How to Fix 3D Prints That are Leaning or Not Printing Straight
3D prints that start learning or don’t print straight can ruin the success of a model and will definitely reduce the dimensional accuracy. This article will take you through how to fix 3D prints that lean and don’t print straight.
To fix 3D prints that are leaning or slanted, check for loose belts or pulleys and get those tightened up to a good level. You want to ensure your print bed and frame is stable by tightening up any loose eccentric nuts. Also check that your frame on each axis is actually straight and not uneven.
This is the basic answer but keep on reading for more information on how to solve this issue of 3D prints coming out sideways, leaning or slanted.
Why Are My 3D Prints Coming Out Leaning & Slanted?
There are several reasons why your 3D prints are coming out leaning and slanted and I have listed them below;
- Loose belts and/or pulleys
- Print bed isn’t stable
- You have a loose gantry/frame
- Printing speed is too high
- Your X & Y axis gantry isn’t straight
- The 3D model design is slanted itself
- There are layer shifting issues
A user also mentioned that if the slant or lean is always towards the same direction, then it could be that the axis motor is losing steps. It could also be that one of the axes’ rods is crooked and needs to be changed.
These are the most common causes of leaning or slanted 3D prints so paying attention to them may help solve the issue.
Now that you already have an idea of the reasons your 3D prints come out leaning or slanted, let’s take a look at the easy steps you can take to fix your 3D prints.
How to Fix a 3D Print That is Leaning or Not Straight
Tighten the Belts and Pulleys
When your 3D prints come out slanted or leaning, one of the important things to check is the belts or pulleys. Your 3D printer belts are the motion system movements of your 3D printer and they move along the X and Y axes.
You need to tighten them if you find that they are loose. Some 3D printers will have XY belt tensions which you can simply twist; otherwise, you’ll have to use tools. Then you can proceed to loosen the bolt and screws and adjust the belts as needed.
You should not make the belts too tight to avoid friction and other print issues.
The right level of belt tension is tightening the belt to the point where there isn’t any slack, but it shouldn’t be too hard to pull/pluck.
A user whose prints were leaning found that their printer’s belts were loose and not as tight as required when they checked. Tightening up the belts solved the issue for them and they were able to make good 3D prints.
The example below was a clear case of having a very loose X-axis belt. Once the user tightened the belt, their 3D prints went back to normal.
Check out the video below to see how to tension 3D printer belts properly.
Level & Secure Your Print Bed
One of the first things you should do when you experience 3D prints that are leaning or not straight is to level and secure your print bed.
The reason for this is that when you have an uneven or warped build surface, it means your first layers might not adhere very well to the surface, causing issues further in the printing process.
It may also be the case that your bed isn’t stable due to the eccentric nuts not being tight enough underneath the 3D printer.
3D printers can’t calculate where to go based on how level the bed is by themselves. They only follow a series of instructions that are in the 3D printer file.
Ideally, you want to check that your aluminum plate on the base of your 3D printer isn’t warped, then check the actual build surface on top to see if that’s warped.
If you do find it’s warped or uneven, then correct this by levelling the bed, or changing out the warped part of your 3D printer.
You can actually install an auto-levelling bed sensor like the Creality BL Touch to correct any imbalances from an uneven print bed though. Some people swear by it, while others just stick to levelling their beds manually.
Check and Fix Loose Gantry with Eccentric Nuts
The next thing to look at if 3D prints are leaning or slanted is whether your eccentric nuts are tight enough on the X & Y axis, similar to the fix above.
The gantry is the frame that supports and guides the printer head along the X and Y axes. To fix 3D prints that lean or slant, you should check if the gantry or frame is loose and fix it so the X and Y axes don’t cause issues.
You can fix the gantry by tightening the eccentric hex nut. It is also possible that the eccentric nut is not fixed correctly.
A user who has had a year of slanted and leaning 3D prints found that they put their eccentric nut on backward so the bottom wheel was not in the guide correctly. You should also be careful not to overtighten the screw.
However, before tightening the screw, you should make sure the gantry/frame is well leveled first so it won’t be misaligned.
Reduce the Printing Speed
A user whose prints were slanting said they reduced their printing speed and no longer had slanting prints. If your printing speed is too high, it can make either of the axes jerk thereby causing them to slip.
If you reduce the speed to a reasonable extent, around 40-60mm/s you may be able to solve the slanting or leaning issues. If your 3D printer can’t reach higher speeds without your 3D prints leaning, there’s probably an underlying problem that you want to fix beforehand though.
I’d try out the other methods as a priority.
Level the Printer – X & Y Axis Gantry
Similar to checking your eccentric nuts on the gantry, you also want to check that the actual frame across the X axis is straight, the gantry going from left to right.
One user experienced leaning 3D prints but after squaring up their X gantry, they finally solved the problem.
They were having successful 3D prints, but once they required two 3D printed parts to fit together, that’s when issues arose. The user started implementing a carpenter’s square to ensure things were level and that’s when they found the issue.
Another who was experiencing leaning 3D prints figured out that his Y axis extrusion was leaning upwards slightly after dismantling part of their 3D printer.
What they did to fix this was to take a Digital Angle Gauge and zeroed it on the vertical extrusion, then adjusted the horizontal Y extrusion until the gauge read 90 degrees.
You can get yourself the Wixey Digital Gauge Type 2 Magnetic Base from Amazon for a good price.
Check That the 3D Model isn’t Slanted
One user mentioned that rather than their 3D printer having the problem, it was actually the 3D printing file they were using. They designed a simple box model, but figured out that the model actually had a tiny slant in it.
If you find that the issue happens with multiple 3D prints, then this is likely not your issue.
Fix Layer Shifting Issues
In some cases, you may actually be experiencing a series of layer shifts that make your 3D print look like it’s leaning, printing diagonally, or crooked. It may be an X axis or Y axis shift, depending on the direction the model is shifting to.
To fix layer shifting issues, make sure your 3D printer bed is secured into place so there isn’t any movement during printing.
You can also try decreasing your jerk and acceleration settings, as well as making sure your belts doesn’t have slack in them. Check for any obstructions such as cables or your filament getting caught on something.
It’s a good idea to try and watch some of your 3D print or get a camera to view it so you can see exactly what is happening.
Get a Dual Z-Axis Leadscrew Kit
A user who was having the same issue on their Ender 3 V2 said they had to get a Dual Z Axis Kit from Amazon to solve the leaning and slanting prints.
Another person mentioned that when they first got their CR-10 3D printer, it only comes with one Z-stepper and leadscrew, but if their X gantry eccentric nuts weren’t very tight, they would experience a lean in models.
This was due to the side of the gantry that had the most distance from the leadscrew would have a slight lag on each Z movement.
A second leadscrew can help out a lot in an instance like that.
Here’s a video you can watch that can in fine-tuning your Ender 3 V2 or 3D printer in general.