9 Ways How to Fix Horizontal Lines/Banding in Your 3D Prints

After you finish a 3D print, you notice some sharp lines in the middle of your 3D prints. These horizontal lines have a negative effect on the quality of your 3D print, so it’s definitely something you’d want to get rid of. There are solutions to try out to fix these strange lines.

The best way to fix horizontal lines in your 3D prints it to identify the reason of the problem first and then solve it by using the best possible solution. Some common reasons for this problem are conflicting extrusion, more printing speed, mechanical issues, and temperature fluctuations.

In this article, I’ll attempt to explain why your 3D prints get horizontal lines in the first place, and how to fix them once and for all. Let’s have a look.

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Why Do Your 3D Prints Have Horizontal Lines?

A 3D print is composed of hundreds of individual layers. If things are managed properly and correct measures are taken, then you can avoid horizontal lines showing up in your prints so prominently.

There are many reasons why you might get horizontal lines or banding in your prints, so it’s important to identify what your specific cause it, then use a solution that corresponds with that cause.

Some causes for horizontal lines that users have had are:

  1. Unsturdy printing surface
  2. Printing speed too high
  3. Abrupt temperature changes
  4. Overextrusion
  5. Incorrectly calibrated extruder
  6. Mechanical issues
  7. Extruder skipping steps
  8. Worn out nozzle
  9. Bad filament diameter quality

How to Fix a 3D Print That Has Horizontal Lines?

There are some quick solutions to this problem, while some specific causes require more of an in-depth solution so let’s go through these solutions one by one.

1. Unsturdy Printing Surface

Having a printing surface which wobbles or isn’t very sturdy can definitely contribute to your 3D prints having horizontal lines through them. 3D printing is all about precision and accuracy, so that extra wobble can throw off the dimensions.

  • Put your 3D printer on a stable surface

2. Printing Speed too High

This also ties in with accuracy and precision, where 3D printing speeds which are too high can end up extruding unevenly across your 3D prints.

  • Slow down your overall printing speed in 5-10mm/s increments
  • Check your advanced printing speed settings for infill, walls, etc.
  • Lower your jerk and acceleration settings so your 3D printer doesn’t vibrate due to fast initial movements and turns.
  • A good 3D printing speed to go with is around 50mm/s

3. Abrupt Temperature Changes

The heating elements on a 3D printer aren’t always as straightforward as setting one temperature and it staying there.

Depending on your firmware and what system is currently implemented, your 3D printer will have a range between where it sits, meaning the heated bed may be set to 70°C and it waits until it hits 60°C before it kicks the heater in back to 70°C.

If the temperature fluctuations are large enough, it can definitely cause horizontal lines to occur in your 3D prints.

  • Ensure your temperature readings are keeping fairly steady, and doesn’t fluctuate more than 5°C.
  • Use a brass nozzle for better thermal conductivity
  • Implement an enclosure around your 3D printer to help stabilize temperatures
  • Recalibrate and tune your PID controller if you see large fluctuations

4. Overextrusion

This cause of horizontal lines in your 3D prints also ties in to high printing temperatures because the higher the temperature, the more liquid the material being extruded.

  • Try decreasing your printing temperature in 5°C increments
  • Check your nozzle isn’t worn out from long-term use or abrasive materials
  • Look at your flow rate settings and lower if necessary
  • Dial in your retraction settings so more filament isn’t oozing out

Reducing your retraction distance or unchecking the “retract on layer change” setting can help fix these horizontal lines or even missing lines on your prints.

5. Incorrectly Calibrated Stepper Motor

Many people aren’t aware that their stepper motors aren’t always properly calibrated when they receive their 3D printer. It’s a good idea to run through some tests to make sure your stepper motor is calibrated precisely so it extrudes the right amount of plastic.

You can start to see missing lines or small sections in your prints due to this.

  • Calibrate your 3D printer’s stepper motors by following a detailed tutorial

I would definitely advise to check your steps & e-steps and learn how to calibrate it properly.

6. Mechanical Issues or Unstable Printer Parts

Where there are vibrations and movements that aren’t smooth, you can easily start to see horizontal lines in your 3D prints. There are many areas where it can be coming from so it’s a good idea to run down this list and correct them as you go along.

You could definitely be experiencing more than one of these at a time. Going through the list below should set you well on your way to correcting this underlying issue that is negatively affecting your print quality.

