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troubleshooting , 3d-printing-problems

Layer shifting

Layer shifting – When the layers of the object do not align properly.

When the layers of your 3D print do not align properly and the object is looking a little like a staircase, it is probably a case of layer shifting.

This mostly happens only in a few places but usually makes the entire print worthless.
With small shifts in the layer, this will lead to disturbed offset layers. If the shifts are big, it can cause your printer to print out in the air and leave a bird’s nest of filament.

Moving too fast

It might be hard to keep up for the motor of your 3D printer when you are printing at a very high speed.
If you try to move the printer faster than the motors can handle, you will usually hear a clicking noise because the motor cannot reach the wanted position —and will skip steps—the rest of the printout will be misaligned with everything previously printed. If you notice that the printer is moving too fast you can try to reduce the print speed by 50%.

Use the Simplify3D software by clicking on “Edit process settings” and select the Speed tab.

Adjust both the “Standard Print Speed” and the “X/Y Axis Movement Speed”. The default print speed controls the speed of all movements where the extruder actively extrudes filament. The X/Y motion speed controls the speed of fast movements where no filament is extruded. Shifting can occur if either of those speeds is too high.

Electrical or mechanical issues

When you have slowed down the speed and the layers continue to misalign; it is probably due to mechanical or electrical problems with the printer. For example, Tractus3D printers contain a belt that enables the motor to control the position of the tool head. These belts are made of rubber and the tension of the belts may lose tension over time which slightly disrupts the position of the tool head.

In case the tension gets too loose, the belt may slip over the drive pulley. The pulley is then rotating, but the belt is not moving. However, if a belt is too tight it can lead to excessive friction in the bearings, preventing the motors from running. Ideal is a belt that is a little tight to prevent slipping, but not too tight for the system to rotate. If misaligned layers are appearing, make sure the belts are all properly tensioned.

Check tension and wear of belts

Pluck the three belts to check their tension. They should resonate, like a guitar string. Furthermore, the tension of the three belts should be equal.

To restore the tension, perform the following steps:

  1. Home the printer (make sure the slides are all the way up)
  2. Sent printhead down in the middle to 1000mm
  3. Loosen the bolts of the idler pulley (up in the printer) with only 2 turns (don’t unscrew them completely)
  4. Push the idler unit firmly up with your hand or a tool
  5. Tighten the two screws of the idler pulley unit again to fix it.
  6. Repeat this for all three belts
  7. Make sure all belts are feeling the same in tension

A layer shift can also occur if the printhead runs into the print. Sometimes infill or overhangs can curl up, which results in the printer hitting the part. Once the printer “loses” its position, it can not recover without homing. There might be other problems that can cause the motors to lose their position. For example, it is also possible that the electronics of the motor driver are overheated, causing the motors to temporarily stop running until the electronics are cooled down.  If layer shifting persist, please contact our support department for help.