One common problem you may experience when 3D printing is your object printing bad on one side, this is a common issue and has a few different ways to solve it, so I decided to write this article on ways to fix 3D prints bad on one side.
Keep reading to find out more information about it.
How to Fix 3D Prints Bad on One Side
These are the main ways to fix 3D prints bad on one side:
- Check for Cooling Issues
- Change Retraction Distance & Speed
- Turn Off Acceleration & Jerk Setting
- Tighten the Belt Tension
- Set Z Seam Alignment to Random
Check for Cooling Issues
The first step to fix 3D prints bad on one side is to check for any kind of cooling issues as it is the most common cause for this type of problem.
To find out if you have any cooling issues try printing the same object in a different orientation, if the problem area changes side on the print then almost certainly you’re experiencing some kind of cooling issue.
Many users recommend 3D printing a fan air duct to spread the air from your existing fan more evenly, like this Satsana Fan Duct from Thingiverse.
This issue may be even more common if you are printing with high temperature filaments, such as ABS.
One user was having a lot of problems on only one side of his print and found out it was indeed a cooling issue and started seeing better results just by moving his printer to a colder environment.
Another user tested this issue by turning off the cooling fan completely and found that the side no longer looked rough. This means it was likely due to the cooling fan blowing too much air to the part.
He could either get a new fan duct, a new fan, or turn down the cooling fan speed within his slicer.
More users have commented about having their 3D prints look bad on one side, so this is the first thing I would look into.
Check out the video below on more information on how to install a better cooling system on your Ender 3.
Change Retraction Distance & Speed
Another way to fix 3D prints being bad on one side is to lower your retraction distance and possibly the speed as well.
If your retraction distance is too high it can cause under extrusion when printing from one side to the other, causing problems on only one of them, and if your retraction speed is too fast it may not have a reliable extrusion flow and it will cause problems on either side of the print.
Ender 3 users recommend printing with a retraction distance of 5mm for a retraction speed of 40mm/s to ensure better retraction settings for your 3D prints.
One user who experienced this issue found that his retraction distance was set to 10mm for some reason, so lowering his retraction distance in this case fixed the issue.
Another user was having problems only in the corner of his 3D printed object, when printing PLA out of his Raise 3D N2, after lowering his retraction distance from 3mm to 2mm, at 30mm/s retraction speed, he fixed his issue.
One person was experiencing problems on only one side of his print, and solved his issue by lowering his retraction speed from 50mm/s to 25mm/s and changing his retraction distance from 5mm to 6mm, which seem to fix a great part of the issue.
Check out the video below to find out more information about retraction settings.
Turn Off Acceleration & Jerk Control Setting
Some users have fixed this issue by turning off their acceleration & jerk settings within their slicer like on Cura.
The acceleration control setting in Cura determines how long it will take for your print head to speed up to the maximum set print speed. A low acceleration setting means that it will take longer to get to the max. print speed, while if it’s high, will reach there faster.
The jerk control setting Cura determines the speed at which the nozzle can go through corners. When you turn this off, it lets your 3D printer’s firmware decide the setting.
One user who experienced bad scarring on one side of his 3D prints recommended turning off the acceleration and jerk control since it helped him improve the imperfections in his model.
Another user that experienced rough layers only on one side of his print started to see improvements after changing slicers and disabling both control settings.
Check out the video below for more information on how to adjust the acceleration and jerk control settings within the 3D printer’s firmware.
Tighten the Belt Tension
Another method to fix prints that are uneven and are having problems on only one side is to tighten the belt tension of your 3D printer.
Setting your belts to have the proper amount of tension is important to the overall quality of the prints as it can cause uneven prints if not done correctly. Users suggest checking the belt tension as sometimes it can loosen up a bit from regular 3D printing.
One user was having problems with his 3D print being really smooth on the left side and really rough on the right side and after tightening the belt tension, as suggested by other users, he found that his prints got a lot more even.
Another user found that 3D printing a new fan air duct and tightening the belt tension were the best fixes to get an even print and no problems on any sides of their print.
There are many accounts of people solving this issue of prints being bad on one side by tightening up loose belts, so I’d definitely check your belts to see if they are tight enough.
Some 3D printers will have the XY axis tensioner knobs which make it easier, but if not, you can manually tighten it. Check out the video below to see how to do this on an Ender 3 and similar 3D printers.
Set Z Seam Alignment to Random
If you are experiencing problems on only one side of your 3D print, one fix that helped many users was setting the Z seam alignment to random on your preferred slicer.
By setting the Z seam alignment to random, each layer will have a different starting point and that can ensure more even prints and fix an issue happening on only one side of your print.
Be aware that you may need to implement other fixes mentioned in this article, such as checking for cooling issues as well, otherwise, just setting the Z seam alignment to random may just spread the imperfections around your object.
One user was having a problem with a lot of layer lines showing up on only one side of his print and after setting the Z seam alignment to random that seemed to fix his issue completely.
Another user was having problems on only one side of his printed objects and he also fixed the issue by setting Z seam alignment to random.
If you want to know more about how to set your Z seam alignment to random and other information about the Z seam alignment in Cura, check this video below.