The art of 3D printing is one that is growing in popularity, with many different industries utilizing the benefits of it. Whether you are starting your own 3D printing business or you are working on 3D prints for your own purposes, it’s important to understand why your prints are having the issues that they have.
So, why are your prints slanted and how can you fix it?
Why are your prints slanted?
There are several reasons why your prints may be slanted, including:
- The Stepper Driver, which could be overheating then shutting down.
- Print pulls too hard on the filament reel.
- Belts/pulleys are slipping.
- Print bed is shifting as printing occurs.
- Z-axis isn’t perpendicular to your print bed.
If the problem is something that you are consistently having, there is likely something wrong with the axis pulleys or belts.
How can you fix slanted 3D Prints?
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the issues with the printing isn’t as a result of the file that you are using to create the print. If this issue only happens with a specific model that you are trying to print, the file you are using is likely the problem. You may need to reload the file to fix any bugs in it to ensure proper printing.
If this is an issue that you are noticing on all your prints, you should check out the mechanical aspects inside, looking for issues like the belts and pulleys slipping or not properly placed in the printer. It may even be an issue as simple as tightening the drive set screw.
It could be a good idea to check out your printer’s user manual to see what they suggest for troubleshooting this issue in your specific model of printer.
Why are your prints misaligned?
Another common issue that is similar to this problem is that they layers shift, making your prints misaligned. This can be something that can happen simply by you accidentally bumping into the printer while it’s printing. However, if you do notice an issue with your layers shifting, there are a few reasons why this can happen such as:
- Toolhead Moves Faster
If this part moves too fast, the 3D printer may not be able to keep up with your needs. By moving faster than the toolhead can handle, you will get misaligned prints. Try reducing the printing speed to see if this fixes the issue.
- Internal Printing Issues
There could also be a mechanical or electrical issue that is causing the problem. If after reducing the motor speed there is still an issue, it’s likely an issue with the electrical or mechanical processes of the printer.
One issue that is common here is the belts, which can stretch out over time after several uses, as it’s made out of rubber material mixed with fiber. Once the tension from the belt becomes too loose, it may slip off of the pulley while it is rotating so that the pulley isn’t rotating anything anymore. A belt that is too tight can also be a problem.
Lastly, you should check the motor. Sometimes a screw can come loose and lead to a variety of different issues including that the pulleys aren’t rotating together with the motor shaft, causing misalignment.
What are some other issues that can occur with 3D prints?
There other issues that you may notice with 3D prints, including:
Warping can happen as the plastic from the model begins to cool and contract. When this happens, the plastic can shrink as it pulls on itself and this could eventually bend up and warp. You can prevent this by using a heated platform as this can prevent the model from getting to that point of solid where it starts to warp. It needs to be bonded to this platform and it should be level to avoid any warping issues.
Is your print leaning? The friction within the print head is usually responsible for this type of problem. When this happens, the print head doesn’t move the distance required, rather it goes a shorter distance. To fix this specific issue, you will need to make sure that there is no friction, which is generally caused by the belts that connect the stepper motors and axes rubbing up against the printer.
This refers to when bumps appear on the top of the surface, sometimes these are open and sometimes these are closed. One way to prevent this problem is by ensuring that the cooling fans are moving at the highest speed when laying down the top layer of the model. If this isn’t properly cooled, that’s when the ends will start to curl and stick up over the surface of the top layer. Another way to prevent this is by ensuring that you create a thick enough top layer so that the printer is able to properly close the model.
- Elephant’s Foot
This is a common issue that you may notice when printing out your model. In many cases, the first few layers are printed out wider than you may have intended. The reason this happens is because you want to make sure that the base layer can be properly attached to the platform. By lowering the temperature that you are using and moving the nozzle a little away from the bed, you can decrease the impact that this effect has on the model. There’s also the option of using a chamfer at the bottom of the model, but you’ll have to do some trial and error to make sure you use it properly.
Stringing refers to the little strings of plastic are left on the object you have printed out. The best way to prevent this from happening is by ensuring that you have retraction enabled as you print, which will cause the filament to suck in just a little bit to prevent the plastic from drizzling out of the nozzle. In addition to changing your settings for retraction, you can also increase the travel speed to prevent this issue.
What do you need to know about part orientation?
The part orientation plays a major role in the completed project. For instance, if the orientation is vertical you can lay down circles on top of each other to make a cylinder. However, if they are horizontal this will end up making a rectangular shape instead. There is a very noticeable difference when you see the same thing printed with a different orientation of the parts.
Not only can this impact the look of the model, but it can also impact how long it takes to print something. When you print something out with the horizontal orientation, it can take a lot less time to print out the model than if you use a vertical orientation because the printer will have to print out fewer layers.
It can also have an impact on the strength of the object printed, which is especially important to look at when you are printing out parts for something. If you are printing out parts, you will need to make sure that you use the right orientation for that objects needs. If you print out objects in the XY direction, this will make the piece significantly strong than when compared to the Z direction.
This all means that it’s important to consider the use of the object that you are printing out to help determine the best approach for printing.