Print Troubleshooting Pictorial Guide

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This guide assumes a basically properly built and calibrated printer Main_Page. This guide is not intended as a design guide, but more as an operational troubleshooting guide. If you have not read through and attempted a complete calibration, see the REPRAP wiki for Calibration instructions. Some common calibration issues as well as common build related issues however are discussed.

(Please note: This guide is for identified and resolved issues only. The more common the issue, the better. No questions or open issues belong here, go to the forums for interactive help (look to your left in the links column). Use clear and concise language, only 6 pics or entries per issue.)

Note: This guide is also available in Swedish language here: [1]

The following categories are used to help identify the print issue by either print defects or by cause (if known). The print defects will point to identified causes and branch into individual examples and solutions:




Contents

CAUSES:

Material Feed

Excessive

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Material Feed, Excessive

PTPG-MF-E02.jpgPTPG-MF-E01.gifPTPG-MF-E03.jpg

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Wall thicknesses are coming out too thick, objects have outside dimensions consistently slightly too large and holes are slightly too small. Slicer software settings for perimeter widths are slightly too high. Reduce flow rate setting for perimeters. Skeinforge has these settings available to change. http://fabmetheus.crsndoo.com/wiki/index.php/Skeinforge



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Insufficient

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Insufficient Material

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Insufficient material is being extruded by the printer Wrong filament diameter selected in the Slicer software. In this case, 3mm instead of 1.75mm Check your slicer settings to make sure you have the correct filament size  ?



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Intermittent

Material Handling or Source

Material Contamination

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Material Handling, Material Contamination 01

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Tiny filament width holes on print sides. Steam blow-outs or bubbles from water absorbed from the humidity in the air into the raw filament during storage prior to printing. ABS is more susceptible to this as it has an affinity for water. Proper handling of filament to reduce exposure to humidity. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,180091



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Material Handling, Material Contamination 02

PTPG-MC02a.jpgPTPG-MC02b.jpgPTPG-MC02c.jpgPic03=PTPG-MC02d.jpgPic03=PTPG-MC02e.jpg



Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Extruder jams for no apparent reason. After the extruder hot section has been disassembled and cleaned out, it is rare to find the particle that was blocking the nozzle. Foreign particles may be visible in transparent filaments and may be accompanied by gas bubbles. Test for condition: (may damage nozzle) while extruder hot, insert a drill bit into the nozzle. If ooze occurs then stops again after drill bit is removed, a foreign particle may be in melt chamber. Particulate inclusions in raw filament as purchased from source. Found in cheap filament (Chinese mfr) noted in PLA from Esun. Use quality filament from known sources. http://richrap.blogspot.com/2012/06/jammed-frggn-nozzle-30doc-days-1518.html
Indications of abrasion may be noticed internally in the thermal isolator of the hot end with the lines of abrasion in the direction of filament feed when disassembled. Print may show indications of intermittent plugging and unplugging of nozzle. Low melting point metal (likely solder) ball noted in ABS (mfr not determined).This may indicate sub-orifice size foreign particles passing through extruder.Use quality filament from known sources.http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,188420

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Material Handling, Material Contamination 03

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Popping sound from nozzle like air bubbles under pressure or popcorn popping. Causing blowouts and missing plastic in part buildup. Filament (ABS in this case) contains air bubbles or voids from manufacturing process or from absorbed moisture turning to steam. Examine your filament for indications of this manufacturing defect. Use quality filament from known sources http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,195841



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Material Defects

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Material Handling, Material Defects, Brittleness 01

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Material filament quickly snaps and breaks upon mild flexing as it feeds off the spool. Filament (PLA in this case) defect from manufacturing process likely a temper effect. Examine your filament for indications of this manufacturing defect. Raw 3mm PLA from spool should be able to bend (grasped between forefinger and thumb of both hands starting together) a minimum of 45 degrees but some can bend up to almost 180 degrees before breaking (90 degree bend shown). Also shown fragile filament broken as it came off the roll (this spool was from Esun and broke from spool and failed a long print so spool was discarded). Use quality filament from known sources.



