7 Simple Steps to Fix 3D Printer Layer Shifting


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3D printing is a trendy topic right now, with many new and fascinating applications being researched worldwide. We believe 3D printing will play a significant role in the future of technology, and we want to place great, affordable home and office 3D printers.

3D printing takes time, and it is an intricate machine. Finally, things are likely to go wrong now and then. Layer shifting is one of the most aggravating and yet most prevalent issues that can arise during 3D printing.

Unfortunately, layer shifting can be caused by a variety of events other than physically bumping the printer. To figure out where the problem starts and, subsequently, how to remedy it, look for the following article.

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What Causes 3D Printer Layer Shifting?

3D printers help to build an object from the ground up. The process starts from the base layer. In the case of some 3D printers, they build layers from alignment. This process allows layer shifts occasionally. In layer shifting, two or more layers are misaligned with each other.

In general, 3D printers build objects layer after layer. First, one puts the material onto the printing bed for the base layer. Periodically, upper layers take place until completion. Due to layer shifting, the layers don’t match.

Some of the reasons are-

1. Pulley’s Set Screws

Pulley can be seen on the x-axis and the y-axis. It’s a part to which motors are attached and the pulley helps to move the belt of the printer. If your pulley’s set screws are not tight enough, the movement of the belt will be affected due to slipping.

2. Printing Speed

You can adjust the printing speed in a 3D printer. If you adjust the speed too fast, it can cause misalignment among layers. 3D printers head moves up and over the printing head which can deposit the material in the wrong position. As a result, shifting happens in 3D printing layers.

3. Loose Belts

Loose belts can also result in 3D printer layer shifting. 3D printers contain belts that help the printer head move during the deposit of the material. The belts can stretch due to constant use. Because of stretching, the belts can become loose. As a result, the 3D printer fails to deposit the material correctly.

4. Tight Belts

You don’t want your belts to be too tight also. A rigid belt can have counter effects like squeezing pulleys and idlers that help to keep the process going. The belts shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. It should maintain a balance.

5. Cooling Issue

Sometimes you can have overhangs. Your layer cooling fan may not be doing the job as it should be. As a result, the layer starts to pick up which creates a barrier for the printer nozzle, and the nozzle hits in. The print head starts stuttering and the print’s layer shifts.

6. Board Overheating

Sometimes the boards can get overheated and the separate drivers can try too hard. As a result, the printer can skip steps. In this case, using a cooling fan may be helpful but it depends on the printer’s system.

7. Collisions

Sometimes 3D printers can make direct contact with existing prebuilt layers. Due to the collision of the printer with the layer, the alignment may face issues. In general, a collision can happen due to software issues or printing speed.

8. Absence of Z Lift

Z lifts help the print head to lift and move somewhere else for printing. This helps to get past the issue of having something in the way of the printing process. In simple words, Z lifts help to avoid obstructions while printing.

7 Simple Steps to Fix 3D Printer Layer Shifting:

1. Try Decreasing the Print Speed 

First, need to work with print speed before making any other changes. Try slowing down the print speed. If the printer moves faster the layers will distract from alignment. It needs to move slower than the motor capacity.

The 3D printer needs a long time and it tries to speed up, therefore it causes an issue. For this reason, the first concern is to decrease the printer speed. Slowing down of printer can regain precision to solve the issue of layer shifting.

2. Check for Print Head Collisions 

When it comes to the checking of physical components, the checking of print head collisions will be the first mechanical issue to check and solve.

By turning back on of printer, allow it to print continuously, and check and confirm if the head of the print contacts the model or not. It is possible if the head is blocked by the model.

This issue can be dealt with by two available options. Firstly by slowing down the speed of the head. This will stop bumping in printing parts that are already created.

Then making adjustments in slicing software can solve the issue. Adding Z hop can lift the head before moving the non-extruding path. Solving the hit possibility while moving to the next position can reduce the risk.

3. Minimizing Bump and Vibrations 

There are variations in the design and quality of 3D printers. The models are also different. It is not possible to give specific sizes here. So a beautifully built high-quality printer can get rid of this problem and print faster.

Print speeds can be reduced to five seconds. A portion of the experimental print must be tried until it is improved. Five seconds can be bumped up after correcting.

Generally, if the speed of travel jerk is set at 30 mm/sec, good results can be obtained.

Make sure the main points of the printer are not damaged. Cheap large build volumes can cause a lot of vibration.

If the printer is placed on the foam pad, the vibration will be less.

