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9 Common Reasons Why Your 3D Printer Is Skipping Layers

3D printers are great for making prototypes, models, and customs parts. However, many issues may cause your 3D printer to print incorrectly, like skipping layers. If your 3D printer is skipping layers, it’s important to figure out why it’s doing that to determine whether or not you can easily fix the problem yourself. 

9 common reasons your printer may be skipping layers:

  1. The filament diameter is incorrect.
  2. Your 3D printer has an incorrect filament type.
  3. Your 3D printer’s nozzle is dirty.
  4. The nozzle is too close to the print bed.
  5. There are bed leveling issues.
  6. The printing speed is too high or low.
  7. You’re using the wrong temperature.
  8. The print file type is incorrect. 
  9. Your 3D printer’s retraction is too long or short.

Read on to learn these reasons in more detail.

1. The Filament Diameter Is Incorrect

The diameter of the filament can often be the cause of skipped layers. If the filament is too thick, it won’t fit through the nozzle correctly, and if it’s too thin, it may not have enough mass to produce a good print.

Using the correct filament diameter is crucial for a successful print. The diameter should be the appropriate size for your nozzle. Most printers use either a 1.75 mm (0.07 in) or 2.85 mm (0.11 in) diameter filament.

Always check your printer’s manual to ensure you’re using the correct filament diameter.

2. Your 3D Printer Has an Incorrect Filament Type

There are many different filament types available on the market, and each one has its own unique properties. For example, some filaments are better suited for printing large parts, while others are better for smaller prints.

Different filament types have different melting temperatures, and if they aren’t made of the same material or come from a reputable manufacturer, it may be incorrect. In addition, the material you use must be compatible with your printer, or you could experience issues.

Low-quality filaments may contain additives that can cause nozzle jams and skipped layers. Therefore, it’s crucial to use the correct type of filament for your project to ensure your print comes out correctly.

3. Your 3D Printer’s Nozzle Is Dirty

A 3D printer’s nozzle heats up and melts the filament for printing. The temperature of this component can reach upwards of 250°C (482°F), meaning it can quickly burn and create dirty filament residue. If the nozzle is dirty, it’ll produce bad prints and skip layers in your print because there’s too much friction between the filament and its surface.

When the nozzle becomes too hot during a print, there are deposits left behind on its surface that can cause several issues. If your nozzle is dirty with burnt plastic from previous models, you need to clean it before starting a new print. It will help the filament to flow correctly.

It would be best if you periodically cleaned out your nozzle with a small drill bit to keep it from becoming clogged or glazed over so your prints won’t skip layers.

4. The Nozzle Is Too Close to the Print Bed

If the nozzle is too close to the print bed, it’ll cause heat issues and may result in skipped layers. When the nozzle is too close, it can cause the filament to stick to the bed and not move correctly. It will create a poor print quality and may result in your printer skipping layers.

You must have the correct distance between your nozzle and the print bed for optimal printing results. The recommended distance for the nozzle is usually 0.06 mm (0.002 in) to 0.2 mm (0.008 in) from the print bed.

5. There Are Bed Leveling Issues

If your printer’s bed isn’t leveled correctly, that can also be a reason for skipped layers. When the bed isn’t leveled, it can cause the nozzle to be too close or too far from the print bed. It will result in inconsistent prints and may cause your printer to skip layers.

Always check that all four corners have an even distance from the print bed before starting your print. You can do this with a simple calibration sheet or by using online tools.

There are many ways to level your printer’s bed. For example, you can try a leveling tool or some blue painter’s tape to help balance the bed correctly. Leveling the bed is essential in printing, so make sure you do it correctly.

If you’re unsure how to level your bed, refer to the user manual for specific instructions.

6. The Printing Speed Is Too High or Low

If the print speed is set too high, it may cause uneven layers. On the other hand, if you have a very low setting, that can also lead to skipped layers because of a lack of material in some parts of the model.

The ideal printing speed for most printers is between 30 mm/s (1.18 in/s) and 90 mm/s (3.54 in/s). If your printer’s settings are outside of this range, it may cause problems with the model. You can test out new speeds to see what works best for you, but always use caution when testing new speeds because too high or low could negatively affect your print.

7. You’re Using the Wrong Temperature

If the temperature of your printer isn’t set correctly, it can also lead to skipped layers. It’s because the filament needs to be heated to a specific temperature for it to print correctly. If the filament isn’t hot enough, it won’t melt properly and may cause skipped layers.

Likewise, if the temperature is too high, the filament may burn and leave residues that cause issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to use the correct temperature for your specific material to print successfully.

8. The Print File Type Is Incorrect

If you’re using an incorrect file type, that can also cause skipped layers or issues with your print’s surface finish. Make sure your settings match what is required for the material you’ll be printing. The most common file formats are .stl and .obj.

If you’re not sure what the correct file settings are, consult your printer’s user manual or search for the specific instructions online.

9. Your 3D Printer’s Retraction Is Too Long or Short

Retraction is the process of removing excess filament from your nozzle. It helps prevent drooping or oozing while moving between different parts of your model.

If this function is set too long, it’ll cause skipped layers by leaving gaps in your print and not providing enough material for each part of the model. Likewise, a setting that’s too short can leave excess material on your model.

You should adjust this function based on the filament you are using, so always refer to your printer’s manual for specific instructions or search online if you’re unsure how it works with your machine type.