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The Common 3D Printing Issues and How to Fix Them

 |  Kyle Enciso

3D Printing Problems: Common Issues and Solutions

3D printing technology is growing rapidly and the demand for 3D printers is increasing too. Some years back, getting a 3D printer was really hard as it was very expensive and the entire technology was difficult as there was no beginner-friendly 3D modeling software. But nowadays there are good 3D printers that cost even less than $300 and new 3D printing tools like SelfCAD are available now where one can be able to design both simple and complex designs with much ease.

Just like any other tool, 3D printers too have their issues. In this article, we are going to tell you about the common 3D printing problems that users face when 3D printing their models. After discussing the common 3D printing issues, we will also be able to discuss the various tips that you can use to overcome or fix them.

Our tips will be useful for beginners who want to master 3D printing technology, and also professionals who are often embarrassed by a breakdown. Let’s get started!

Problem 1: Clogged Nozzle

It often happens that the operator starts a print, but the material does not come out. A clogged nozzle is often the reason for this embarrassment, but there are several reasons 3D printing issue. If after removing and reinstalling the filament the 3D printer does not work, you should opt for more complex maintenance. Very often, after replacing the spools, a small piece of material remains in the nozzle. Usually, this material is a result of the thread breaking at the end. 

A piece of stuck plastic remaining in the nozzle prevents the new material from being pushed. When this happens, the material will stop feeding.

Solution: Just remove the plastic, then use your printer's control panel (if available) to select the "heat" setting. This tool is used to raise the temperature. (About 220 C is optimal for stacking the material). Use a small pin to unclog the hole.

3D printing issues

Clogged nozzle of a 3D printer. Image source: Edditive blog

Systematic maintenance of your 3D printer can reduce the likelihood of this problem occurring. In fact, operators will always see the stuck charred filament inside the nozzle before the equipment breaks. Even if you do not notice it, but the quality of your prints starts to slightly reduce, inspect the installation in order to identify problems. Of course, meticulousness will never be superfluous for a 3D printer operator.

Problem 2: Extrusion Stopped Mid-Print

The reason for paused processes is that the model does not stick to the base. This is because the machine needs a textured base. Unfortunately, 3D printing can almost always be layered from the first to the last layer, which is usually frustrating. 

Of course, this is not always the machine’s fault. If you try to use a part that only has slight contact with the base, this problem may occur. So, this incident is often associated with incorrect 3D modeling.

Solution: Make sure that the base is not skewed. This incident can cause a model to flake off. But when you identify the problem, the operator can easily fix it by adjusting the parameters of the print bed with a few screws or knobs. It is also advisable to check the temperature and extrusion rate of the plastic.

Problem 3: Cracks In Tall Objects

To reduce plastic waste, most 3D printed parts are wrapped around a porous, partially hollow filling. Almost every model will only be 30% plastic. Such specificity is often the cause of surface cracking. This means that the workpiece will have to be repaired again. 

Such an incident is often the case due to incorrect adjustments: the plastic is extruded too little, the operator has chosen the wrong number of solid surfaces.

Solution: Take a look at the inner support structure. The pattern should not move. If the outer baffle is slightly skewed, the surface may be uneven rather than smooth. There are a few tweaks that can help people fix this flaw. When operators notice gaps in some elements, the first step is to increase the number of solid elements. People can change all parameters in the printer's menu: Edit Process Settings → Layer. 

3D printing issues and their solutions

3D printing issues and their solutions

Experienced engineers claim that most 3D printers are not capable of determining with maximum precision how much plastic is actually extruded. If such parameters are wrong, the equipment can push too much or too little material. So, all conditions of printing should also be checked by the operator to prevent cracks or irregularities on the surfaces. Such meticulousness is very important.

Parts of any 3D printer will loosen over time. Very often, this is why people have an incident with printing. Sometimes it happens when the orientation of the workpiece is incorrect or the nozzle is too far or close to the part. Equipment failure is a common cause of flaws on the workpiece surfaces, and this often means starting the process over. This implies incurring additional costs, which is annoying. So, any operator should check the nuts, bolts, and belts every few weeks in order to avoid such incidents.

Problem 4: Warping

Sometimes the operator notices that the internal structure is missing or damaged. When this happens, the base of the model will no longer be parallel to the print bed. 

Deformation not only distorts the workpiece but can also cause cracking of the surfaces. There are several reasons for this incident. Warp usually occurs when the print cools quickly. When such an incident occurs, the ABS or PLA filament begins to shrink, slightly distorting the model. Sometimes, it's due to incorrect operation of the equipment.

Solution: Oftentimes, people have incorrect settings in the slicer program. When this happens, the filling density should be checked. A value of about 20% is optimal. For large prints, operators can increase the intensity to ensure that the model has adequate support. 

People can also add one more material. This way, they increase the likelihood of the thread sticking to the base. The best solution is to apply a thin layer of sticky glue to the print bed. Another alternative for PLA is to add a decorating ribbon.

Problem 5: Layer Shifting (Elephant’s foot) 

When the layers of the model are uneven for some reason, it looks like a "staircase". This incident renders the model unusable and printing has to start over. This occurs when the operator wrongly adjusts the X/Y movement system or the extruder. 

Shearing of layers can also occur when the printer head hits the printed pattern. So, special attention should be paid to equipment maintenance. Most 3D printers cannot react to collisions and continue printing regardless of whether the model is locked or not.

3D printing issues and their solutions

Solution: There are many reasons why 3D printers can print the wrong models. As with all mechanical parts, equipment pulleys and belts can loosen over time. This results in sliding, causing the layers to shift. To fix this breaking, check the motion system. Make sure the belts are properly tensioned and that the bolted pulleys are tightened. 

Problem 6: Print Head Misses the Print Bed

Human factors are mostly the cause of any equipment failure. All 3D printers will be no exception. When the operator enters the wrong X or Y position, the print head is missed by the bearing. When this happens, people will hear the noise that will be generated by sliding belts and grinding wheels. 

Any 3D printer is unlikely to be able to print with such a breakdown. The common cause of an incident is a misconfiguration or broken end stops.

Solution: If the operator encounters such a problem with a new printer, it is likely that something went wrong with the hardware configuration. Start the installation process again and make sure the firmware is updated. When setting up your 3D machine, be sure that you specify the correct print areas. 

If the equipment detects that it has a larger print bed than it actually does, it will try to use the wrong parameters. In this case, not only will the system not print, but it may also fail. It is better for the operator to avoid such incidents so as not to incur costs on repairing the 3D machine. 

Problem 7: Snapped Filament

Most 3D mechanisms use a small drive gear that catches the plastic and pushes it where the material needs to be glued. This is a small element that has sharp barbs, which are needed to catch the material, but is also the reason for the thread breaks. 

Such an incident occurs due to accelerated printing or when the filament cannot move, but the gear rotates.

Solution: The first thing the operator has to do is remove the plastic from the conveyor. The next step is to use the 3D printing program to fix the issue by selecting hardware replacement. Then finally, heat the nozzle. If the new wire also breaks, make sure the tensioner pulley is not too tight. Also, check for clogged nozzles.

Summary

Any 3D printer is a piece of equipment worth scrupulous maintenance. Otherwise, people will always have incidents during 3D printing. In any case, the operation of an automated system is associated with fine-tuning. 

Regardless of whether people use equipment at the university or for printing souvenirs, as is typical for most cryptocurrency projects such as ICOholder, our tips will be useful. Any operator should be meticulous in order to avoid bending the workpiece and equipment breakdown.


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3D printing issues

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