Controlling the vibration of your 3D printer will reduce the overall noise. Fast printing, shaking problems, incorrect settings, any errors, and excess weight of the printer can cause vibration. It is possible to reduce the vibration by diagnosing the root problem.

4. Identify the Axis Where the Shift Occurred 

The main cause of the layer shifting problem is the loose belt. Peas can get out of place and damage the print.

The belt of the 3D printer has to be adjusted properly. It cannot be tightened too much.

The layer’s height should be decreased to reduce the layer lines. Small nozzle diameter should be used. The high-quality filament can be used to control the temperature of the room.

The z characters must be aligned to ensure z branding

To maintain the 3D belt tight, the position of the belt must be checked. The belt must be kept properly as required. The printer must be cleaned. You need to check if the tensioner is working properly.

To solve the complexity, the necessary mechanical parts need to be checked and replaced properly. A high-quality filament is required for good 3D printing.

5. Tighten the Belts and Check the Pulleys

Sometimes layer shifting occurs because of loose belts. Now you may think what is a belt or how to fix the problem? If you look at a 3D printer you will find some belts attached to the preprint headed the print bed. These belts allow them to move swiftly along their particular axis.

After using a long time sometimes, the belts get loose and it directly affects the print quality. Because loose belts offer more spaces for the print-head and print bed to move on. It occurs problems like ringing, layer shifting, dimensional defects, wrong shape, etc.

Again, a tight belt also occurs trouble. Sometimes over-tightening a belt can crack it immediately. Over tightening a belt additionally extends it. Which ends in making the belt lose.

The essential method for fixing a belt on a 3D printer is as per the following:

  • Find out the loose part of your belt tensioner. Use suitable instruments to separate it from the axis.
  • Some 3D printers offer a customizable handle to adjust the tension. You just need to move the handle clockwise. This way the belt can easily be tightened.
  • If the belt becomes loose by its border, then you can fix it easily. Grab the belt with mild force toward the path. This will fix the problem.

6. Check Motor Carefully

Although the belts, pulleys, axis block covers, and guide rails are all parts of a 3D printer that are perfectly run, the printer is still displaying some sort of worthlessness. It then assumes the motor isn’t working properly.

Remove both axis motors after thoroughly inspecting the motor. The motor for the axis must then be checked. The layer shift did not happen, but the other was used as a check to see if it was defective.

After that, you should attempt manually turning the spinning portion. It should revolve with ease. If you’re not sure which one should feel like, manually rotate the other motor to get a sense of how it should feel.

If the first motor is significantly more difficult to turn, it could be defective. Place the X-axis motor on the Y-axis and the other way around. The fault is with the motor if the layer shift also shifts the axis.

7. Cool The Electronics  

If the printer is simply too hot for working a long time, that causes the motor to skip. After that, you must ensure that your printer is cold enough to operate. Make sure your ventilation gates are free of debris. A fan can also be used to increase airflow to the motors. It helps to cool down the motor properly and reduces the layer shifting issues.

How Do You Fix Minor Layer Shifting?

The solution for fixing minor layer shifting is maintenance. You will not experience issues like layer shifting if you maintain your printer properly.

Here is some obstructive maintenance you can follow to fix layer shifting:

1. Cleaning Dust Properly

Dust causes friction and damage electronic parts. So we should clean the device properly. It fixes minor layer shifting in the printer.

2. Lubricate Properly

Save your printer by lubricating electronic parts properly. When the extruder glides smoothly along the guide rails, it reduces overall wear and tears.

3. Belts and Pulleys Should be Inspected Frequently Since They Will Loosen Over Time

Regularly inspect and tighten these. Furthermore, you can change the damaged belt and fix a new one. To catch slips early, you have to do regular checkups.

4. Ensure Airflow Is Available

Clean your ventilation system thoroughly. You can also keep your electronics cool by using a fan during long tasks.

5. Keep In Mind That Faster Isn’t Necessarily Better

Avoid printing as quickly as possible. It causes layer shifting issues and overheating. Slow down your printer and give time to be precise.


3D printing is now a quick and easy technique to make objects. Layer shifting, on the other hand, is unaffected by the printer’s and material’s quality.

Many good features and the quality of the printer only cannot be the reason for preference. It should have available options to fix it. 

Because of the technology’s infancy, many problems arise. This phase has bugs, which should come as no surprise. They will become fixes as it evolves and further investigation into these concerns is conducted.

Shamim Ahmed
Shamim Ahmed
I’ve been an innovator in this space for years and am really excited to share my knowledge with you. I’m an entrepreneur and love helping others achieve their goals by teaching them how to build a business around the newest innovations in technology.

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