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Extruding Temperature

Too hot

Too cold

Clogged Extruder

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Clogged Extruder

PTPG-CE-01.jpgPTPG-MC02e2.jpgPTPG-CE-03.jpgPTPG-CE-05.jpg

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Extruder jams at normal temperatures in the hotend's thermal isolator bore. Excessive thermal isolator bore diameter allowing too much molten plastic back flow too far up isolator bore causing jam when it solidifies. Replace thermal isolator or isolator sleeve leaving .1 to .2mm only above filament diameter clearance for filament thermal expansion. (ex. 3.175mm for 3mm filament, filament is actually 2.9 +/-.1mm) http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2009/03/rheology.html


Extruder frequently becomes jammed, but works fine briefly after clearing the jamThermal isolator or cold end getting too hotPut a small fan on the hot end to cool the top.
Leaving printer extruder heated up for 20 minutes or more without extruding, the extruder jams.Insufficient length of thermal isolator or insufficient cooling of thermal isolator or cold end of extruder. Heat travels up the filament and may cause filament distortion above thermal isolator if cooling is insufficient.Lengthen thermal isolator or add a fan to thermal isolator or cold end of extruder and filament. Or limit extruder hot time and/or extrude 10mm every 10 minutes.http://creatorson.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/plugged-extruder-2/

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Bed Adherence

Insufficient

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Bed Adherence insufficient

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Prints do not adhere to build platform. Print head too high to push plastic against build platform Change height settings to no greater than nozzle diameter above bed, calibrate bottom stop, level build platform


Tall parts tend to detach before build is complete.Too low of contact area for the height or too low adhesion.Select to use a raft with a larger footprint to aid adhesion, or use skirt with zero offset to increase base area.http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,205398,205417#msg-205417

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Corner Lift

PTPG-BA-CL01.jpgPTPG-BA-CL02.jpgPTPG-BA-I03.jpg

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Outside corners lift from build surface as build progresses. Differential cooling of printed object. Select to print a perimeter skirt in Skeinforge or brim in slic3r with a substantial height. The tall skirt/brim acts like a shell which holds in the heat and reduces corner lift. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,136147,139393#msg-139393



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Excessive

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Bed Adherence Excessive

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Printed parts adhere to the print bed too aggressively. Shown ABS printed on heated PC (polycarbonate) sheet. Bed material selection needs to be compatible with material printed and temperature used. PLA on heated glass works well as a build surface, Blue painters tape unheated works well for PLA, ABS on heated bed with Kapton tape works well, ABS on heated bed with PET tape works well. See build forum for examples and suggestions. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/07/abs-on-pc.html
Printed parts adhere too aggressively. Shown ABS on heated glass took chip out of glass.ABS may adhere too aggressively on uncoated glass.Use Glue Stick, Kapton, or PET tape on glass for ABS. See build forum for examples and suggestions.http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,163015,163017#msg-163017

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Print Speed

Too Fast

Too Slow

Calibration

Circularity

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Non-circular Holes

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Holes come out compressed in one direction (X or Y). Loose drive train on the deformed axis. Inspect the discrepant axis drive train for excessive slack in belt, loose gears on shafts or gear play then tighten as appropriate. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,216117



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scale

Skipping Steps

See also http://reprap.org/wiki/Shifted_layers

Controller Overpowered

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Skipping Steps, Controller Overpowered

PTPG-SS-OP01a.jpgPTPG-SS-OP02.jpgPTPG-SS-OP03.jpg

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
printer head fails to keep its position and prints successive layers offset from lower layers. Frequently called skipping steps, joggle or offsetting. The problem with the red coin holder was caused by stepper controllers had their potentiometers (pots) adjusted too high (clockwise), causing overheating of stepper controller and causing a short controller reset to cool down (fraction of a second each time). This high setting may also produce hotter stepper motors. Reduce pot setting (current) by carefully turning pot counter-clockwise. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,190725



