Grinding noises in 3D printers can happen which gets pretty frustrating, but there are different reasons why it may happen. This article will take you through some methods to fix this grinding noise in your 3D printer.
To fix the grinding noise in your 3D printer you can upgrade your stepper drivers to improve the movements of your axes. Putting your 3D printer on a stable surface helps reduce noises significantly, as well as tightening up loose belts and screws. Adjusting your eccentric nuts can help as well.
This is the basic answer but keep on reading for more information.
Why Do 3D Printers Make Grinding Noises?
3D printers can make grinding noises for many reasons:
- Older or outdated stepper drivers
- Printing on an unstable surface
- Wires are loose or bent
- Hotend fan and cover issues
- Badly adjusted bed
- Extruder issues
- Low printing temperature
- Bad BLTouch pin
- Limit switches not being hit
It’s a good idea to first figure out what is causing your 3D printer to make grinding noises before applying the fixes, so you can narrow it down rather than doing too many things.
How to Fix 3D Printer Grinding Noises
There are quite a few ways to fix the 3D printer grinding noise. As the noise generates from different cause, you can fix the grinding noise in your 3D printer by following these provided solutions.
- Upgrade the Stepper Drivers
- Place Your 3D Printer on a Stable Surface
- Secure Loose or Bent Wires
- Fixing the Hot End Fan & Cover
- Tighten Up Loose Belts
- Adjust Rollers or POM Wheels
- Turn On or Increase Z-Hop When Retracted
- Fix Extruder Issues
- Increase Your Printing Temperature
- Replace the BLTouch Pin
- Make Sure the Limit Switches Are Hit
Look at these in more detail.
1. Upgrade the Stepper Drivers
One thing that you can do to fix grinding noises in 3D printers is to upgrade your stepper drivers. The stepper drivers are what controls the movement of the axis and extruder on your 3D printer. They go through a lot of demand during the printing process, which can cause a grinding issue.
What you can do is upgrade your stepper drivers to something like the TMC2208 Stepper Motor Driver from Amazon. These are known to be high quality and produces little to no noise while operating smoothly when your voltage is properly adjusted.
One user who previously used the older a4988s driver purchased this TMC2208 Stepper Motor Driver used a Teaching Tech installation guide to get it working. He says he’s so much happier because his 3D printer is a lot quieter and even prints faster with better quality.
The previous steppers would miss steps resulting in print imperfections. Here’s the Teaching Tech video that was used.
2. Place Your 3D Printer on a Stable Surface
Another way to fix a grinding noise on a 3D printer is to put something stable underneath it or place it on a stable surface. Surfaces that don’t have a lot of stability such as a cart or flimsy table can amplify sounds on a 3D printer.
A few people have fixed grinding noises in their 3D printer by placing it on surfaces such as:
- Rubber mat
- Concrete base
- Sorbothane feet
Some people even recommend placing your 3D printer on the floor depending on what surface you have to dampen sounds.
I’d recommend going with something like the Anti-Vibration Rubber Feet from Amazon. Many users who purchased this said that it worked really well for their 3D printers.
One user who heard loud, unpleasant noises from their 3D printer installed these and confirmed that it works to reduce vibrations and noise and is durable.
Modern 3D printers have started to install rubber pads or feet at the bottom of them to improve the vibration reduction also.
3. Secure Loose or Bent Wires
One user who was experiencing a grinding and scratching noise on their 3D printer figured out that it was actually happening due to the cables near the hotend not being secured and being affected by the fans.
They fixed this noise by applying a zip tie closer to the hotend which stopped the wires bending and making the fans create that grinding noise.
4. Fixing the Hot End Fan & Cover
Another thing that can cause grinding noises is actually from the hotend fan itself. One example is from one user who found out that the grinding noise came from a broken hotend cover screw affecting the fan.
A separate issue could be that the hotend fan is actually colliding with the housing or the bearings of the fan have failed.
The simple solution here would be to either try to check out the hotend fan housing and screws then try to do a basic fix, or to replace the old fan and hotend cover.
It’s a good idea to tighten up any loose screws that might be on the hotend fan as well.
You can find a decent fan like the Creality Ender 3 Original 4010 Fans from Amazon. It’s a 24V fan that works well for effectively cooling your model during the printing process.
You might also just be experiencing too much dust on the blades which can spin on the bearings, so you can disassemble the fan and clean the dust.
5. Tighten Up Loose Belts
Some users did mention that a loose belt could be causing the grinding noises, so it’s a good idea to check that your belts aren’t loose. The belts are what help movements in the X & Y axis so if they aren’t tensioned properly, it could cause movement issues.
