Layer shifting problem in 3d printing


Troubleshooting–Layer shifting problem in 3d printing

layer shifting in 3D printing is also known as layer displaceme. 3D printing layer shifting issues are one of the most common problem.

In printing the model by 3D printer, there are often some problems, such as layer dislocation, edge warping, filament stringing, etc. These problems will affect the beauty of the model and the printing experience and even affect success or failure of the 3D printing. Some 3D printing issues are not too significant and can be fixed by post-processing. Others, like layer shifting or layer dislocation, can cause 3D printing to fail.  lots of 3d printer beginners might encounter layer shifting problems when printing their models. 

The working principle of 3D printing is “layered manufacturing, layer by layer”, and each layer is formed on the basis of the previous layer, so if you want to print a solid and reliable model, you need to make sure that the print head moves the knife to the correct position to print.

Layer shifting? What is it?

Layer shifting is a common printing problem. It is also known as layer dislocation. The layers can easily be viewed as two parts, with the upper and lower parts not appropriately aligned. If the print head of the 3D printer does not reach the specified position as it should be, or the position of the printing platform has changed, the newly printed layer will shift to the other side. For example, the upper layers are shifted to the right side or the left side as a whole. The upper layers are not properly aligned with the lower layers, and the printed items create a staircase appearance.

It is usually associated with the abnormal movement of the X and / or Y axes, filament entangled, moving of the print head when refeeding filament, causing the printer sprinkler not to move to the correct position during printing.

In this articlem we will discusses the causes and solutions of layer shifting. Now, let’s dive into this topic, and helop you to troubeshoot these layer shifting problems.

1. Problem with the model itself

There are usually three options to obtain the model files: Download the model file from the Internet; design the model yourself and get the model file through the scanner. Sometimes, models downloaded from the Internet have layer shifting problems. After slicing the model, you will see a preview of each layer. You can also preview it afterwards to check if each layer is normal. The model may be causing a sudden appearance of lines in other layers. We can fix layer shifting/layer displacement by keeping the model file intact, changing the model’s location, then re-slicing it. The software will then regenerate the GCode, and then we can start printing again. Or You can use 1-2 other model files to print other products to verify whether it is a problem with the model file or the machine itself.

2. Voltage is not stable

When the layer is misplaced, please check if it is a high-power appliance such as the air conditioner suddenly turned on or off. If the printing layer is misplaced when the high-power appliance is suddenly turned on or off, it may be that the voltage changes too much, leading the nozzle fails to move to the specified position. You can also add a voltage stabilizer (or a voltage regulator) to the power supply.

If the problem is not due to the sudden switching on or off the high-power appliance then you should check if the nozzle becomes stuck in the same spot and cannot move to the specified position by the program. This causes layer shifting. Sometimes the voltage on the X, Z, and Y axes can be uneven. To make the current through all three axes even and uniform, adjust the current from the motherboard’s X, Z, and Y axes.

3. The printing platform is in motion

The printing plaform is not properly fixed/tightened. It is unstable and can move.

Rarely is the latticed glass or other printing platform not tightened. Sometimes, however, this happens. Sometimes, the lattice glass plate falls or slips. You can tighten the lattice plate by using a metal clip. Then print again.

4. The printing head/nozzle is limited or restricted during the movement

There are three main reasons why the print head/nozzle is restricted:

1) filament entangled.

If the filament is caught up in any way, the filament will not be able to enter the extruder smoothly. It will cause resistance to the movement of the print head simultaneously, making it unable to follow the original route. The printing path of the rest of the model will be offset as a whole, resulting in a shifting layer/layer dislocation.

How to solve the problem: Check if the filament is entangled. If it is, you can either smoothen the filament or replace it directly.

2) Touch the printhead with your hand and move it during the printing process.

Sometimes, we have to change the filament while printing. Our hands may touch the print head during refeeding. This can lead to the offset of the printhead and layer shifting.

