Layer separation of 3D prints is a common problem in the FDM printing process, which can directly affect the quality of printed parts, and layer separation can also lead to printing failure. Why are there gaps in my 3D print layers?
Understanding and troubleshooting common causes of layer separation, it can help us improve print quality and avoid annoying failure cases. In this article, we will provide some simple and effective solutions to prevent 3D printer layer separation, as well as repair methods.
Why are My Print Layers Not Sticking Together? Causes of Layer Separation
Usually, layer separation occurs between materials that are supposed to be bonded together. FDM printer builds the model layer by layer, and the material is extruded at high temperature to adhere to the previous layer, so as to form a complete and smooth surface print. 3D prints separation will obviously affect the quality of printing, with gaps or voids visible in the layers of the deposited filament.
Most Common Reasons of Layer Separation:
Layer separation can occur for many reasons, the most common being leveling issues and incorrect z-axis offset values, this is the first part we check and deal with. Print bed leveling is a way to regularly maintain your printer and optimize its use. When your printer needs to be leveled again, it means that different positions on the heated bed may at different distances from the nozzle. If the heated bed is not level, then the filament may have different adhesion at different positions, which is very easy to cause layer separation.
Incorrect z-axis offset have the same consequence, if the nozzle is too far from the heated bed, resulting in poor layer adhesion, is one of the common causes of layer separation. The z-axis offset values will also affect the adhesion and quality of the first layer, so they need to be set correctly according to the printing situation.
Troubleshooting Causes of Layer Separation:
The essence of layer separation is that the layers of the printed part do not bond together properly, and there are many factors in the 3D printing process that can affect the adhesion of filament.
Nozzle clogged: Uneven printer extrusion causing layer separation.
Print speed: A printer withe stable performance can better support high-speed printing, otherwise the printer runs too fast, the material can not achieve good adhesion effect.
Print temperature: If the printing temperature is lower than optimal temperature for the material, the filament may not be heated sufficiently, resulting in poor inter-layer adhesion and visible gaps.
Wet filament: Print quality is affected by the filament quality, dry filament is what guarantees a good print. But filament is water-absorbent and needs to be stored with care.
How to Prevent Layer Separation in 3D Prints: 5 Tips for Success
Method 1：Clean and maintain the 3D printer
The nozzle and print bed need to be checked and cleaned frequently. The molten filament might adhere to these parts after printing, which will affect use of printer and printing results. Clogged nozzle will hinder the normal extrusion of filament, checking and cleaning nozzle can effectively avoid printing problems such as layer shifting and layer separation. In addition, frequent use of the nozzle will have wear or tear, the distance between the print bed will become farther, so the z-axis offset also needs to be adjusted in time.
Method 2: Adjust print speed to lower
Usually, we choose to reduce the printing speed to improve print quality. When there is a risk of layer separation, turning the print speed down appropriately is a good way to give the filament more time to cool and solidify, and also to reduce filament overheating.
Method 3: Set proper print temperature
190°C - 220°C is the recommended print temperature for PLA filament, and 220°C - 240°C for ABS filament, set and adjust according to the optimal print temperature for the material. Too high or too low temperature will affect the layer adhesion of the 3D printed part. More information about on using different material: Everything about 3D Printing Filament
The printer can works well without needing to tweak settings frequently. But when you choose to print a special model, or change to a different filament, it is best to adjust the printing speed and temperature. Properly cleaning and maintaining your printer, and calibrating print settings before use, makes it easier to create high-quality prints without problems like layer separation.
Method 4: Add support structures
For some prints with complex structures, adding supports can achieve better printing results and also avoid some printing problems, such as layer separation and 3d print stringing. During the printing process, these additional supports help deconstruct the complex model, provide temporary support, improve the success rate of printing, and obtain more ideal prints. After the printing is completed, the support structure can be removed.
Method 5: Choose filament with high quality
FDM printing materials are not very expensive, and the commonly used PLA filament is know for its cheapness and ease of use. However, poor quality filament can have a direct impact on the quality of the print and lead to 3D print layer separation. Because low-quality filament is easy to block the nozzle, and impurities can also cause uneven printing, which is very easily lead to poor inter-layer adhesion and separation of printed layers.
For the selection of high quality materials, we recommend the cost effective filament of Anycubic, which is widely compatible with Anycubic Vyper, Kobra Series and other FDM printers on the market. Its advantage is that the spools are neat, the diameter is consistent, and it has strict diameter tolerances to ensure that the filament accuracy is 1.75mm ± 0.02mm. Anycubic Filament is easy to use and beginner friendly, allowing users to have a smooth printing experience.
How to Fix Layer Separation Prints
Is there a way to repair a model that has developed a layer split? Layer separation shows up as some cracks visible on the prints and can affect the quality and use of the print. If the layer separation is minimal, it’s worth trying to apply adhesive in the gaps. Using a 3D printing pen, or a hot glue gun, the gap can be filled again with melted filament. The next step is to sand the surface of the print to remove traces of restoration. In this way, tiny layer separations can be repaired. However, in the case of obvious layer separation, it is recommended to use the above methods to improve the printing quality, adjust the printer or printing temperature, then reprint parts with poor effect to avoid the recurrence of layer separation.