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How to fix inconsistent extrusion

Posted by Thomas Brooks on

Inconsistent extrusion is a common issue in the 3D printing process, causing the printed part to have a poor surface finish and structural integrity. Inconsistent extrusion is seemingly randomly throughout the print and is caused by a number of factors, including issues with the filament, printer settings, or the printing environment.

To diagnose and fix inconsistent extrusion in a 3D printer, you can follow these steps:

  • Adjust your nozzle temperature: The nozzle temperature affects the viscosity of the filament and how easily it flows through the nozzle. Adjust the nozzle temperature to the recommended temperature for the filament you're using. Also, make sure that the temperature isn’t fluctuating during the 3D print. If it does, you probably need to recalibrate the PID settings for your hot end.
  • Adjust your print speed: Printing too quickly can cause inconsistent extrusion, particularly with more complex parts. Your 3D printer’s print speed is limited by your hot end’s heater, the rate of heat transfer between the nozzle and the filament, and the maximum push force of your extruder. If you exceed the capability of your 3D printer, you can run into extrusion issues. Slow down your print speed to ensure that the filament is being extruded consistently.
  • Check your extruder nozzle: The extruder nozzle can become clogged or damaged, causing inconsistent extrusion. Sometimes the clogs are only partial, and partial clogs are often responsible for inconsistent extrusion. Nozzles are actually quite inexpensive and often looked at as expendable items. Clean the nozzle or replace it if necessary.
  • Check your filament quality: Poor quality filament can cause inconsistent extrusion. Make sure that you're using high-quality filament (like American Filament) that's free of contaminants (like water) and impurities (like dust).
  • Check your filament diameter: Ensure that the filament diameter matches the diameter specified in your printer's settings, and that the filament diameter is consistently no worse than +/- 0.05. Using filament whose diameter constantly varies along its length will cause inconsistent extrusion.
  • Adjust your extruder grip force: The extruder grip force determines how tightly the filament is gripped and fed into the nozzle. Adjust the extruder tension to ensure that it's gripping the filament properly and feeding it consistently into the nozzle.

By following these steps, you can diagnose and fix inconsistent extrusion in your 3D prints, ensuring that your prints have a high-quality surface finish and structural integrity. Got thoughts? Put them in the comments.


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