5 Ways How to Fix 3D Printer That Starts Too High


You’ve loaded up your 3D printing model, preheated your 3D printer, and started the print. Unfortunately, your 3D printer is printing in mid-air for some reason.

To fix a 3D printer that starts too high, you should look towards your Z-offset in your G-Code and check that it isn’t bringing your Z-axis too high without you knowing. You can change your Z-offset by directly changing the G-Code within software like Pronterface or OctoPrint or from your slicer.

This can happen to you for a number of reasons which will be simply explained in this article. I’ve had the problem and fixed it successfully, so keep reading to solve this once and for all.

Why is My 3D Printer Printing in Mid Air?

While using 3D printers, there may come some malfunctions that can cause problems and even can ruin your prints, wasting your all efforts.

You may have faced the problem when you set a height for the nozzle to move and print but when you start the printing process you may notice that the 3D prints start too high.

Printing on the right height is necessary because if the nozzle is too high the prints will not stick to the bed properly and may cause printing failures such as rough edges or lifted layers.

Well, this problem doesn’t often happen but there are some reasons that contribute to the occurrence of this issue.

It is not a difficult job to avoid this issue because there are plenty of solutions, but to get the job done perfectly you should have to know about the actual reasons that are causing the problem.

The major reasons behind this problem to occur include the following.

  • Z Offset too High
  • Bad First Layer Settings
  • Print Bed is Not Calibrated Accurately
  • Wrong Octoprint G Codes
  • Print Requires Support

How to Fix a 3D Printer That Starts Too High?

As you know that there is not a single problem in 3D printers that cannot be solved. You can get rid of any problem after you have found out the basic reason or cause behind it.

There are many solutions suggested by the 3D printing experts and manufacturers to get rid of the 3D printer printing in mid-air problem efficiently without any hassle.

Whenever you notice that the 3D printer nozzle is too high, it is recommended to stop your printing process immediately and first try to fix the problem to prevent your prints from damages.

If you set a different print height but still see that the 3D printer first layer is too high then you should consider implementing one of the following solutions.

Here we will discuss the simplest and easiest techniques and ways to solve the problem and enjoy a perfect printing experience.

1. Check Your Cura G-Code & Settings for Z-Offset

Most people who experience their 3D printer printing in mid-air or starting too high usually fix it by altering their G-Code and settings to stop the print head from moving up more than necessary.

This isn’t a too well-known method so it confuses many people, but once you know how it works, you see how simple it really is.

3D Printer Printing in Mid-Air - Cura G-Code - 3D Printerly

In Cura, go to Settings > Manage Printers > Highlight your 3D printer > Machine Settings. This will bring up your starting G-Code within your sliced file. I would examine this code and check what is happening with the Z axis.

The following is what is shown in my G-Code:

; Ender 3 Custom Start G-code

G92 E0 ; Reset Extruder

G28 ; Home all axes

G1 Z2.0 F3000 ; Move Z Axis up little to prevent scratching of Heat Bed

G1 X0.1 Y20 Z0.3 F5000.0 ; Move to start position

G1 X0.1 Y200.0 Z0.3 F1500.0 E15 ; Draw the first line

G1 X0.4 Y200.0 Z0.3 F5000.0 ; Move to side a little

G1 X0.4 Y20 Z0.3 F1500.0 E30 ; Draw the second line

G92 E0 ; Reset Extruder

G1 Z2.0 F3000 ; Move Z Axis up little to prevent scratching of Heat Bed

G1 X5 Y20 Z0.3 F5000.0 ; Move over to prevent blob squish

G1 simply refers to a linear move, then the corresponding Z after G1 means to move the Z axis that number of millimeters. G28 is the home position.

  • Check over your G-Code settings and make sure that Z movement isn’t out of the ordinary
  • If you see the Z movement is a little too large, you can alter it and run a test print.
  • Make sure not to do it too low so your nozzle doesn’t scrape into your build surface.
  • Reset your settings back to default or to a custom profile that is known to work well.
  • You can also adjust the Z offset by inputting it directly into the slicer.

2. Check for the First Layer Prints Settings

Sometimes the first layer height can also cause problems. With the change in the Z offset it is recommended to check for the first layer printing settings as well.

The first layer of the print is the most important factor of any 3D print and if it doesn’t adhere well, the print may not stick to the bed and can cause many problems.

Make sure that the first layer is not set to 0.5mm greater because the printer will have to print high to get the first layer done and this can cause problems.

  • Try to have a first layer around 0.2mm high
  • Experts suggest that the first layer should be set as an “even” value and not something “odd”.

3. Level the Print Bed

An unbalanced print bed can cause printing problem more than any other part of the 3D printer because all your prints are created directly on it.

If the print bed is not leveled correctly, there are possibilities that you face the problem of your 3D printer printing too high.

It is recommended to get a 3D printer that has an advanced auto-leveling system installed so it can account for the level differences in your print bed. It senses the position of the nozzle in comparison to the bed and adjusts accordingly.

If you don’t have the automatic bed-leveling system, you can still do a few things:

  • Check the settings and make sure that the print bed is leveled properly.
  • When you are sure about the level of the print bed then set the nozzle height accordingly.
  • If the unbalanced print bed is the real cause behind the problem then leveling it can help you out.
  • Check whether your print bed is warped, and if it is, replace it.

4. OctoPrint Settings and G Codes

OctoPrint is a software application that is well known for providing ease to the users of 3D printers.

This application provides its user with a web interface where you can input your G-Codes to control almost all the functioning of your 3D printer.

From setting heat temperature to leveling the bed, all the functions can be done just by adding G Codes in the OctoPrint application.

Sometimes even if you are using OctoPrint, there comes a problem that the OctoPrint nozzle is too high and is printing the first layer which is not sticking to the bed properly.

This can happen because of putting the wrong commands to the application.

  • The first thing you should do is to make sure that you have input the right G Codes to complete a print.
  • If the OctoPrint nozzle is too high, input the G Codes as “G0 Z0” to set the Z offset to “0”.
  • If you are unsure about the G Codes you can get built-in codes for your required object
  • G28 is a command for the print head to return to the ‘zero position’ or printer’s reference position.
  • Then implement G1 Z0.2 which is a linear move for the Z axis to move up to 0.2mm to start that first layer.

5. Add Supports to Your 3D Prints

Sometimes, you see your 3D printer printing in mid-air and just creating a mess. This can be down to your model having sections which require supports, so if you don’t have supports, those sections won’t print successfully.

  • Enable ‘Supports’ in your slicer

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