Retraction is a critical process in 3D printing that allows the printer to pull the filament back when it’s not extruding, preventing stringing and other printing issues. However, it’s common for 3D printers to encounter problems with retracting, causing problems with print quality.
To fix a 3D printer not retracting, make sure your retraction is enabled by checking the box beside the “Enable Retraction” setting in Cura or your slicer. You can also increase your Maximum Retraction Count, which has worked for some users, or decrease the Retraction Minimum Travel setting.
That’s why I wrote this article, to teach you how to fix a 3D printer not retracting.
How to Fix 3D Printer Not Retracting
Here’s how to fix 3D printing not retracting:
- Enable retraction
- Increase Maximum Retraction Count
- Change G-Code flavor from Volumetrics
- Lower Retraction Minimum Travel
- Turn off Combing
- Increase Retraction Distance
The first step to fix a 3D printer not retracting is to ensure that retraction is enabled. This setting enables the printer to perform the necessary retraction movements. Without this setting, you won’t be able to adjust any other retraction settings.
Enabling retraction can help improve the quality of your prints, as you can tweak the settings to achieve better results. While retraction is typically enabled by default in Cura, it’s important to ensure that this setting is enabled before fixing any issues related to retraction.
Here are the steps to enable retraction in Cura:
- Open Cura and go to the “Travel” tab
- Check that “Retraction” is enabled
- Save your settings and slice your model to see if the retraction is working properly
Increase Maximum Retraction Count
To fix 3D printers not retracting, increasing the Maximum Retraction Count is another solution to consider. The Maximum Retraction Count refers to the number of times the 3D printer will retract within the distance set by the maximum extrusion distance window.
By default, this count is around 100 for most printers and a 10mm distance, allowing the printer to retract 100 times within 10mm of extruded filament.
However, if the maximum retraction count is too low, the printer may not retract after it has retracted many times. To address this issue, some users have reported success in increasing the Maximum Retraction Count.
One user tried increasing the count to 10 but found the resulting print too stringy. He then increased it to 25 and found it to work better.
Another user noted that the default value of 100 sometimes broke his filament, although this may have been due to a separate issue of filament moisture absorption.
To change the Maximum Retraction Count, follow these steps:
- Open Cura and navigate to the settings.
- Use the search box to find the “Maximum Retraction Count” setting.
- Once you’ve found the setting, input your preferred count.
Increasing the Maximum Retraction Count can improve the quality of your 3D prints by reducing stringing and other related issues.
Change G-Code Flavor from Volumetrics
A third method to fix 3D printers not retracting is to change the G-Code flavor from Volumetrics to Marlin.
By default, some slicer software uses Volumetrics, which can cause issues with retracting. This is because Volumetric G-code uses volumetric extrusion instead of linear extrusion, which can lead to under-extrusion or over-extrusion, causing stringing and other issues.
One user changed the G-code flavor to Marlin and used the following Cura settings: Retraction Distance of 8mm, retraction speed of 40mm/s, combing turned off, and Z hop set to 1mm. This fixed their Ender 3 printer not retracting.
Here are the steps to change the G-Code flavor from Volumetrics to Marlin:
- Open the settings bar
- Click on “Printer” and then select “Manage Printers”
- Next, select “Machine Settings”
- In this section, you will see the G-code flavor. In the dropdown box, select Marlin
- Once you have made your changes, save the new G-code flavor and exit
Check out the video below which shows you how to access Cura g-code settings to change the flavor to Marlin.
Lower Retraction Minimum Travel
Lowering the Retraction Minimum Travel is another effective method to fix 3D printers not retracting.
This setting is used to control when the printer’s extruder retracts the filament during travel moves, and it specifies the minimum distance the extruder needs to travel before retracting the filament.
When the retraction minimum travel is set low, the extruder will retract the filament more frequently during travel moves, even for short distances, which can prevent stringing and oozing between printed parts.
However, excessive retraction can cause under-extrusion and clogging, requiring the extruder to retract and re-feed the filament constantly. One user on Reddit reported that lowering the Minimum Retraction Travel was their preferred fix for a 3D printer not retracting.
The default setting on Cura is 1.5mm for the Ender 3, but users stated that it is a good idea to start with a low Retraction Minimum Travel and gradually increase it until you find the optimal setting for your particular print.
Adjusting other parameters such as print speed, temperature, and retraction distance can also help you achieve the best print quality.
Here are the steps to adjust the retraction minimum travel setting:
- Open Cura and go to the settings menu
- Use the search function to find the “Retraction Minimum Travel” setting
- Adjust the setting to your desired value
Check out the video below to help you adjust your travel speed.
Turn Off Combing
Another fix for a 3D printer not retracting is disabling or turning off combing.
Combing is a feature in most slicer software that controls how the printer moves between different parts of the print. If Combing is set too high, it can cause stringing and prevent the printer from retracting properly.
The Combing setting on Cura is enabled by default, and it stops the printer from retracting if the travel is contained within the walls. Users on Reddit and other platforms reported fixing 3D printers not retracting issues by disabling or turning off Combing.
To turn off combing in Cura:
- Click on the “Preferences” drop-down menu and select “Configure Cura”
- In the “Configure Cura” window, click on the “Settings” tab
- In the search bar, type “Combing” and select “Combing Mode” from the results
- Make sure the “Combing Mode” box is unchecked
Remember that turning off combing completely can cause other issues, such as increased travel times and potential defects on the print’s surface. So, it’s essential to find the optimal setting that works for your specific printer.
Increase Retraction Distance
To fix 3D printers not retracting, increasing the Retraction Distance is another potential solution.
The Retraction Distance refers to the distance the printer’s extruder pulls back the filament between printed sections or moves. If the Retraction Distance is set too low, the printer may not retract the filament enough. Cura’s default retraction distance is 5mm for the Ender 3.
For some 3D printers, the Retraction Distance is less, and in one case, a user shared that increasing the Retraction Distance to 3mm helped to fix their printer’s retracting issues.
You can adjust the retraction distance in Cura by following these steps:
- Open Cura and navigate to the settings
- Use the search box to find the “Retraction Distance” setting
- Once you’ve found the setting, input your preferred retraction distance
Sometimes calibrating your Retraction Speed can help here as well if your 3D printer isn’t retracting. A speed that is too low might cause your 3D printer not to retract properly.
After trying out these fixes, you should be able to solve the problem of your 3D printer not retracting.