How to Fix 3D Prints That Have Vertical Lines/Banding


After finishing a fairly long 3D print, you might notice that there are strange vertical lines or banding on your models. This isn’t a usual effect with 3D printing, and it means there is some underlying problem that is creating these vertical lines on the side of your print. Luckily, there are a few simple fixes to solve this.

One of the common fixes to 3D prints with vertical lines is to check your printer’s belts are running smoothly and not catching on anything. Tighten up your belts to see if that fixes things. It can be a stepper motor problem, so change your stock stepper motor to one with more monotonic stepping behavior.

This is the basic answer, but there is a little more detail about it, which I’ll describe in the rest of this article. Keep reading to find out why this is happening and how to fix 3D prints that have vertical lines properly.

Why Do Your 3D Prints Have Vertical Lines or Banding?

You would have noticed that all of a sudden, your 3D printer has started showing straight lines or waves or even Z lines in 3D print.

This results because of many reasons, and some of them are too obvious. I am listing all the reasons which could be the cause of the appearance of vertical lines on your print. So, keep on reading!

Over-Extrusion

This does not mean that it is some major over-extrusion problem, it could be as simple as a simple extra plastic getting pushed out of nozzle during the printing process, which is causing the visible vertical lines on the 3D print.

Temperature Fluctuations

There are two things that you must know about the temperature tools attached to the 3D printer.

One is a thermistor that reads the temperature of the jot end, and the other is a PID controller that allows you to control the temperature that you want to set.

Now, coming to the issue, if you see a difference in the temperature reading, if it is fluctuating more than 5 degrees Celsius, then the problem starts appearing, and you will see Z lines, vertical lines, or even waves on the 3D print.

High Flow Rate

It tells you how much the filament is coming out of the nozzle for the printing purpose, and you have to fix it by adjusting the height of the nozzle for each layer.

If the flow rate is too high, then you will see vertical lines on the 3D print, while on the other hand, if it is too slow, you will witness holes.

Printing at High Speed

Now, if you move your extruder in a faster way or too quickly, it might slide, or it will deposit and excess filament on the sides of your print walls. You will find such verticals and wavy lines on the curved surfaces of the 3D printer or the flat edges of the print.

High Jerk & Acceleration Settings

Along with speed, Jerk & Acceleration settings make a difference in the movements of your print head, which if too sudden, can cause vertical lines in your prints.

They translate to the speed at which your print head starts its initial movement and how fast it gather speed on longer movements. These settings are less likely to affect you on smaller prints.

Mechanical Problems

You might have heard about the Z-banding; it occurs when there are horizontal lines seen on the 3D print surface.

One of the most basic causes is the dis-alignment of the belt and wheel, and if at any point they get unaligned, they will start displaying the Z-branding on the 3D print surface.

Another cause could be the wearing out of the rode over time, which the 3D printer is using to move along an axis.

Unstable Print Surface

If the printer is not placed on a smooth surface, then you might witness it is moving during the printing process because of the pumping action of the motor. This could become the reason for the display of vertical lines on the 3D print surface or ripples on a straight wall.

How to Fix 3D Print Walls That Have Vertical Lines/Artifacts?

The vertical lines appearing on the surface of the 3D print walls due to over extrusion can be fixed if you adjust the temperature of the extruder.

Make sure there is no drastic change in the temperature, slowly get the temperature high or low, because if you get the temperature high too quickly, the plastic in the extruder melts fast and because part of the printing layer, causing the lines to show up.

Re-calibrate the PID controller by using the guide book or any video from YouTube, but if you failed to get hands-on anything, then you need to get your circuit board checked.

Find out the optimal extrusion multiplier, which will tell you the flow rate of your extrusion by using a calibration cube that you can attach to the nozzle and get your print. If the lines appear, that means then your extruder is on a high-flow rate.

Try to adjust the printing speed according to the recommendations given by your printer. You can match the speed with the recommended, whether it is slow or fast.

It’s a good idea to reduce the Acceleration & Jerk settings gradually and see whether it makes a difference in the vertical lines.

You must keep the belt nice and tight if you don’t want it to get loosened up and start displaying visible vertical lines or Z-branding on the surface.

It would be best if you placed your 3D printer on a stable and balanced surface to avoid any vertical lines that could disrupt your whole printed product. You can use clips for your printing bed to keep it on a place in a stable form.

However, even after the clips, you feel vibrations, then get some rubber pads for the feet of the printer to avoid any up down vibration, which can make the vertical lines or waves appear.

Be careful while cleaning your nozzle because you might scrape it off due to hard brushing, and you should keep it at a height from the printing bed as it might scrape off due to friction and result in making vertical lines or ripples on a straight wall.

Fixing Vertical Lines on Ender 3

You might have seen vertical lines on the 3D print surface while using an Ender 3, which ruins the whole printed product. Z-banding is the most common problem that arises with the Ender 3 printers.

Fixing the Wheels

You can fix these issues by adjusting the eccentric wheels to keep the 3D printer in a fixed position.

Smooth Entry of Filament

You can also ensure that the entry of the filament in the extruder is smooth. For this, you can use a filament path guide with a ball bearing for its smooth entry.

Fixing the lead Screw

Moreover, I would like you to ensure that the lead screw is at the correct distance in both direction x and y and also to the z-beam.

X-Axis Check

You should also check the X gantry, and to measure it, you can bring the x-axis close to the top to measure each side of the axis rod, and if it shows a difference of even 2mm, you should fix it for lines-less 3D printing.

Adjustment of Belts

You can loosen up the belts to get your y-axis aligned with the x-axis to get rid of visible vertical lines.

Fixing the Under-Extrusion Issue

You should also check your Z-axis because if it is undergoing under-extrusion, it can result in inconsistent movement of the extruder, which can cause vertical or wavy lines on the surface of the 3D print.

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