Common 3D Printing Problems

 |  Anastasia Misiuk

Examples of the Common 3D printing Problems

It’s amazing what you can make with your 3D printer. Nevertheless, at least once something went wrong and you wasted material on totally different print. Read our guide to find possible solutions for increasing the quality of your prints. We explain some of the common 3D printing problems with really illustrative examples of our unfortunate prints. 

No extrusion in the middle of the print. 

You may just be out of filament. If you checked and it’s not, the filament may also be blocked from getting into a nozzle as the extruder’s motor is constantly moving. Check regularly (especially during long and big prints), if the filament is placed right on the spool and is getting to the nozzle. Another possible explanation is that the extruder is clogged. If the filament or the spool is slightly uneven or has dust on it, it may be the reason why your extruder is clogged in the middle of the print. The mechanics may also cause this issue when extruder’s motor driver is overheated. The motor divers constantly move back and forth during the printing process, and if the printer’s electronics do not have enough cooling, it can cause the overheat. In this case, the only way to solve the issue is to turn the printer down and let the electronics to cool. To prevent such overheat you might consider having a cooling fan, which you can print on your own.

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Dimensional Accuracy. 

Even though while creating your model, you double-checked the measurements, it requires a lot to get a dimensionally accurate print. Your printer should be well-turned and the mechanics should be flawless. But it is also the FDM technology itself, which makes the print slightly different from 3D models, as the layers of filament are basically squeezed down by the extruder and the print is a little wider. It applies backward to holes in prints - those are smaller than in the objects themselves. Make sure you also correctly calibrated steps/mm settings to achieve better accuracy.

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Normal support structures are generated by slicer to be easily removed from the final print, and their structure is much thinner than a print. To allow removing, there’s a little gap between the print and between the support structure. The height of the gap is usually adjustable, so if the gap is smaller, the quality of the upper layer will be slightly better. But the support will be also harder to remove in this case. You might also consider rotating the model to achieve the best angle for placing the model for printing to decrease or even avoid supports. Sometimes simply slightly lowering the temperature helps to achieve better 3D printing quality above supports. 

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Messy filament leftovers, which give you «hairy» prints. 

Bits of the filament is seen all over the model, in the areas they should not appear. Extruder temperature may be one of the reasons, it’s quite possible, that you print with too hot temperature. Try decreasing the temperature by 5-10 degrees to find the balance. Keep in mind, that when the temperature is too low, the filament may be too solid and it may difficultly extrude from the nozzle. Another reason is long movement over open spaces. An extruder is moving between two different points and while this move is happening the nozzle starts to ooze with plastic. Longer movements are more likely to create unwanted oozing, but in the case of shorter movements, the amount of filament oozed is predictably smaller. Nevertheless, you still need to remove it after the print is finished and cooled.

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Weak, fragile prints with visible gaps in it. This happens when the printer is unable to supply the needed amount of filament to produce the layer. Make sure your filament path doesn’t have any blockages and can unspool freely from the holder. Check the extruder settings in our Slicer, try printing hotter and slower to make sure every layer will take its place. The layers are visibly thicker than needed and very uneven, as too much plastic is coming out of the nozzle. Change your extruder settings to ensure the delivery of the proper amount of filament. Sometimes over-extrusion happens simply because the settings from the previous prints are not changed. 


The filament is very pliable and can be easily formed into various shapes when it’s hot. When the print cools, it becomes solid. To avoid overheating you need to keep the balance between the temperature of printing and the printed part. The filament should both easily come out of the nozzle layer by layer and also cool and solidify while the upper layers are printed. If the balance is not achieved, the final prints may not look as precise as you want them. Printing in too high temperature may give you melted prints with blobs, especially along with printing thick layers. Try printing 5 degrees cooler and with thinner layers. 

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Hopefully, this will lead you to better 3D printing and better prints. If you design your own models, consider the FDM technology and your printer’s limitations. Keep in mind, that printers are very sensitive and need calibration. 

Follow our guide and enjoy creating with SelfCAD!


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