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Marlin Configuration.h

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Skipping Steps, Marlin Configured Incorrectly

SkippingStepAcceleration.jpg

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
First few layers of an object print malformed and squished Printer prints all layers, but there is little to no movement in the Z-axis with stepper noise similar to binding / angry bees on the first several layers. Exploration of the Gcode reveals large acceleration numbers, +1000, for all axis movements. Changing the acceleration in the Marlin Configuration.h file on lines 390, 391, 393 and 394 should correct the issue if it is truly an acceleration issue. Working values are in the Alt-Text of the image.



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Controller Underpowered

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Skipping Steps, Controller Underpowered

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
printer head fails to keep its position and prints successive layers offset from lower layers. Stepper controllers with their potentiometers (pots) adjusted too low (counter-clockwise), causing stepper to miss steps. This low setting may be indicated by cold or just about warm stepper motors or pot setting less than about mid-travel. There is a procedure for electrically measuring and calculating an optimum setting, but many choose the simpler tweaking method (until it works). Increase pot setting (current) by carefully turning pot clockwise.



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Mechanical

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Skipping Steps, Mechanical

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
printer head fails to keep its position and prints successive layers offset from lower layers; effects similar to over or underpowered motors (see above) Excessive friction in the x, y or z stages or slides. This may create a load too high for the rated torque of the stepper. Prior to adding stepper motors to the assembly preferably, or without motors energised move stages by hand to feel for excessive friction and/or look for indications of rubbing or binding. without steppers, the stages should slide with less than 100 grams of force.



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Endstop

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Skipping Steps, Signal induced in the endstop

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Shift layers due to random signals in the endstop This problem can result also from issues regarding the endstops. Specifically, when the endstop wires run next to the stepper wires, the signal from the stepper wires can be induced to the endstop wires. See Endstop#Endstop_Troubleshooting. The solution of twisting the wires may help but not always. For example, when the wires run in different canals of the same 2020 profile in a Kossel printer, careful twisting of the wires did not help. Even shielding the stepper wires with grounded conductive tape did not do the trick. This problem is well explained in link. Separate the stepper wires from the endstop wires. http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/21675/what-should-i-know-about-interference-between-wires-in-a-multi-conductor-cable



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Part Temperature

Too hot

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Part Temperature, too hot 01

PTPG-PT-TH01.jpgPTPG-PT-TH02.jpgPTPG-PT-TH03.jpg[[Image:Hot-times.jpeg|x220px|]]

Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Prints warp at height Part temperature builds up as part is built Change settings to turn off or down temp of heated build platform after base layers are complete. Ex: with heat on all through print and off upon print start (starting at full temp but cooling as it goes) (pic01).  ?



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Too cold

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Part Temperature, Too Cold 01

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Part warping and delamination as print progresses. Part cools too fast causing contration especially in ABS which has a higher glass transition temp of ~140C. Print perimeter surrounding skirt full height of part to keep the heat in. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,180091



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PRINT DEFECTS:

Surface Defects

Pitting/Holes

#Material Contamination

Small Single Filament
Large Area of Filament

Jagged/Waviness

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Jagged Edges

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Jagged edges in some locations adjacent to short edgefill segments. Harmonic frequencies may be overloading the rigidity of the mechanical system. Reduce frequency of moves by some means. Increasing the minimum length setting is a global way to reduce move induced vibration. Also reducing move speed or acceleration may reduce these issues. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html
Wavy perimeters in a single axisMechancial slop in the system, possibly loose screw or broken belt attachment point.Tighten screws or replace/glue parts as appropriate.

