In the 3D printing process, there is a phenomenon called layer separation, layer splitting, or even delamination of your 3D prints. It is where some layers of your 3D print don’t adhere to the previous layer properly, which ruins the final look of the print.
There are a few ways to fix layer separation, which are usually pretty quick solutions.
Hotter plastic has better adhesion than cooler plastic, so make sure your printing temperatures are high enough for your material. Also, decrease layer height, check filament quality, and clean your extrusion pathway. Using an enclosure can help out with fixing layer separation and splitting.
Many other methods work to fix layer splitting, so keep on reading to get the full answer.
Why Am I Getting Layer Separation & Splitting in My 3D Prints?
We all know how 3D prints by building a model in layers, and each successive layer is printer on top of the other one. To make sure that the product is strong, all layers must be bonded together.
Bonding in the layers is necessary to avoid any cracks in the final print or any separation in the layers.
If the layers are not bonded together properly, they can cause the model to split, and it might start to bring from different points.
Now, I am going to tell you why the layers of your 3D prints are separating or splitting. The following is the list of issues that are causing the Layer Separation and Splitting in your 3D prints.
- Print Temperature too low
- Flow Rate too Slow
- Not Proper Print Cooling
- Incorrect Nozzle Size for Layer Height
- High Printing Speed
- Extruder Pathway not Clean
- Filament Misplaced
- Use an Enclosure
How to Fix Layer Separation & Splitting in My 3D Prints?
It’s fairly easy to spot layer separation and splitting in your 3D prints, since it gives serious imperfections. It can get pretty bad depending on a number of factors as shown above.
Now that we know the causes of layer delamination, we can look at the methods on how other 3D print users fix this issue.
The video below goes into some of the solutions, so I would check this out.
1. Increase Your Printing Temperature
If the extruder temperature is lower than the required value, the filament coming out will not be able to stick to the previous layer. You will be facing the problem of layer separation here then, as the adhesion of layers will be minimum.
The layers adhere to each other through fusion at high temperatures. Now, what you need to do is increase the temperature but gradually.
- Check the average temperature of the extruder
- Start increasing the temperature at the intervals of 5°C
- Keep on increasing until you start seeing better adhesion results
- Generally, the warmer the filament gets, the better the bond between layers
2. Increase Your Flow/Extrusion Rate
If the flow rate means the filament coming out of the nozzle is too slow, it can create gaps between the layers. This will make it difficult for the layers to adhere to each other.
You can avoid layer separation by increasing the flow rate so that more melted filament is being extruded, and the layers get a better chance to adhere.
- Start increasing the flow rate/extrusion multiplier
- Increase the flow rate by an interval of 2.5%
- If you start to experience over-extrusion or blobs, then you should dial it back.
3. Improve Your Print Cooling
If the cooling process is not proper, it means your fan isn’t working properly. The layers would cool down quickly as the fan is working at its top speed. It would just simply keep cooling the layers instead of giving them the chance to adhere to each other.
- Start increasing the speed of the fan.
- You can also use a fan duct to attach to your extruder, which directs cool air straight to your 3D prints.
Some materials don’t work too well with cooling fans, so this isn’t always a fix that you can implement.
4. Layer Height too Big/Incorrect Nozzle Size for Layer Height
If you are using the incorrect nozzle as compared to the nozzle height, you can have trouble in printing, especially in the form of layer separation.
Mostly the nozzle diameter is between 0.2 and 0.6mm from which the filament comes out, and printing is done.
To get secure bonding of layers without any gaps or cracks, implement the following:
- ensure that the layer height has to be 20 percent smaller than the nozzle diameter
- For example, if you have a 0.5mm nozzle, you don’t want a layer height larger than 0.4mm
- Go for a bigger nozzle, which improves the chance of a firmer adhesion
5. Decrease Printing Speed
You need to adjust the printing speed because if the printer is printing too fast, the layers will not get the chance to adhere, and their bond will be weak.
- Decrease your printing speed in your slicer setting
- Adjust it in intervals of 10mm/s
6. Clean Extruder Pathway
If the extruder pathway is not clean and if it is clogged, the filament can have difficulty in coming out, thus affecting the printing process.
You can check if the extruder is clogged or not by opening it and pushing the filament with hands directly.
If the filament is getting stuck, you have a problem there then. It would help if you cleaned the nozzle and extruder by:
- Use a brush with brass wires which help you in cleaning off the debris
- Break the particles in the nozzle with acupuncture for better results
- You can use a nylon filament for cold pulling to clean the nozzle
Sometimes just taking apart your extrusion system and giving it a good clean from bottom, up is a good solution. Dust can easily build up on your 3D printer if you aren’t using an enclosure.
7. Check the Filament Quality
You need to check the filament first, whether it is stored at the right place or not. Some filament doesn’t require strict storage conditions, but after enough time, they can definitely weaken and drop in quality through moisture absorption.
- Buy a good quality filament for a good quality print
- Store your filament in an airtight container with desiccants before and after use (especially Nylon).
- Try drying your filament in the oven on a low setting for a few hours and see if it works better.
Oven settings vary depending on type of filament so here are the general temps according to All3DP:
- PLA: ~40-45°C
- ABS: ~80°C
- Nylon: ~80°C
I would leave them in the oven for 4-6 hours to get fully dry.
8. Use an Enclosure
Using an enclosure is the last option. You can use it if nothing else is working properly or if you are working in a cold environment.
- You can use the enclosure to keep the operating temperature constant
- Layers will get enough time to adhere
- You can then keep the fan speed slow
Overall, the separation of layers is the result of many possible reasons which have been mentioned above. You should identify your cause and try out the corresponding solution.