9 Common 3D Printing Issues: What to Do When Things Go Wrong!


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Do you ever face annoying issues when 3D printing? We all do.

If you’re new to 3D printing, you should learn about some of the most common 3D printing issues. This will help you take measures so that either you don’t face such situations or at least tackle them the right way.

In this article, we will cover 9 common 3D printing issues we all face and what to do when we face them.

Let’s get started!

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What does a good print look like?

To know if something actually went wrong, you should have an idea of what good prints really look like.

Not all prints will be perfect and that’s fine. Some nitty-gritty details are negligible. Small dots, textures on the surface are worth compromising. 

With the latest technology we have, there will be some imperfection. However, what we need to know are real issues that can break your print.

Mastering the craft of 3D printing takes time and patience. So if you’re new to this, don’t become discouraged if your prints don’t look like what they are supposed to. 

You need to have good knowledge about designs, 3D printers, filaments. You should know how to fine-tune your models.

For inspiration, you can always visit 3D print sharing websites and see what others are making. If a print catches your eye fast, you know it’s good. Getting lots of comments and Makes is also a good sign.

9 Common 3D Printing Issues

1. Extrusion Problems

Extrusion problems are likely the most common problems in this list. This can include not extruding at the start, under extrusion, over extrusion, clogged extruder, stop extruding in the middle, and more.

The reasons behind extrusion problems can be the extruder not being primed before you start printing, the nozzle being too close to the bed, or the drive gear removing too much from the filament.

Before you start printing, make sure that your extruder is in good shape.

Common 3D Printing Issues

2. Too little – too much Filament

Closely related to extrusion problems. Sometimes your 3D printer may miscommunicate with the software.

And the consequence?

Printing more or less filament than needed. Both are problematic.

If you’re getting too little or too much filament in your print, check if you’re using the correct filament diameter while printing. Ensure you have the appropriate extrusion multiplier. 

Increasing or decreasing the multiplier will increase or decrease the amount of plastic you can extrude, respectively.

3. Clogging

The extruder needs to pump out kilograms of plastic through a tiny hole. This can sometimes result in plastic or other objects being stuck inside the nozzle, clogging your extruder. A jammed nozzle will not be able to push the material.

Try to manually push the filament. Use your hand to push the filament into the extruder. You can also reload the filament afterward. Retracting it from the extruder and reloading can help remove the clogging. 

Finally, clean your nozzle. Depending on your extruder, you can manually pull out the filament or use a guitar string.

4. Blobs and Stringing

Due to the extruder starting and stopping multiple times, and moving to a new location, it can create variant designs, leaving marks on your print. These can be in blob or string shapes. These blemishes can make your model look dull.

By tweaking the retraction and movement settings and speed, you can minimize blobs and strings. A long retraction distance means there will be less oozing. Slow retraction causes stringing so avoid that.

Make sure that the temperature isn’t too high.

5. Temperature Problems

Temperature change causes your filament to become stable. This requires balancing between high and low temperature. 

Not maintaining this balance will produce bad quality print, unexpected shapes, overheating.

Try to keep a consistent temperature. Cool down the plastic faster.

6. Bed Adhesion and Warping

If your 3D model has tons of layers to print, sometimes a few layers can start coming out curly and deformed. This may seem negligible at first but eventually, this will fail your whole print. 

Warping can happen due to temperature difference, how much the plastic can wet the build plate, and the distance of the nozzle from the build plate.

Check whether your filament adheres to the bed. Remember to not give the plastic the chance to shrink due to temperature gap while printing.

You can also opt for brims and rafts to increase the surface area for less warping.

7. More Temperature Issues: Curling, molten down Details, Gaps

Improper temperature can also create more issues such as curling, gaps, fragile and ugly pieces.

Don’t print too hit or too cold. Adjust the temperature and provide enough cooling.

You may also want to increase the infill percentage and number of top solid layers.

Check out the settings in the Filament tab of your slicer. Understand how they work and adjust them accordingly. See which one fixes your problem.

Common 3D Printing Issues

8. Mechanical Issues

What could go wrong if some of the parts of your 3D printer become loose? A lot!

This can create issues like inconsistent vertical surfaces, tipples on sharp corners, small gaps on infill top.

Some ways to fix these are flexing the printer axes, tightening the belts, reducing jerk and acceleration settings.

9. Overtuning

If you’re a total beginner to 3D printing, chances are that you may feel like playing with every single setting of your 3D printer.

Whether out of curiosity or to fix issues, you may end up changing too much from the best settings. This will just create further problems for your prints.

Always consult the manufacturer or experts before you decide to tune important features.

Final Thoughts

We covered 9 common 3D printing issues and how you can tackle them.

Of course, these aren’t the only ones 3D printer owners deal with. But if you ask a 3D printer owner about the hardships he or she faces, you will most likely get one of these 9 problems as a reply.

Have you faced any of these problems before? What did you do?

Let us know in the comments below. 

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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