  • Dampen vibration wherever possible, but I would advise against using floating feet because they can easily increase this issue.
  • Make sure you properly tighten your belts, because most people when they put their 3D printer together for the first time, don’t tighten their belts enough.
  • Also getting replacement belts compared to cheaper stock belts should do you better in regard to clearing horizontal lines.
  • Closely follow tutorials on how to put your 3D printer together so you don’t face future problems
  • Tighten up screws around your 3D printer, especially with your hotend carriage and axis
  • Keep your nozzle position accurate throughout your print
  • Make sure your print bed is stable and well-connected to the rest of the 3D printer
  • Check that your Z-axis threaded rod is placed correctly
  • Ensure that the wheels on your 3D printer are properly tuned up and maintained
  • Oil the relevant areas on your 3D printer with a light oil for smooth movements

7. Extruder Skipping Steps

There can be many reasons why your extruder might be skipping steps, but there are some common causes that people go through which have fairly simple solutions.

  • Use the correct layer heights for your stepper motor (for NEMA 17 motors, use 0.04mm increments, e.g. 0.04mm, 0.08mm, 0.12mm).
  • Calibrate your extruder motor
  • Make sure your extruder motor is powerful enough (you can change it with the X-axis motor to see if it makes a difference)
  • Unclog your extrusion pathway (nozzle, tubing, clean gears) with some cold pulls
  • Increase printing temperature so filament can flow easier

8. Worn Out Nozzle

Some people have seen horizontal lines in their 3D prints due to a worn out nozzle, since it doesn’t smoothly extruder filament all the way through. This is more likely to happen if you are printing with an abrasive material.

  • Replace your nozzle with a fresh brass nozzle that fits your 3D printer

You can go with a popular option on Amazon which is the EAONE 24 Pieces Extruder Nozzles Set, which comes with 6 nozzle sizes and plenty of cleaning needles to unclog nozzles when needed.

9. Bad Filament Diameter Quality or Tangles

From having poor quality filament which has uneven diameters all the way through, or having tangles in your filament can alter the feeding pressure through the extruder enough to create horizontal lines in your prints.

  • Buy filament from a reputable manufacturer and seller
  • Use a 3D printed filament guide that your filament passes through before the extruder

Other Ways to Fix Horizontal Lines/Banding in 3D Prints

Most of the ways to fix horizontal lines/banding should be found above, but there are other fixes that you can look over and try to see if it works out.

  • Improve cooling on your 3D printer
  • Upgrade to Capricorn PTFE tubing
  • Disassemble your 3D printer and put it back together with a tutorial
  • 3D print a Z-rod spacer
  • Check your eccentric nuts are tight
  • Add more tension on your extrusion spring (lever feeder)
  • Check Cura settings to make sure you aren’t extruding more at start of layers (‘Extra Prime Distance’ setting etc.)
  • Use a proven settings profile for your 3D printer

How to Fix Horizontal Lines in Resin 3D Prints

Some people may think that anti-aliasing can solve horizontal lines in resin 3D prints, which they can, but for random horizontal lines between layers it might not work.

AmeraLabs put together an extensive list of how to fix horizontal lines in resin 3D prints which goes into some great depth. I’ll summarise these great points below:

  • Exposure time changes between layers
  • Lifting speed changes
  • Pauses and stops in printing process
  • Model structure changes
  • Bad first layer or unstable foundation
  • Change of consistency or disturbance of resin
  • Z-axis durability
  • Uneven layers due to separation
  • Resin binding through sedimentation at the bottom
  • General mistakes and inaccurate printing parameters

It’s a good idea to shake your resin bottle before pouring into the resin vat and to ensure you run calibration tests before printing complex parts.

I’d make sure your exposure times aren’t too long and you reduce your overall printing speed, so your 3D printer can focus on precision, accuracy and stability.

Using a high quality resin which doesn’t settle so easily is advised. Keep your threaded rod clean and slightly lubricated.

Take care of the model itself when thinking about the part orientation and the support that it requires to print successfully. If you have to start and stop your 3D printer, you can get horizontal lines on your 3D prints.

With a little of perseverance and knowledge of what causes horizontal lines in resin 3D prints, you can work towards getting rid of them once and for all. You’ll have to identify the main cause and apply the ideal solution.

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