How to solve the the problem: In this instance, the printer user should be cautious not to touch or move the printhead. To prevent any deviations from the route/print track, the printer user should not touch the printhead while refeeding the filament.

5. The nozzle is unable to move because of the uneven layer

If there is a bulge in the surface of the printed layer/printed model, it will cause the protruding portion to accumulate and prevent the nozzle moving. This can lead to motor dislocation and out-of-step.

How to solve the problem: Check if there are any protruding parts visible on the model’s surface. Also, check if the print head hits the protruding portion when it passes by. It is important to determine the source of the bulge. Please remove any sundries or warping from the model.

6. The X-axis and Y-axis rods/guideway are too dirty and have high resistance

If there is a layer shifting, you can use your hands to move the printhead in the direction of layer shifting. This is necessary to check if there is too high resistance on the X-axis and Y-axis rods or guideway. If there is high resistance, then it means the X-axis or Y-axis rod or guideway is too dirty, which causes excessive friction when moving the print head. It is important to Lubricate and Maintain the X-axis/Y-axis rod.

It is a good idea to add lubricating oil to the X-axis/Y-axis rod or guideway regulary, to reduces friction, making it easy for the extruder and print head to move along the guideway and reduce overall wear.

How to solve the problem: Clean the X-axis and Y-axis with alcohol, and add some lubricating oil to them.

The speed of the print head is too high.

To print fast, we often use a high printing speed, which exceeds the bearing range of the motor. High printing speed makes it impossible for the motor to move to the expected position timley. In this case, the new layers will be misplaced with the previous layers.

How to solve the problem: In the slice setting, it’s better to set the print speed between 30–60mm/s. We recommend that the printing speed not exceed 60mm/s.

7. The x-axis/y-axis driving pulley/driving Belt is too loose or too tight.

A driving belt is used by most 3D printers to move the motor, and ontrol the position of the print head.

The synchronous belt is typically made from rubber and reinforced with special fiber. The belt is located on the X,Y axises and control the 3D printer’s print head. The synchronous belt can become loose/ slack over time, and cause not enough tension to drive the nozzle.

If the tension is not enough, the synchronous belt may slip on the synchronous wheel. This means that the synchronous wheels rotate but the belt doesn’t move.

If the synchronous belt is too tight, it will cause excessive friction between the bearings, thus hindering the rotation of the motor.

Both cases can result in the nozzle not reaching the desired position and dislocating new layers.

Ideally, the belt is tight enough to prevent skidding but not too tight to hinder or restrict the movement of the print head.

We also recommend you check the belts and pulleys regularly. Belts become loose over time. You can check and re-tighten them and the synchronous shaft regularly. If you find that the belt has begun to slip, it is better to buy a new one in time and replace it to reduce the chance of the shifting layer.

8. If the layer shifting problem persists after you have adjusted the synchronous belt, make sure that the fasteners on both the synchronous wheel & the Y-axis coupling are tightened.

fasteners on both the synchronous wheel in 3D printer

Y-axis coupling in 3D printer

The synchronous wheel is located above the motor. Please ensure it is properly tightened. Two fasteners hold the synchronous wheel to the shaft of your motor.

If these two fasteners of the synchronous wheel get loose, the motor will not be able to move to the right position, resulting in misplaced layers.

It is easy to solve this problem: tighten your fasteners, then print again.

9. Overheating of motor, motor driver, or power supply.

Overthing of these parts will indirectly affect the movement of the print head, resulting in the print head not reaching the specified position.

If the motor drive plate is overheated, this may cause the motor to stop running intermittently. At this time, we need to lower their temperature properly. You can use a fan to help the electronic parts of the machine dissipate heat. In this way, the machine’s motor, IC and will not overheat during a long period of 3D printing.

If you encounter the problem of the shifting layer, you should find methods to solve it timely. Sometimes procrastinating on one problem can lead to other issues.

I hope that through this article, you can better deal with the layer shifting.

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