Having troubles with your 3d printer? Here some things i found to be the main causes of problems.

The first layer doesn’t stick well to the buildplate:

  • The distance between the plate and the nozzle is too high. Correct with the screws or adjust the height of your Z-Endstop.
  • It is not the right temperature. This varies with filament and heatbed surface. You have to test it out.
  • The flow settings are not right, see ‘Not enough plastic coming out’
  • The printing speed is too high. Try something between 20- 30 mm/s
  • The first layer is too thin. I always print the first one with 0.2mm.

No plastic is coming out

  • There is dirt in the nozzle.
  • The temperature is too low
  • You have changed from ABS to PLA and there still is ABS which will not or badly extrude.
  • The nozzle is too close to the buildplate.
  • The feeder doesn’t push the plastic forward.

Not enough plastic is coming out

  • The the filament diameter in the settings and remeasure it at different points on the spool.
  • Check the diameter of the nozzle in the software.
  • Check if the feeder is grinding (you can see it on the plastic if you have a bowden tube or watch it a little bit an you’ll see if the filament moves).
  • Check the ‘Steps per E’ setting in the Software and the resulting GCODE.

The retraction is not working properly, leaving imperfections

  • Check if the feeder is grinding and if the ‘Steps per E’ are correct
  • Check the filament temperature
  • If you use a bowden tube take a close look at the tube. You might have to adapt the settings to compensate for the bending of the tube and eventual space between plastic/inner wall.
    If you let the nozzle cool down with filament (so it doesn’t move any more) you can poll/push the filament in both direction at the feeder to see the backlash.

The model walls/lines are ‘wobbly’

  • Check the tension of the belts and it the pulleys are locked in the right position.
  • Enable the heatbed, it may be thermal deformation.
  • Use a raft or other surface material.
  • It there sharp shifts check if the steppers and the drivers: current too low (steppers loosing torque), current too high (driver overheating), or maybe stepper/driver dying (swap axes if you don’t have spare parts for testing).