitely ruin your entire project, but it’s easy to prevent.

Make sure you have enough thread. Slicing software like Cura should give you a rough estimate of how much filament you’ll need for your project. Just keep in mind that material types also matter when it comes to grading, so PLA requirements may not be the same as ABS requirements. Check the list before you start.

After that, check if the nozzle of your printer is clogged. It can also suddenly stop extrusion during printing. In this case, refer to the clogged nozzle solutions above.

Your Print Looks Bad

Despite your best efforts, something has gone wrong and your print is not looking as nice and smooth as it should. Many things will affect the 3D printing process and result in warp, tension, messy layers, random drops, seepage, poor infill, and ugly side effects that will ruin your project. Here’s what you can do.

9. Fix the warp

One of the most common problems with 3D printing with filaments such as PLA and ABS is warp. Your model bends its base upwards and detaches from the build bed. This can also lead to cracks, making your print even more unusable. Fortunately, there are several possible solutions:

Heat up the print bed. By bringing the temperature of the print bed to the melting temperature of the material, you can make the first layers stay perfectly even. Adjust the temperature using the slicing software as recommended by the manufacturer.Re-calibrate. Go through the calibration process and level the print bed. You should also adjust the height of the bait and make sure it is not too close or too far from the platform.Use rafts. If there are problems with adhesion or contact, try adding rafts using the slicer software.

10. Get the first layer right

If something goes wrong with the first layer, you will most likely end up with an ugly print. Before printing, make sure the print platform is properly leveled. An uneven bed is the cause of most failed prints. Then adjust the nozzle height and flow rate.

11. Prevention of cracking

There is nothing more ugly and useless than a cracked print. If the melted plastic cools too quickly, you are likely to get cracks, especially in the top layers. Going from such a high temperature to a low temperature will cause the material to shrink, resulting in cracks. This is usually a problem for large models.

You can try two things:

adjust the extruder temperature. Increase it in small increments, staying within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Adjust the fan speed. If your model’s cooling fan is blowing too hard, it may be cooling it too quickly. Tune it gradually until you find a happy medium. Keep in mind that you still need a high enough fan speed to prevent buckling and other deformations.

12. Strain Prevention

Tension, also known as bleed, is one of the most common issues that degrade 3D FDM prints. When moving the extruder from one point to another, thin pieces of fibrous plastic are formed on the model.

To fix this, several factors need to be checked:

Is the temperature too high? Overheating the extruder will cause the filament to run out too quickly. Lower the temperature a few degrees so that it doesn’t leak out as quickly. Increase your speed. If the printer is not moving fast enough in the X or Y axis, the extruder may leave thin filaments of plastic behind. Go to the slicing software settings and set the movement speed. Set the retraction speed setting. A slow retraction speed will cause the filament to bleed through the nozzle before the extruder can move into a new position. This will stretch the plastic from point A to point B like a web. Try your slicer software presets and consider the filament material when choosing.

3D Printing Can Be Challenging

Creating a 3D model is a lot of fun, but a lot can go wrong and it’s impossible to cover everything in one article. There are many variables to consider when using an FDM printer, so don’t panic if your 3D print doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. Make sure your printer is properly calibrated and that you are using high quality filament. Once it doesn’t, follow all the troubleshooting steps.

If all else fails, tell us about your 3D printing issues in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help.

Best Tips for 3D Filament Prints

Best Tips for 3D Filament Prints

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