3D printing can be a great way to get a product made. It is also costly and time-consuming, making it challenging to get started.
This post will guide you on properly using your 3D printer to avoid layer lines and give you tips on getting the best print quality. It is important to note that all 3D printers have limitations.
Each design will require materials and settings specific to your printer. The most common ones are:
PLA – comes in opaque or transparent, is easy to print with but has limited strength and flexibility, and is a poor thermal conductor, meaning it can’t transfer heat well.
ABS – comes in opaque or translucent, is easy to print with, and has good strength and flexibility but can be challenging to print with.
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- 7 Simple Steps to Fix 3D Printer Layer Shifting. (5 min read)
- PLA Smoothing: All You Need To Know (5 min read)
- Why Are There So Many Uneven Lines on 3D Prints (Causes)?
- 7 Ways To Preventing Layer Lines on 3D Prints
Why Are There So Many Uneven Lines on 3D Prints (Causes)?
Layer lines in 3D printing occur when the printer deposits material one layer at a time. And the result is an object with rows of lines running perpendicular to the print head’s travel direction, usually from bottom to top.
Most commercial 3D printers produce layer lines because they move the print head in a Cartesian coordinate system. This systematic movement leaves visible striations on the printed part. Objects with intricate geometries are more likely to show layer lines than those with simpler designs.
There are a few potential culprits for layer lines in 3D printing.
The causes of layer lines are:
- Uses of large size layer height
- Uses of large size nozzle diameter
- 3D printer parts with slack
- Incorrect temperature of the printing
- The filament of low quality
- Poor model orientation
- Printing zone in a cold place
7 Ways To Preventing Layer Lines on 3D Prints
Layer lines are a common problem for those who print their 3D models. Layer lines can be an eyesore, but fortunately, there are easy ways to get rid of them.
There are ways to prevent layer lines on 3D prints if you take the time to understand how they form in the first place. The printer head’s speed or the print bed’s temperature generally causes the layer lines on a 3D print.
Suppose you can adjust one or both of these settings. In that case, you can significantly reduce the appearance of layer lines on your final print. Another way to prevent layer lines is to adjust the printing speed.
If the temperature is too low, the layers will be less well-defined and may cause a rough surface. Suppose the temperature is too high, the plastic may melt, causing blobs and other defects. The layers will be more clearly visible if the speed is too slow.
If the speed is too fast, the printer may not have enough time to lay down all the plastic, causing deficiencies in some areas.
To get rid of the problems with layer lines some methods can help effectively.
Mentioned problems can be solved with the following methods-
1. Reducing Layer Height
When you print an object with 3D Printer, you always try to get a smoother view and feel but you are facing troubles with it because you are not getting it instead you are getting the rougher feel and seeing several layers of lines on your printing surface.
To solve this you should fix the layer height of your printer down. It helps you to get a smoother surface on your 3D printing objects. If the layer height is big then you won’t get the best smoother printing surface.
If your layer height is minimum then you will get a smoother printing surface and you won’t see the layer lines on your surface.
So, reduce the layer height as much as you can to get the best printing surface without showing any layer lines.
For this, you can use the magic of numbers that are in default in Cura, and the number is0.04-millimeter increments for the Ender 3.
You can also try to run more test prints to figure out which layer height makes the minimum visible layer lines.
These are the ways you can try to reduce the layer height in terms of getting the best smooth least visible layer lines printing surface when you print 3D objects.
2. Nozzle Diameter Adjustment
If you want to get the best print quality with your 3D printer then you have to adjust your nozzle diameter according to your layer height.
Most of the cases it’s becoming a thing that your layer height should not be more than 80% of your nozzle diameter. In another way, your height should be a minimum of 25% of your nozzle diameter.
From my personal experience, I’m used to it that I’m using a 0.4mm nozzle and getting the exciting premium quality of print with 0.12 mm layer height. The print quality is amazing, smoother to touch. When you print smaller objects which have a lot of details then you going to try a smaller nozzle of 0.1mm.
In this case, you going to have the amazing print quality from your 3D printer and also having without any layer lines on your printing.
You should try many more nozzle diameters to figure out which one is working best for your 3D printer with your best printing requirements. Try to follow the adjustment of your nozzle diameter according to the layer height of your printer.
3. Slack issue fixing
When you are done with your layer height and nozzle diameter adjustments then there is a huge possibility you not going to have the best print quality you want. Because there are other things you should also keep in your head to be fixed.
Here, I’m talking about the mechanical issues of your 3D printer that are related to the physical part of your printer. There is a big thing to solve it because of Slack issue fixing of your printing surface. It helps you to get a printing surface without showing layer lines. For this you have to follow this kind of thing, actually, you have to fix this,
Make sure that your printer is in a sturdy place. If your printer isn’t there, then you have to place it in a sturdy place. Because, you will have a lot of imperfections and defects in your print quality if there is any slack on moving parts of your printing surface, It’s may be created from the vibrations of your printer.
So, better you should place your printer in a sturdy place to fix this. Like you need an anti-vibrant setup for your 3D printer to get removed from this slack issue problem. You can use anti-vibrant mounts and pads to get rid of the movements of your printer.