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Solidity of Surface

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Top Layers Not Solid

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Not all areas which are external surfaces have the same fully solid surfaces. Also related is the alternate condition of lumpy walls and ridges on the top surface. See bottom of rectangular well in pic. Skeinforge setting "Infill Interior Density over Exterior Density" ratio, which defaults to 0.9 may cause the lack of solidity and compensating with other settings may produce the latter effects. In Skeinforge set Infill Interior Density over Exterior Density to 1.0. (This setting has been removed in later versions of Skeinforge.[2]) http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/12/tip-top-top-layer-tip.html



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Strings

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Stringy Prints

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Prints have strings between the layers that extend from cavities across the entire print. The Z-Offset from the bed is too far away, causing the strings to form between steps due to poor adherence to the previous layer. Reduce the Z-offset by 0.5mm at a time. This can easily be done during a print from the Control -> Motion -> Z-Offset setting in the Marlin firmware. Use 0.5mm increments until strings stop forming.



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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
If you are not certain about having correctly calibrated your printer, verify that it is calibrated first as that is the first step. See Calibration. Verify you also calibrated your extruder. Then verify your extruder zero height (endstop position) above your print bed is appropriately set.



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Blobs

Fineness of Detail

Filaments not Touching

Infill Gaps
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Infill gaps to perimeter

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Infill gaps to perimeter occur on one side of the part. Excessive force required to pull filament from its bin or reel. Rework filament retrieval system to reduce friction or pull load to printer. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/07/bit-of-drag.html



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Infill gaps to perimeter 02

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Gaps occur between infill and perimeters especially on small details. Some slicing software is more prone to produce infill gaps to perimeters. If you have tried adjusting the settings available in your slicer without success and are tempted to change what should be constant parameters (like nozzle diameter etc...), you may want to try another slicing program to see if the problem is slicer dependant. There are many slicing programs available. http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?262,237444



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Body Defects

Hole Size

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Holes Undersized

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Holes defined in solid model print smaller in diameter than modeled. Several factors are likely adding up to the result and include faceting error, segment pausing, arc shrinkage and corner cutting. It has been demonstrated that the maximum number of vertices you can have before the hole shrinks is twice the hole size in mm. In other words, a larger # polygon circle defining a hole does not necessarily make for a more precise hole when printed. For 1mm and under it is suggested to use 3 sides (triangle). http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html



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Bridging Failure

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Degenerating Bridging

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
The ability to bridge well is deteriorating over time. Nozzle walls can build up deposits which cause additional restriction within the nozzle after months of use. To verify this is the cause, measure the extruded filament diameter and verify that it is smaller than originally measured during calibration. Due to die swell, extruded filament diameter is usually not identical to nozzle hole diameter. With the nozzle heated up carefully ream out nozzle orifice with original size drill bit. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/11/monthly-maintenance.html



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Warping

#Part Temperature

Stepping/Offsetting

#Skipping Steps, Controller Overpowered

Interlayer Delamination

#Part Temperature

Failure at Height

#Part Temperature

Overall Disaster

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Computer Freeze

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
While printing from a computer any type of computer freeze up or communication failure may cause 3D printer damage or worse- a fire. Although I have only heard of one 3D printer catching on fire, with the electricity and heat there is a hazardous potential. Computer system automatic updates. Set automatic updates to off. The above picture had automatic updates turned off, but Microsoft overrode that and installed them anyway. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/08/friday-13th.html



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Machine Heat Effects

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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
Overheating the machine itself can cause damage to RP (plastic) parts. Heat radiation and convection caused x-stage damage over months of heavy use. Heat shield and or fan cooling off stage. http://hydraraptor.blogspot.com/2010/07/meltdown.html



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Problem Common Cause Correction Forum Link
If you are not certain about having correctly calibrated your printer, verify that your printer X, Y & Z axes are calibrated first as that is the first step. See Calibration. Verify also that your extruder is calibrated. Then verify your extruder zero height (endstop position) above your print bed is appropriately set.



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