3D print wall delamination is a common problem with FDM printers and several particular filaments. The specific cause varies, from poor adhesion to wrong 3D print settings for a selected filament and model. Also, your 3D printer could have a problem, including the immediate external factors.
Here are some tips and tricks to stop 3D print wall delamination:
- Clean the 3D printer nozzle, hot end, and extruder.
- Tighten short belts, level the bed, and review z-offset.
- Reduce the print speed and layer height.
- Increase the hot end temperature and the extrusion multiplier.
- Account for shrinkage and review the fan speed.
- Enclose your 3D printer.
- Use quality 3D filaments and keep them sealed and dry.
- Increase the 3D print wall thickness and infill density.
In some cases, 3D print wall delamination may have more than one cause. Thus, you need a holistic diagnosis to solve the problem. This guide discusses all the relevant tips and tricks you may use to ensure a model turns out as intended without any 3D print wall delamination.
1. Clean the 3D Printer Nozzle, Hotend, and Extruder
Weak adhesion is the most common reason for 3D print wall delamination, layer separation, and similar problems.
3D printer nozzles are tiny, with the standard being 0.4 mm (0.016 in). A clogged nozzle will not extrude enough filament for two wall layers to bond perfectly.
To fix nozzle-related issues, clean the 3D printer nozzle using a thin needle. If your nozzle is heavily clogged with PLA or ABS filament, you may use a solvent to loosen things up. Ethyl acetate works for PLA, whereas acetone is effective against ABS. The objective is to eliminate all residual buildup and debris from the nozzle.
Be sure to check the hot end and extruder when you clean the nozzle. You may have some debris buildup and thus blockage inside the hot end where the filament moves into the nozzle. Likewise, some filament may have jammed the Bowden tube at the heat break connecting to the hot end.
If you want a more visual walkthrough of this process, check out this tutorial, which will help you clean the 3D printer nozzle, hot end, and extruder tube:
2. Tighten Short Belts, Level the Bed, and Review Z-Offset
You must flawlessly level a 3D printer’s bed, and you should review the z-offset whenever you notice an anomaly.
The same z-offset does not work for every print because the nozzle must be at a precise point or height in regards to the bed for a particular model’s design and dimensions.
However, an unleveled bed with a wrong z-offset value will cause more problems than 3D print wall delamination, often resulting in printer damage. So, keep an eye on these levels!
In contrast, loose short belts usually cause partial wall delamination. Complete delamination wherein two wall layers don’t touch is generally due to an extrusion issue.
Here’s how you can tighten the short belts on your 3D FDM printer:
3. Reduce the Print Speed and Layer Height
If your 3D printer nozzle, hot end, and extruder do not have any blockage, consider reducing the print speed and layer height for a model to prevent wall delamination.
Generally, unsuitably high print speeds and improper layer heights should cause more evident problems. However, the most visible and immediate concern may be wall delamination and poor layer adhesion.
Fast printing speeds are not ideal if you want excellent adhesion on all layers. Also, high speeds may cause extrusion problems due to the flow rate. You need the 3D printer to deposit filament consistently for the entire model throughout the session until completion.
Furthermore, review the layer height for a 3D model and reduce it if necessary. The lower your layer height for a model, the less likely it will have a delaminated wall.
A 0.4 mm (0.016 inches) nozzle deposits 0.1 mm (0.004 inches) filament more efficiently than a layer height demanding a 0.35 mm (0.014 inches) diameter. The same principle applies to 3D printing speeds, too. So, take it slow and steady if you have any problems.
4. Increase the Hot End Temperature and Extrusion Multiplier
All 3D printer filaments have specific temperatures or a range recommended by the manufacturers. Ideally, you should set the hotend temperature per the instructions. However, hot end temperatures do not remain stagnant in reality.
Thus, fluctuations can affect the molten state of the filament deposited at any point, directly affecting adhesion quality.
You may want to increase the hot end temperature if you find substantial 3D print wall delamination. Also, check the extrusion multiplier when you review the hotend temperature.
The extrusion multiplier regulates the flow rate. Like the temperature and its effect on adhesion, the flow rate of a 3D printer influences the strength of two filament layers’ bonds. More surface area courtesy of an appropriate extrusion multiplier or flow rate facilitates stronger adhesion.
However, exercise caution not to increase the flow rate to the extent where you have an over extrusion problem. Similarly, do not raise the hotend temperature to alarming levels to facilitate better adhesion. These two extremes will create new problems for you, and your prints may fail.
5. Account for Shrinkage and Review the Fan Speed
Most 3D filaments shrink, some more than the others. Account for this shrinkage in a design so that you can modify the relevant print settings. For instance, a filament vulnerable to more shrinkage should have thicker walls and higher layers than the required dimensions of a design.
If you don’t account for shrinkage while modifying a design for a selected filament, a few layers may contract as they cure, and the filament deposits may not adhere at all. Thus, you may have more than one sizable crack and irredeemable 3D print wall delamination on the model.
As you modify a design for shrinkage, review the fan speed if you think the 3D printer is cooling faster than usual. FDM printers have at least one fan for the hot end. This fan should not cool the thermoplastic in the hot end to the extent that it does not normally extrude through the nozzle.
Also, check if the layer fan is cooling and thus curing the filament faster than required. A new layer of the wall or any other part of a 3D model should have only partially cured filament so that the material can bond. Extensively cured filament layers of a model on the print bed will not bond well with the fresh hot deposits from the nozzle, and you may have wall delamination.
6. Enclose Your 3D Printer
Like the part fan on the hot end, external influences such as breezes and ambient temperature can affect a 3D print, and you may have wall delamination as a result. For instance, a relatively cool room or studio and any substantial airflow can cure the deposited filament faster. Hence, subsequent layers may not bond or adhere well, separating or delaminating.
Sometimes, creating a cubicle for your 3D printer will fix these issues. You can use wood, foam, and some nails to slap together a box for your printer, and I’ve found that doing so will drastically improve your printing successes.
7. Use Quality 3D Filaments and Keep Them Sealed and Dry
3D filaments don’t always comprise only the thermoplastic you select.
Some companies recycle thermoplastics to make 3D filaments. Lesser-known companies selling 3D filaments at very reasonable prices may have additives or unwanted substances in their filaments.
Such material can clog a 3D printer nozzle, facilitate wall delamination, and lead to failed prints. So, buy from a trusted brand and always read the reviews before you buy.
Also, you should keep your 3D filament spools sealed and dry. Do not expose the roll to moisture and dust. Significant dust buildup on 3D filament may cause the same problem as unwanted materials in the thermoplastic, and humidity makes adhesion more difficult. Use a sealable container to store a 3D filament in a dry place.
8. Increase the 3D Print Wall Thickness and Infill Density
Last but not least, review the 3D print wall thickness and infill density for a model encountering a delamination problem. Increase the wall thickness and infill density to make them more rigid and provide a larger surface area.
While 3D print wall delamination is more undesirable on the outside of your models, the interior layers and infill can also separate and delaminate. Thus, increase the wall thickness and infill density while accounting for such changes elsewhere in the design.
A clean nozzle, hotend, and extruder will sure up any 3D print, irrespective of the filament and model. Also, using an enclosure, keeping a filament sealed and dry, and accounting for shrinkage will reduce delamination in most 3D filaments.
The other tips in this guide are subjective because you must customize your specific printer and filament settings, but making adjustments is critical if you want proper layer adhesion.