3D printing is an amazing technology, there’s no doubt about that. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people have used – and do use – 3D printing to make great products, save money, and come up with new designs.
However, there are some problems that 3D printers can fall prey to – just like any other technology. Whether you use a commercial 3D printer or you have a private model, you’ve probably encountered one of the common 3D printing problems and difficulties with the technology.
Maybe that’s even why you’re here right now! If that’s the case, then keep reading to learn about six common 3D printing problems – and what you can do to fix them.
Problem #1: Your 3D printer has overheated
3D printers employ heat to melt the plastic inside them so that they can lay that plastic down in layers that form whatever you’re printing. Because of the high temperatures needed to do this, your 3D printer can overheat – and that leads to a whole slew of problems that you don’t want to deal with. Suddenly, the products coming out of your 3D printer are warped and otherwise messed up. And overheating could potentially lead to a complete breakdown of your printer.
How do you combat this common 3D printing problem? Well, there are a few different things you can do. First of all, try slowing your 3D printer down. A big advantage of 3D printing is that you can have your printed products in your hand in a relatively short amount of time. But if your printer is working too fast and hard, it could be the cause of overheating. Try slowing your printer down to cut back on excess heat. This will allow each layer to cool before a new one is laid down.
In addition, make sure that your printer’s fan is in good working order and maybe consider purchasing a second one to keep things even cooler.
Problem #2: Your 3D printer is printing too quickly
When your 3D printer prints, each layer needs time to cool, to be strengthened, and to absorb the UV light so that your products print correctly. But sometimes your 3D printer prints too quickly and that leaves your products unfinished and in a generally bad state.
If this seems to be one of your common 3D printing problems, you’ll definitely need to check the settings and see if you can slow your printer down at all. In addition, you may need to increase the resin temperature as that could also be interfering with your printer’s inability to print good, strong pieces.
Problem #3: Your 3D printer filament nozzle is clogged
When your 3D printer prints large quantities of products, a lot of plastic goes through the filament nozzle – and that can lead to clogging and blockage. You may have noticed this problem when you heard strange noises coming from your 3D printer (sometimes these noises can sound like clicking or grinding). If you believe that the filament nozzle is clogged, there’s a couple things you can try.
First of all, there may simply be some plastic blocking the nozzle. If that’s the case, you can push a needle through the nozzle to clear away the plastic. And if that doesn’t work, you can take the nozzle and surrounding technology apart and then work on clearing it out.
You may also try reloading/replacing the filament or letting the filament extruder cool and reheat before further use. Sometimes when the plastic filaments become too hot, they trickle into the heat break area and that can jam up your 3D printer. That’s why allowing the technology to cool is a good idea.
Problem #4: Your 3D printed product won’t come off the print bed
This is a truly one of the most annoying 3D printing problems. After all, you’ve been eagerly waiting to hold and use your 3D printed product. But sometimes, the product refuses to come off the print bed. You obviously don’t want to damage it by crudely prying it off. So what do you do? Well, first of all, you can try waiting. 3D printed products often have to cool for a bit before they’ll come off the print bed. But then there are also times when your product won’t come off the print bed, even after some time has passed.
When that happens, you can try to gently remove the product from the print bed with a palette knife. If you want to keep occurrences like this to a minimum, make sure to clean the print bed semi regularly to keep it free from glue and other gunk that can cause stickage.
Problem #5: Your 3D printer leaves strands of filament on your printed products
This problem, typically referred to as ‘stringing’, looks similar to when you use a hot glue gun and strands of glue stick to what you’re working on. The concept is similar to that as well. Stringing happens when excess filament is pushed through the nozzle and then attaches to your printed product.
Stringing looks unsightly and, once on your product, is difficult to remove. If you’d like to keep stringing to a minimum, try gradually decreasing your 3D printer’s heat settings. You may also need to adjust your retractor for optimal printing.
Problem #6: The layers of your 3D printed project failed to adhere to each other
Another frustrating problem, and one that is usually quite simple to fix. The major cause of this problem is when the layers (particularly the bottom layer) become warped. When that happens, the layers can’t attach properly. Fix this issue by adjusting the temperature of your 3D printer so that the plastic doesn’t have time to cool (read: warp) between layers.