5 Ways How to Reduce 3D Printer Vibrations – Better Quality
Vibrations in your 3D printer is something you want to avoid since it reduces the quality and appearance of your prints. So, I decided to write an article showing people how to fix this problem.
To reduce vibrations during printing, you need to reduce your printing speeds, jerk, and acceleration settings. Also, ensure that there are no loose screws on the 3D printer and the belts are not loose. Another efficient fix is to place the printer on a stable surface with vibration dampening parts.
Keep reading to learn the details of these solutions and other important information that will help you fix vibrations from your 3D printer.
How to Reduce 3D Printer Vibrations – Anti Vibration
Vibrations during printing is an unpleasant event that can reduce your print quality. These vibrations cause ghosting, also known as ringing, echoing, or rippling. Once you observe ripple-like effects on your prints, you want to find a way to fix it.
Here’s how to reduce 3D printer vibrations:
- Place your 3D printer on a stable surface
- Use of foam pads or rubber feet
- Reduce print speed, acceleration, and jerk
- Tighten up loose parts like screws & belts
- Check for broken stepper driver & replace
1. Place your 3D Printer on a Stable Surface
One way to reduce vibrations in 3D printers is to place them on a stable surface. When your table is wobbly or shaky it causes/amplifies vibrations in the 3D printer as the belts or hotbed moves during printing. Having a stable base for printing is the first step to reducing vibrations from your printer.
Here is a video from MakeWithTech on how a stable surface affects printing.
2. Use of Foam Pads or Rubber Feet
Another way to reduce vibrations from your 3D printer is to place them on foam pads or rubber feet. These materials are placed under your 3D printer to absorb/dampen vibrations from the 3D printer.
The rubber pads help to create a separation between the printer and the table. This reduces the surface area that is connected directly to the printer which can be used to amplify the vibrations. This is similar to when you place a music box on a table, you observe that the sound generated is much higher than when you take it off the table.
Nowadays most printers have them installed but if you have an older model or they’ve fallen off, you need to have them re-installed. Other cheap alternatives to rubber feet or foam pads include styrofoam, concrete pavers, 3D printed feet, and so on.
These materials could also be in combination with other damping materials, for example, a concrete paver on soft foam. This is to ensure better dampening for your 3D printer.
It is often advised you avoid using foam and styrofoam alone. This is because they quickly undergo deformation which renders them ineffective.
One user recommended getting some DiversiTech Anti-Vibration Pads from Amazon. They have worked pretty well to reduce vibration and noise for a few 3D printer users. They mention that it absorbs the shaking motions from the 3D printer and stops the surface from moving as much.
Another user said it stopped his 3D printer from vibrating through the table.
Another user 3D printed this Vibration damper model from Thingiverse and placed them under his Prusa i3 MK2 and his printer was much quieter afterward.
Also, this user recommended dampening the stepper motors instead of the actual printer with this Steel & Rubber Stepper Motor Vibration Damper from Amazon. He stated that he had installed this damper on several printers that had room on their motors.
He claimed that after installation, he observed a reduction in noise and vibrations from the printer. But there was no improvement or reduction in the print quality contrary to what the sellers claimed.
Check out this video from CNC Kitchen as he compares various kinds of vibration-damping techniques for 3D printers.
3. Reducing Print Speed, Acceleration, and Jerk
Another way to reduce vibrations is to reduce print speed, acceleration, and jerk settings. At high print speeds, your printhead will move faster, causing vibrations in the printer as the printhead moves.
Also, when the acceleration of the printer is high, it makes for quicker direction changes, which also generate vibrations as the printhead begins moving or comes to a halt.
The jerk setting also works in tandem with the acceleration settings. The jerk setting measures the speed at which your print head moves from its still position. The higher the setting, the faster it will move off from a stable position, the lower the setting, the slower it will move off from a stable position.
It can also be known as the minimum speed your print head will slow down before initiating speed in a different direction. Think of it like a car driving straight, then slowing down before a turn.
If jerk is high, your print head won’t slow down as much before making the directional change. As a result, the vibrations on the printhead will be much higher.
Here is a video from The 3D Print General on how speed, acceleration, and jerk settings affect vibrations in your 3D printer.
4. Tighten up Loose Parts like Screws & Belts
Another way to reduce vibrations is to tighten loose parts like screws and Belts of your 3D printer. This is because as the printer continues to function, it vibrates constantly, which can start to loosen up parts, especially screws.
Here’s one example of a user that found a loose screw on one of his belts. It was one of the set screws that holds the pulley to the X axis.
Make sure to check your screws and belts every few months to avoid vibration issues.
5. Check for Broken Stepper Driver & Replace
You can also reduce vibrations from your 3D printer by replacing broken or faulty stepper drivers. They are designed to last quite a long time, but in some cases, you might have a faulty stepper motor that doesn’t last too long. This is quite rare, but still possible.
One user had vibration issues on his 3D printer. He observed that the extruder and hotbed moved nice and smooth when moving by hand but during printing, they vibrate which eventually caused bad prints. He changed the bearings, tuned the motor voltage, tightened all screws, and tried all other fixes, all to no avail.
Eventually, he discovered it was a broken stepper driver. He replaced it with a new one and the vibration and noise from the 3D printer were reduced significantly.`
Best Surface to Put a 3D Printer on
The best surface to place your 3D printer on is one that is flat and very stable so that it can support the weight of the printer during printing. Try to avoid placing the printer on a surface that can be affected by vibrations. For example, the floor can be affected by vibrations due to footsteps.
Another factor to consider is to ensure that the surface is free of dirt, debris, or any form of contaminants.
Some of the best surfaces to put your 3D printer on include the following:
- A large sturdy wooden table
- A metallic surface like aluminum or steel
- A sheet of glass
- A solid wood platform
- A wooden dresser
Since 3D printers give off a lot of vibrations, you will want to ensure that your printer has some form of dampener attached to them. This is to help reduce the effect of the vibrations on the print, especially if your desk setup is wobbly.
One user stated that he has two of his printers placed on IKEA LACK Tables which also serve as good enclosures. He stated that the LACK tables amplify the sounds from the 3D printers, but with rubber feet and an enclosure, it ends up much quieter.
Another user got a 36 x 48 inch stainless steel prep table for $120 from the restaurant supply place. He stated that the table was stable and big enough to hold all his filaments while being able to absorb any vibrations from the printer. He recommended the table to anyone who would be willing to spare the extra cash.
Many other users just placed their printer on a flat desk or bench with foam pads to absorb vibrations. One user stated that he built a level and rock solid 3×4 foot bench and added a dense 1-inch foam sheet to absorb vibrations.