Failed 3D Prints, and How to Fix Them

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Introduction: Failed 3D Prints, and How to Fix Them

About: I make stuff. #makermovement

3D printers are seriously cool, but as of right now, they are new technology and pretty unreliable. I have a year of 3D printing experience, and I have tried and failed again and again trying to print various models on my printer. However, after failing that many times I have learn a thing or two about settings and tricks to get 3D prints right the first time. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments, and please vote for me if this is helpful!

Step 1: Bed Adhesion

This is probably one of the most common ways any 3D print can fail. 3D printers work by building up objects layer by layer, and if the layers come off of the bed, you usually end up with plastic spaghetti instead of a clean printed part.

Three things contribute to bed adhesion:

  • The bed surface (PET tape, glass, or other types)
  • The material you are printing in (PLA, ABS, Nylon)
  • And the heat of the bed (usually between 60 degrees and 90 degrees Celsius)

The best adhesion I've found for ABS consists of a 80-90° bed, PET tape, with a thin film of Elmer's Glue stick on top.

The best adhesion I've found for PLA is a 0-50° bed, PET tape or uncovered glass, and Elmer's Glue.

Suggestions and methods from comments include:

  • Member gravityisweak suggested his method:

Use hair gel from the dollar store on hot glass for rock hard adherence with PLA.

  • Member MikeTheSpike says:

I print ABS at 220 degrees Celsius on a 110 degree bed.

Step 2: Over Extrusion

Another common fail is over extrusion. Over extrusion happens when your 3D printer pushes out too much plastic too fast, causing a jam in the end of the nozzle. This jam builds up more and more until the hotend stops extruding altogether, leaving your print unfinished.

The best ways to prevent over extrusion are:

  • Make sure you layer height is less than your nozzle diameter
  • Increase your cooling fan's power (this will cool the plastic and cause it to slow down)

Step 3: Under Extrusion

On the flip side of over extrusion, under extrusion happens when the plastic coming out of the hotend is too cool. The layers are not hot enough too bond, and the print falls apart easily.

The best way to stop under extrusion is checking you nozzle for clogs, and increasing the hot end temperature. I suggest increasing it in five degree increments until you get a part that has good strength and good nozzle flow.

Step 4: Filament Gets Knotted

One of the most frustrating fails is when your filament is looped under itself and tightens until it is not extruding at all. The only way to fix this is:

When you change filaments, always make sure to hold the loose end firmly and put the spool back in the box, so that the end cannot slip under itself.

Step 5: Incorrectly Leveled Bed

On any 3D print, the bed must be perfectly level, or various problems will happen during the print, such as:

  • Your part will not adhere to the build plate
  • You part may warp
  • The print can have blobs on the z layers
  • The print will fall apart easily

Leveling your build plate is relatively simple.

Watch this great video on how to do it, or use my guide below.

Note:This video is not mine and I take no credit for it.

My Method

To level a 3D Printer's build plate (AKA print bed) you will need:

  • A 3D Printer
  • An Allen Key
  • A Piece of Paper

STEP 1

Take a piece of letter paper, normal weight, and fold it in half. Place it under your 3D printers' nozzle and home the hotend onto the paper. The paper should be sandwiched between the bed and nozzle. Now, try to slide it out from under the nozzle. If the paper moves freely, the nozzle is too high above the print bed. If there is too much resistance (you have to pull firmly on the paper to free it), the nozzle is too close to the print bed.

STEP 2

Using your findings from step 1, take an Allen Key that fits your printers' bed clip, either:

  • Loosen the Allen screw to raise the bed (Do this if the paper moved freely)
  • Or tighten the Allen screw to lower the bed (Do this if the paper was to tight)

STEP 3

Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all four corners of the build plate.

Step 6: Print Print Print!

Have a good time 3D printing. It can get frustrating sometimes, but every time you fail, figure out what happened, and prevent that from ever happening again!

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51 Comments

0
Drachels2413
Drachels2413

6 weeks ago

Could someone explain what happened to my project?

820246E2-742E-4D57-B0DE-A33B23C1145F.jpeg
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Sajjad_A
Sajjad_A

6 years ago

BradB5 (or anyone else who knows how to solve this problem),

I print stuff on my school's 3 3d printers. The only problem is that 2 of them stop printing after about 5-10 minutes of printing, sometimes longer. They're Makerbots (below picture is the model I think). It says "Extruder Error" when it stops, but I'm not sure if it is Over Extrusion because there is not silky strands coming from different parts of the print and we don't have to clean out the extruder. We just push the knob twice and it heats up (to 215 C) and starts printing again until it stops again.

HELP!!! My dad won't let me and my brother get our own 3D printer because he says we can just use the ones at our school, but we can only use 1. Does anyone know what is happening???

Thanks!

makerbot.PNG
0
JamesC4
JamesC4

Reply 4 months ago

Sounds like a printer head jam issue to me. clean the nozzel out and make sure your nozzle temps are good.

