Print Quality Troubleshooting

Having issues with your prints not coming out well?  Don't get discouraged.  Learning how to get the best results from your Printrbot (or any 3D printer for that matter) can seem like a black art at times.  The truth is, it comes down to a combination of mechanical performance and having the proper settings for the model and material that you are working with.

Start with these tips

  • Start with test cube. If you are new to 3D printing, all of those awesome 3D models found online (Eiffel Tower, 3D benchy, crescent wrench, etc) can be really tempting, but just like anything else - it's best to start with the basics.  Get a really great test cube and then move on incrementally to more complicated models.  Download the 3mmbox.stl at the bottom of this article to use as a test print.
  • Only change 1 thing at a time. "Maybe it's the layer height.  Oh, no.  It's probably too much retraction.  Is the temp too high?"  ...the possibilities are seemingly endless.  As it goes with most any other type troubleshooting, monitor and adjust.  Make one change to your print settings at a time.  If you change the layer height, increase the speed, and swap your filament between prints, it will be difficult to know which change was the reason for improved results.  Change one setting.  Start the print.  Observe.  It's a good idea to keep notes of how each adjustment affected the print.
  • Slow Down!  "Okay, if I should only change one thing at a time, where should I start?" Reducing the print speed in your settings is a really effective adjustment to increase success.  Many print-quality problems are solved by simply slowing the print speed settings.  What's the rush?  Even a "fast" 3D print is still pretty slow :).
  • Start Fresh.  After an afternoon of troubleshooting prints, it can be pretty hard to remember all of the adjustments that have been made.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is to wipe the slate clean and go back to default print settings.  Cura's recommended settings for Printrbot are a great starting point.  See the screen shots below to add a "new" machine to your software.  If you rename the machine, it can be a great reference point to compare against when you decide to experiment with various settings in the future. 
  • Need more? 
     

 

How to Add a New Machine to Cura

 

1. Go to Machine/Add new machine

 

2. Walk through the Machine wizard

3. Rename the "new" machine.  Go to Machine/Machine settings

Now you can compare your "old" settings against the Cura recommended settings in case there are forgotten adjustments that were made throughout the troubleshooting process.

 
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