In this article, you will learn what are the most common errors in 3D printing and how to avoid them.

In the last article, we focused on the most common errors when assembling and setting up a 3D printer . Now let's look at the errors in the printing itself.

What to look out for in 3D printing

Here is an example of some of the most common mistakes.

1) Print too large angles without supports

If you print unsupported models where the overhang or angle is too large, then the printer will print in the air and you will probably only see a clump of filament, or at best just a spoiled model.

For large angles, overhangs and curvatures, choose a support material that breaks off easily from the model when printed.

Where possible, you can only select support from the pad (especially for models where the layer has no part support)


2) Print tall models with too thin or too small a base

If your model does not have enough area to hold the pad, then it is likely that the model will peel off the pad during printing and the resulting model will not be completed.

If you are printing tall models with a small base, then it is good to add the brim parameter (in slic3ru), which will ensure better adhesion of the object.

It is always a good idea to make sure that the first layer adheres sufficiently to the substrate and, if necessary, to adjust the layer thickness.


3) Wrong setting of values in Slic3r (or another program)

Thickness, fill, or speed settings can significantly affect printing and the resulting model. We will not forget about setting the above-mentioned supports and brim.

For smaller models, we usually choose a higher resolution (less than 0.2 mm). For larger models we can choose a lower resolution (0.2 mm and higher).

If we are printing a large and full model, then it is usually better to put a smaller fill (15% or less). For thin walls and detailed models (or if we want a heavier and stronger model) we can choose (20% and more).

We pay attention to speed. A lower speed is better for the base and the first layers. Larger models, which have a regular shape, may have a higher speed. We pay attention to very detailed models and bevel model, where a lower print speed is better.

4) Too large and detailed models

If we have a model that is too large and detailed, then we will probably not be able to print it on one try. In addition, detailed models are better printed from multiple parts so that the individual details stand out better.

If you have a model that is too large, it is better to cut it in Slic3r and print the parts individually.


5) Too many objects on the pad at one time

If you print too many objects, printing will result in very lengthy results and, in addition, print quality may deteriorate as the extruder must pass between parts of the model and residual filament may flow out when switching between models.

Printing multiple models at once is also not good because each model needs a slightly different setting and it is difficult to set these values into one Gcode.

I recommend splitting the models and printing together only very similar models (with similar height and dimensions and with the same print settings).


6) 3D printing without supervision

If you think you can turn on 3D printing and leave the printer unattended for a few hours, I will disappoint you. You never know what might happen, and it's a good idea to stop printing in time for a problem. When printing unattended, you can lose a lot of filament at best, and have a broken printer at worst.

It is good to check 3D printing at least occasionally, or to have an online camera and monitor the print.

Many things can happen to you during printing: Eg. the filament jams, or the printer prints outside the model (if the print is set incorrectly), it may print too fast and the filament does not catch in time, power may drop or filament may run out (Prusa MK3 has already solved this), it can skip the layer and the resulting model collapses and lots of other unexpected situations that you can stop in time of supervision.


7) Wrong setting for different materials

Each material has a slightly different setting and even the same material from different manufacturers is slightly different. Before printing, it is important to find out the individual settings for different materials and also to find the data from the manufacturer of the specific filament. E.g. ABS and PLA have different nozzle and washer temperature settings.

Before printing, it is first necessary to test the correct attachment of the first layer, because the height of the layer may vary depending on the material.

Follow the settings, test and do not print complex and large models until you have tested a specific material from the manufacturer.


8) Poorly cleaned pad

If you use a Prusa pad, then it is good to clean it properly every time. If it is not clean, then the first layer will not hold you properly.

We clean the pad from plastic residues with a spatula with round corners, remove grease with acetone or a common window cleaner. We can also clean the pad with the rough side of a washing sponge.

The washer should be clean and degreased. Remove the glue with a sponge and detergent.

We clean the glass in a similar way, or we can use a special blue tape and restore it before each new print.


FutLab makerspace

Are you interested in 3D printing and post-processing? You can come to our workshop and make something yourself, we offer the option of membership . If you do not have time for that, we also offer 3D printing to order and subsequent postprocessing.