0
JamesC4
JamesC4

Reply 4 months ago

Sounds like a printer head jam issue to me. clean the nozzel out and make sure your nozzle temps are good.

0
Dlbray
Dlbray

Reply 6 years ago

That model of Makerbot is notoriously bad. It looks like the newest generation that has a "smart" extruder head. One thing that helped ours was turning off "Jam Detection." Another was having the filament go straight up and down into the head without running through any tubing.

0
Sajjad_A
Sajjad_A

Reply 6 years ago

Is Jam detection under settings?

Also, would we need an external spool holder to make the filament go straight up and down? There is a shelf above the printers.

0
BradBuilds
BradBuilds

Reply 6 years ago

Hi J SquaredA, I personally don't use a makerbot, but with any Cartesian robot (normal 3D printers with an extruder), can have some of the following problems that can cause prints to stop suddenly:

*I would guess that your printer's extruer motor driver (A small board in the electronics box on your printer) is overheating, and needs to cool down. When it does cool, all you have to do is heat it back up and resume printing.

To fix this, I would make sure that the printer is in a well ventilated area, and no sandwiched between anything (desks, wall, bookcases, etc.)

Good luck!

0
mpshea1
mpshea1

Question 2 years ago on Introduction

Good afternoon, I wanted to see if you are still in the business of offering advise.... as I have a roll of PLA that I am starting to think is a bad roll, I have tried to print on both a xinkebot and a QIDI and on both machines it doesnt seem to want to harden and is printing like Rubber...... so it keeps flexing and just making a horrible print.... general PLA setting. Nozzle 200C Bed 65c. Printing at speed of 55. I have tried lowing the temp but then it doesnt seem to adhere to the bed it's not really making any popping noise so I dont think it's got to much moisture. Any way any help would be much appreciated.

Micheal

0
JamesC4
JamesC4

Answer 4 months ago

I use hairspray to hold mine onto the glass bed. But also, make sure your temps are high enough. I've found that with my Ender 3 Pro, prints generally come out better when I am 5 degrees over the minimum recommended filament heat temp.

0
Dread Knight
Dread Knight

Answer 9 months ago

A bit of hairspray on the print bed could do the trick.

0
JamesC4
JamesC4

Question 4 months ago

The issue I am having is that my Z axis seems to stop lifting up near the top of the print, an sometimes during random layers, especially on the larger prints. This causes an elephant like foot on the top of the print, or the print to fall over, or sometimes a layer that is slightly thicker than others. How can I fix this? I love 3d printing, and have some very large prints I want to do... but cannot afford to waste the filament on the top layers. Edit: I forgot to mention: I am using a Creality Ender 3 Pro with Mute board and touch screen. Would having a print that holds the Z lift pole thingy in place help prevent this issue?

0
saphiresjf
saphiresjf

Question 5 months ago on Introduction

My nephew has a 3 d printer and it used to print clear, but now it pauses and prints off when it builds on. Like it can't built up clearly. It's those cheap ones ... Easy thread beginner ones. Any idea on how to fix it?

0
DracInTheBox
DracInTheBox

1 year ago

I have a Longer Cube 2. And I’m having an issue with my prints being knocked off the build plate usually in the early layers. It’s not a heated plate and it uses a flexible, textured plate that can be removed to pull the print off. I’m guessing there’s not enough adhesion even with the textured surface, would the Elmer’s Glue stock help with this?

0
Dread Knight
Dread Knight

Reply 9 months ago

A bit of hair spray on the print bed can do the trick.

0
306122
306122

Question 3 years ago on Step 3

I have a XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0. I am having a problem with my 3D model falling apart. How do I raise the operating temperature on my printer?

0
TomasD32
TomasD32

5 years ago

I managed to reduce warping and maximise adhesion (PLA) by decreasing extrusion temperature to 195C and increasing bed temperature to 80C for the first 5 layers, then decrease bed temp by 5C every 5 layers. I also used Maple Syrup on the printing bed for it is extremely sticky and super easy to clean. I have 15 consecutive successful prints by following this process.

0
td10
td10

5 years ago

i use lemon juice or sugary water when printing pla on to a heated glass bed. Preheat bed, apply lemon juice, it steams away the liquid fairly quickly leaving surface sticky. Other trick is to turn on cooling fan after 3 or 4 layers have already printed

0
BradBuilds
BradBuilds

Reply 5 years ago

Cool! I've never tried lemon juice. Do the prints smell nice too ?

0
td10
td10

Reply 5 years ago

There is a lemon smell when the liquid boils away then just normal plastic heating smell. I found that the sticky surface can last for 3-5 prints. It is almost too good because do have to wait for bed to cool so the print separates from bed. Then clean with hot water/detergent, dry. Test bed alignment. Then rub with acetone/paper towel to clean grease off the glass surface. Reapply juice then good to go. I got bottle from supermarket so it was reconstituted.lemon juice used for cooking.

0
TheCoffeeDude
TheCoffeeDude

6 years ago

I was pulling my hair out over layers separating on my m3d micro...this helped me fix it. Great ible.