With a 3D printer, different situations can occur which can lead to your printer skipping layers. This in return negatively affects the print quality and hence results in an unsuccessful print. This article is going to aim to tackle the problem of a 3D printer skipping layers. It will guide you through why it happens and how to fix it.
The rest of the article will go through the troubleshooting process of skipped layers, as well as some other issues that are linked to this problem. You are requested to read the complete article.
Why is My 3D Printer Skipping Layers?
Finding your final product with skipped layers is truly a very upsetting experience. Skipping layers or missing layers in your 3D prints is a common problem faced by many users of 3D printers.
There are many reasons why a 3D printer skips layers and hence, jeopardizes the quality of the print.
The first reason is the printer being temporarily under extrusion. The second reason is the misaligned or stuck bearings and rods. Another reason is the uneven print bed.
Being Under Extrusion Temporarily
When the appropriate amount of filament is not provided by the 3D printer to print a 3D model, it can cause problems. Until any sort of filament is detected, the printer will continue on and hence you might end up with skipped layers. This can also occur if your filament gets stuck by any means.
It comes down to flow rates and not being able to keep up with the physical demand of the extrusion. This could be down to some kind of blockage, low temperature, too much cooling, or a worn out nozzle.
Sometimes, a simple nozzle change to one of high quality can quickly fix these under extrusion issues and result in prints that don’t skip layers.
Misaligned or Stuck Bearings and Rods
3D printers experience friction in the moving parts, these parts include vertical rods and bearings that help in holding up the print bed. However, when these bearings and rods are worn out or get stuck, this results in skipped layers in the 3D model print.
You should do some troubleshooting and try to replace parts which have been operating for long periods of time without changes. Consumables like belts, bearings and fans can contribute to this.
Uneven Print Bed
The printing surface of a printer assumes a significant job in making the final look of the first layer of your model. If it is not levelled properly, your first layer could very easily be messed up to quite a huge extent.
When you think about the technology and movement of a 3D printer, it assumes that it is printing on a flat surface, unless there is some kind of auto-leveling feature which accounts for uneven level differences.
Your print bed can easily start to warp after being heated up, so you definitely want to check whether your print bed is experiencing this. Many people heat up their print beds then use a metal ruler across it to see if it’s flat the whole way through.
If not, you can actually place sticky notes underneath the lower areas, implement a BL-Touch or just replace your print bed altogether. This choice is really up to you, but if this is your cause the fix isn’t too troublesome.
How to Fix a 3D Printer Skipping Layers?
The best way to fix a 3D printer skipping layers is to inspect the bearings, timely belts, bearings and pulleys regularly. It would be great even if you go through this process before executing a print task. This process of inspection helps you in preventing not only this but many other common 3D printer problems as well.
Certain different measures can be taken in order to deal with these problems. It should be manually ensured that the rods of the 3D printer are seated well in the bearings. The clips should be adjusted and the screws should be tightened.
Other than that, check that the bearings of your 3D printer are in good condition. If they are broken or have been worn out, you shall replace them.
You need to clean different moving parts of your printer and provide lubrication to them. The lubrication can be given with sewing machine oil which works pretty well since it’s a fairly light oil and you’ll only need a drop or two.
Furthermore, filament issues are realized, then these can easily be resolved. If your filament has run out or is nearing the end, that is not a problem and can be easily resolved.
The extrusion pathing might have more pressure on it due to the spool of filament being closer to the middle of the roll.
I remember when assembling my 3D printer, I placed the spool holder quite some way from the extruder, which added unnecessary pressure to my filament. When the filament got near the end of the spool, it would reduce my print quality due to bad pathing.
If the changes happened through using a different roll of filament, I would recheck your temperatures are correct, since each roll isn’t always made the same and have slight differences.
People decide to use a temperature tower each time they change filament spools to get a precise temperature level to operate at.
Fixing Layer Separation in PLA, ABS, PETG & More
Layer separation or delamination refers to the process of adjusting 3D printed layers so that they could firmly stick together.
This is done to ensure the good quality of the final print as it prevents layer separation. Several steps can be taken in the process of layer delamination. Some of these are listed down below.
Increase Printing Temperature
One of the steps towards the prevention of layer separation is to increase the temperature of the printer’s extruder. The layers stick to one another by combination at high temperatures.
Adjust Fan Cooling
Another step is the adjustment of print cooling. If you reduce the fan speed, it has almost the same effect as the increasing extruder temperature.
Increase Extrusion Flow Rate
If the extrusion flow rate is increased, the more molten filament will be allowed to flow out and hence there are better chances of sticking as more thread flows out of the nozzle. With this, if the correct nozzle size is used, it can also prevent layer separation.
Increase Printing Speed
Other than that, if the printing speed is adjusted, it can also contribute to the prevention of layer separation. Having a faster print speed gives your filament less time to be cooled by your fans, which means your filament doesn’t set very nicely for the next layer.
How to Fix Inconsistent Layers & Walls in 3D Prints
To fix this issue, flow rates can be adjusted to different levels. These depend upon the model of the printer and the type of print that you desire to get. Along with that, the optimal temperature should be set up.
Again, this temperature is to be adjusted according to the print model that you desire. A possible reason for the inconsistent layers could also be the overtightening of the wheels that hold the X gantry together. Swapping them out could solve the problem.
How to Fix Inconsistent Extrusion in 3D Printer
Inconsistent extrusion is a process where either too little or too much filament is extruded from the 3D printers hot end. It doesn’t happen frequently but when it happens, it’s in the form of blobs in filament or missed layers.
There are quite a lot of issues but with possible solutions as well. We will be discussing both of these down below.
The issue of partially clogged nozzles is one of the issues. This issue can be fixed in many ways. You can install a good filament filter and use a 3D printer cleaning filament.
Other than that, the nozzle can be replaced as well. The issue of extruder gears slipping can be fixed by cleaning the filament and making sure that the spring lever isn’t broken.
Rather than sticking with the plastic stock extruder, upgrading to an all-metal extruder has positively changed the printing experience of several 3D printer users out there. Many would recommend that this is one of the first things you change in your 3D printer.
Another common issue is filament binding. It can be fixed by making a clear path for the filament to flow in the hot end.
You should also ensure that there is no knot on the filament roll. Heat creep is also amongst the issues. It can be fixed by making sure that the cooling fan at the hot end is clean and is working properly.