Also, don’t forget to check that there aren’t any loose screws, nuts, or bolts in your 3D printer. Make sure of it. Because of this, you can have vibrations from your printer and that leads to a problem. Always try to use a light oil to keep your lead screw lubricated, for this you can try sewing machine oil in your printer screws to get better results.
Make sure your filaments are okay without any obstructions and it is being fed through the extruder smoothly.
4. Printing Temperature Optimization
If you want premium-quality printing from your 3D printer then you will always try to avoid printing imperfections, whether it is too small or not.
Who doesn’t want it?
Obviously, everyone will follow what needs to be done to avoid any kind of printing imperfections. Because it may lead to huge printing imperfections with print quality having layer lines on the prints.
To avoid this kind of imperfection you should keep in mind the temperature issue of your printer. I think now you just got, what I was trying to say. Yes, it’s the temperature issue and you have to find out the optimal temperature for your printer filament.
If you don’t have the perfect temperature then you will have the wrong printing quality with showing layer lines.
So, it’s very important to check out. If your temperature is high then it’ll melt your printer filament quickly and then it’s not gonna run properly which may lead you to imperfections in your print quality. For this, you can download and 3D print a temperature tower to figure out the optimal printing temperature for your printer filament.
When you change the filament of your printer then you should mark the temperature that is the best suit for your filament. And this is how you will find the optimal temperature for your filament. Hey, I just remember the other thing regarding the temperature issue and you just have to follow it.
It is the issue of your surrounding environment temperature that shouldn’t be cold because if you print 3D quality printing in a cold surrounding environment then you have printing imperfections that may cause your printer filament.
So, follow everything that is mentioned above to reduce printing imperfections from temperature issues.
5. The Filament of High Quality
To get the smoother and best quality feel prints from your 3D printer you should use high-quality filament. You will see the difference in how a good quality filament can change the whole print quality of your 3D printer.
I have already talked with many users who have been using high-quality, top branded filament for a long time and they told me that it is one of the best things in any 3D printer to have.
They told me that the filaments that are not good in quality and cheaper in price always give huge imperfections in printing quality. So, they all started to try high-quality based of filament for their printer to have the best printing difference.
For this, you need to purchase high-quality based of filament from the market. For this, you need to spend more money than you spend for any normal filament.
Go to the market and order a bunch of filaments and then try in your printer and then check which one works best for your printer. This is how you can get high-quality filament for your printer.
When you purchase a filament always try to have a filament that has a rough texture most likely marble or wood-based. Trust me this kind of filament works best for your projects.
What do you actually want with your 3D printer?
The answer is you always have the best quality of printing with less amount of printing imperfections and in your printing, there will be no layer lines.
Exactly, this is what you want with your printer. For having the best quality of printing you should buy a smooth filament that can make your printing surface smoother. So, the choice is yours, make it wisely.
6. High Model Orientation
Sometimes, you may think why are not satisfied with your 3D printer after doing so many steps to have the best quality of 3D printing. This can happen like a tinny factor too. You then might forget to fix your printer model orientation.
Yes, this factor can make a huge difference in your printing quality showing more visible layer lines. So, the right model orientation of your printer can give you extra benefits to your printing quality.
For this thing, you should keep in your head that according to directions whether it is X, Y or Z, the best resolution you will have on the Z-axis is proved. Because, on the Z-axis you can look at each layer or layer height that can go down as far as 0.07 mm, which can give you the best orientation. Here, the resolution is far better than the XY surface.
Make your orientation in such a way that if you print any facial features that can give you the most level and view to work.
If you create your orientation with fewer angles then you gonna have minimum layer lines.
So, the thing is you must have to orient your model in such a way where you have the most level of planes with fewer angles to show up minimum printing layer lines, that’s it.
7. The Temperature of The Printing Zone
To avoid showing up layer lines on your printing surface you must have to avoid temperature fluctuations.
You should avoid a cold environment setup with your 3D printer.
You should make sure that your PID controller is working right that controls your temperature issue.
Try to have an optimal temperature to get the best printing quality and the most conscious thing is your filament going to be affected and melted mostly by the reason of temperature fluctuations. So, better fix it.
A few things could cause the layer lines in 3D printing: improper calibration of the printer, incorrect filament diameter, or incorrect extrusion speed. Another possibility is that the print bed is unleveled, which can also cause uneven layers.
Furthermore, suppose your printer nozzle is too close to the print bed. It will deposit too much plastic in a single spot and cause warping or blistering. It includes the speed and direction of the print head, the temperature of the build platform and material, and vibration.
When these factors are not adequately aligned, it can cause inconsistencies in the layers that make up the printed object, resulting in visible lines or ridges on the surface.
Finally, there are several ways to troubleshoot and minimize layer lines in 3D printing, but understanding their causes is key to addressing them.
To solve this problem of showing up layer lines on the printing surface one must follow the mentioned methods to get the best result of printing with 3D printers.
It’s not that easy to maintain all the methods but once you are learned all the materials and things then you will be satisfied more with the result when you gonna see the smoother, no-layer lines on the surface of this kind of printing quality. You will be satisfied then fewer printing imperfections by your 3D printer.
So, better follow all the methods that are possible for you to make a huge change in your printing quality with fewer imperfections. That’s all you have to make.