What Happens If Your 3D Print Temperature is Too Hot or Too Low?

Temperature in 3D printing is a key factor for success. Many people wonder what happens if you 3D print at a temperature that’s too hot or too low, so I decided to write an article about it.

This article will finally answer this question simply, so keep on reading for the information. I’ve got some useful images and videos that will help you understand what can happen.

What Happens When 3D Printing Temperature is Too Low? PLA, ABS

When your 3D printing temperature is too low, you can experience 3D printing issues such as under extrusion, clogging, layer delamination or bad interlayer adhesion, weaker 3D prints, warping, and more. Models are likely to fail or have many imperfections when temperatures are far from optimal.

One of the key issues comes down to not being able to melt the filament to a state that is liquid enough to travel through the nozzle adequately. This leads to poor movement of filament through the extrusion system and can result in your extruder grinding filament or skipping.

Check out my article on Why Is My Extruder Grinding The Filament?

Another thing that can happen when your 3D printing temperature is too low is under extrusion. This is when your 3D printer wants to extrude a certain amount of filament, but actually extrudes less.

When this happens, you create weaker 3D models that may have gaps and incomplete sections. Raising up your printing temperature is a key way to fix under extrusion if a low temperature is your cause.

I wrote more about How to Fix Under-Extrusion in 3D Printers.

Your 3D printer can also start to clog up or jam due to material not being melted enough to travel through smoothly. For the layers of your model, they might not be hot enough to adhere nicely to the previous layers. This is called layer delamination and can cause printing failures.

You also have to look out for your bed temperature being too low, especially when 3D printing higher temperature materials like ABS or PETG.

If your bed temperature is too low, this can lead to poor first layer adhesion, so your models have a weak foundation during printing. PLA can be 3D printed without a heated bed, but it does decrease your success rate. A good bed temperature improves first layer adhesion and even interlayer adhesion.

To get better first layer adhesion, check out my article How to Get the Perfect Build Plate Adhesion Settings & Improve Bed Adhesion.

One user who was experiencing warping issues while printing ABS tried to stop it by keeping a box heater in front of it and making a makeshift heat chamber, but it didn’t work.

People recommended that he increase his bed temperature to 100-110°C and to use a better enclosure to keep heat in. With a filament like PLA, a bed temperature of 40-60°C works great and it doesn’t need an enclosure.

A user who 3D printed some PLA found that he got a lot of stringing and thought lower temperatures couldn’t result in that. He managed to get rid of the stringing by increasing his temperature from around 190°C to 205°C.

Check out the video below of layer splitting due to a low printing temperature.

Is the temp. too low for this PLA filament? What causes the splitting? from 3Dprinting

They then increased the temperature from 200°C to 220°C and got better results.


What Happens When 3D Printing Temperature is Too High? PLA, ABS

When your 3D printing temperature is too high you start to experience imperfections like blobs or oozing in your models, especially with smaller prints. Your filament has trouble cooling quick enough which can lead to bad bridging or material sagging. Stringing is another issue that occurs when temperatures are high.

One of the key issues that happens is that you miss finer details since your material is still in a more liquid state rather than solidifying quick enough. Things like artifacts or even burning filament can be seen in this situation.

Another issue that can arise from high temperatures is a phenomenon called heat creep. This is when filament in your pathway softens before the hotend, causing it to deform and clog up the extrusion pathway.

Check out my article on How to Fix Heat Creep in Your 3D Printer.

The heatsink dissipates heat which stops this from happening, but when the temperature is too high, the heat travels further back.

One user who 3D printed a brand of PLA at 210°C found that he got bad results. After lowering his temperature, his results quickly improved.

Another user who regularly prints PLA at 205° had no issues, so it does depend on your specific 3D printer, your setup, and your brand of PLA.

Here are some basic ideal temperatures for different materials:

  • PLA – 180-220°C
  • ABS – 210-260°C
  • PETG – 230-260°C
  • TPU – 190-230°C

Sometimes, there are quite wide temperature ranges between different brands. For one specific filament brand, you usually have a recommended temperature range of 20°C. You may even have the same brand and have different ideal temperatures between filament colors.

I always recommend that you create a temperature tower, as shown in the video below by Slice Print Roleplay through Cura.

When your bed temperature is too high, it can cause your filament to be too soft to create a good foundation. It can lead to a print imperfect called Elephant’s Foot, which is when about 10 or so of your bottom layers are squished. Decreasing bed temperature is a key fix for this printing issue.