If you don’t have belt tensioners that can easily be adjusted by twisting a tensioning knob, you want to learn how to properly adjust it through the manual technique.
Check out the video below to see how it’s done.
6. Adjust Rollers or POM Wheels with the Eccentric Nuts
The POM wheels or rollers also contribute to movements in your 3D printer. If these aren’t adjusted properly, it could cause a grinding noise in your 3D printer.
Try moving your bed freely by hand across the X & Y axis to see how smoothly it moves. You might need to adjust the eccentric nuts on your 3D printer to improve how well each axis moves.
The video below shows you how to adjust the eccentric nut to fix wobbles that could cause a grinding noise.
One user ended up raised the level of their bed and fixed their grinding noise issue
The grinding noise is also caused by a wobbled bed that allows one side of the bed to be higher than the other. This occurs when the Y axis wheels are tight on one side and loose on the other, causing the bed to catch the Y motor and produce the grinding sound.
7. Turn On or Increase Z-Hop When Retracted
Another potential reason for a grinding noise in 3D printers is down to your nozzle rubbing against the infill during a travel move. You can fix this issue by turning on your Z-hop in your slicer or increasing the level of Z-hop.
This basically raises up your nozzle during travel moves to avoid hitting your 3D print.
8. Fix Extruder Issues
The extruder might be the cause of this grinding noise, stemming from a build up of pressure in the extruder, especially when printing at higher speeds. It could also be caused from your motor being too hot and making your extruder skip.
A filament pathway that isn’t smooth can cause the extruder to work harder and make the motor too hot. Another thing to keep in mind is what your stepper driver current is.
This determines how powerfully your stepper motors operate, so having the current too high can cause movement issues which can contribute to a grinding noise.
Here’s a great video showing you how to adjust stepper motor currents on a 3D printer.
One user found that the noises coming from the extruder happened due to their extruder being cracked, which happens to a lot of plastic extruders. He recommended to get yourself a Creality Aluminum Extruder from Amazon.
After purchasing the metal extruder, a user confirmed that the Bowden extruder was a perfect upgrade for the original plastic extruder after experiencing a crack. The installation was swift and it eliminated their filament guide problems.
If the grinding noise is generated from the extruder having too much pressure, you can try reducing your retraction speed to around 30-35mm/s
9. Increase Your Printing Temperature
A grinding noise could simply be from your filament not being sufficiently heated, meaning there is more resistance while trying to extrude this filament. One user fixed their grinding noises by increasing their printing temperature by 5°C.
If issues still occur, you can increase it by more, or you might have a partial clog that needs to be cleared out. To clear this out, you can increase the hotend temperature to a higher than usual temperature, and use a nozzle cleaning needle to push the clog out.
10. Replace the BLTouch Pin
Your printer may make a grinding noise if a BLTouch pin is broken or bent.
One YouTuber by the name of Janis Henderson explained how her printer makes a grinding noise and no longer works. She directed her complaint at the BLTouch pin, which refused to extend.
If you encounter such a problem, the BLTouch pin can be easily repaired by following the steps below:
- Remove the grub screw on the top of the BLTouch sensor
- Extract the broken pin out
- Replace the broken pin with a new pin into the sensor
- Screw the grub screw back to the top of the BLTouch sensor
You can get this 5 Pcs BLTouch Probe Pin Replacement from Amazon.
Check out the video below to see the issue in action.
11. Make Sure the Limit Switches Are Hit
You might experience a grinding noise when trying to auto home your 3D printer. The cause of this could be that your limit switch is not being hit, which means your 3D printer will continue moving in the direction even though it’s at the end of the axis.
To fix this issue, you want to disable your steppers through your 3D printer’s control screen, then manually move the 3D printer to the limit switch. If it doesn’t hit the limit switch, you want to figure out what’s in the way and fix it.
One user found that extending the limit switch with some plastic tape worked well to fix their issue, so the 3D printer could touch the limit switch. Another user said they attached a bobby pin on the limit switch, then attached tape over it to secure it in place.
You can see it being done in the video below.
In a different experience, another problem that could hinder the 3D printer auto home is when the plastic housing covering the Y motor is slightly raised, where one of the corners is higher than the other or the Z limit switch stopper is incorrectly fixed.
One user found that their Y motor’s plastic housing was manufactured incorrectly, being raised slightly on one of the corners. They ended up removing it, sanding it down with a belt sander and it fixed their issue on an Ender 3 V2 machine.
Try out the fixes above, and your problems should be solved.
Good luck and happy printing!