I wrote more about How to Fix Elephant’s Foot – Bottom of 3D Print That Looks Bad.

Check out the video below by Vision Miner who goes through the details of printing too hot or cold.

How to Fix 3D Printer Hot End Not Getting Hot Enough

To fix the 3D printer hot end not getting hot enough issue, you need to check/replace thermistors, check/replace cartridge heater, use silicone covers and check the wiring.

Here are the fixes that you can try to resolve the issue:

Replace The Thermistor

A thermistor is a component in your 3D printer that specifically reads the temperature.

Many users complain that their 3D printer hotends aren’t heating up or getting hot enough. The main culprit is usually the thermistor. If it isn’t working properly, it can read the temperature wrong. Changing the thermistor is a great solution that has worked for many out there.

One user had issues with his MP Select Mini 3D printer heating up. He set the temperature to 250°C and found that it wasn’t even melting PLA which usually prints at around 200°C. He suspected a thermistor issue, and after replacing it, the issue got resolved.

You can go with something like the Creality NTC Thermistor Temp Sensor from Amazon.

One way to check whether your thermistor is actually working before replacing it is to use a hair dryer or a heat gun to blast hot air to the hotend. If you see a satisfactory rise in the temperature readings on the control panel, then it may be working fine.

Here is a great video that goes through the entire process of replacing the thermistor of Creality printers.

Reconnect The Wires

Sometimes, the wires connecting your 3D printer to the outlet or other internal wires may get disconnected.

If this happens, you want to turn off your 3D printer, take off your printer’s bottom electrical cover and check all the wires properly. You also need to check the wires at the mainboard located at the bottom of your printer to see if any wires are loose.

If any wire is mismatched, try to match it with the right port. If any wire is loose, reconnect it. Once your task is done, put the bottom cover back. Turn on your printer and see if the issue is resolved.

One user who experienced his hotend not getting hot enough tried many solutions without success. Through one last effort, he managed to find that one of his heater wires was loose. Once he fixed it, there were no problems after that.

Another user said he had the same problem and he fixed it by simply unplugging and wiggling the green hotend connector.

Replace Cartridge Heater

Another fix to a 3D printer hot end not getting hot enough is replacing cartridge heaters. It’s the component for transferring heat in your printer. If it isn’t working correctly, there will be a heating issue for sure.

If none of the above two fixes work, you can consider replacing the cartridge heater of your 3D printer. Finding the same model is essential when choosing the appropriate component.

Here is a great video of a user who was diagnosing this exact issue on his CR-10 went through many solutions but finally found that his ceramic heater cartridge was the culprit.

Another user who bought a hotend kit found out that the heater cartridge supplied was actually a 24V product rather than the expected 12V product. He had to swap the cartridge to a 12V one to fix this issue, so check you have the right cartridge.

The POLISI3D High Temperature Heater Cartridge from Amazon is a great one to go with that many users love. It has the option for a 12V and a 24V heater cartridge for your 3D printer.

Use Silicone Covers

Using silicon covers for the hot end seems to have fixed this issue for many. Silicon covers for the hot end essentially insulates the part and helps to keep the heat in.

One user was not able to get the nozzle to stay at 235°C for printing PETG. He was advised to use silicon covers and that helped matters.

I’d recommend going with something like the Creality 3D Printer Silicone Sock 4Pcs from Amazon. Many users say they are great quality and very durable. It also helps to keep your hotend nice and clean, while improving the temperature stability.

Loosen the Hotend Screw

An interesting way that some people have fixed their 3D printer not heating up properly was by loosening a tight screw. The cold end shouldn’t be screwed tightly against the block, resulting in it absorbing the heat.

Your hotend won’t be able to come to the correct temperature, so you want to screw the cold end/heat break close to the end, but leave a small gap between the fins and the heater block.

With the nozzle, you want to screw it in until you can tighten it against the heat break.

One user mentioned that he had the hotend nestled right on the heatsink which caused this issue. After adjusting it, he initiated his 3D printer temperature and it started working again.

Direct Cooling Air Away From Extruder Block

Another way that people have fixed this issue is to check whether your cooling fans are directing air to the extruder block. The part cooling fan that are supposed to cool extruded filament might be blowing air in the wrong place, so you might have to modify your heat sink or replace it.

Check that your cooling fans don’t start spinning until the print starts so it doesn’t blow air on the hotend of your extruder.

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