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I was having some issues with printing, most noticeably in this picture:

The layers are very noticeable and sometimes have gaps, and the overhangs don't print very well (although the former is more of an issue). I just calibrated my E-steps so I don't think that is the issue. It was doing the same thing before I upgraded anything (i.e., I had issues on stock hardware).

My printer is an Ender 3 with the metal extruder upgrade (which replaces the plastic parts as seen here), an E3D v6, printed fan duct (Bullseye), glass bed, BLTouch, and vanilla Marlin. Pictures of it are also in the below album. The printed upgrades were printed on a Prusa MK3S and don't have the same issue.

I am using Hatchbox 1.75 mm gray PLA, printed at 215 °C with my bed at 60 °C. I am using Ultimaker Cura 4.1 but was also having the problems on an older version of Ultimaker Cura (maybe 3.6, but I can't remember which it was). The problems also existed with some Hatchbox 1.75 mm black PLA but I used the same roll on my Prusa MK3S without any issues, so I'm not sure if filament could be the cause (although it is a different printer so it's still a possibility).

I have tried at different printing speeds and the problem still persists.

I also recently tried varying the temperature during printing (first up to 222 °C then down to 200 °C) with no noticeable difference.

Extra pictures here.

Model is part of Printable Scenery's sorcerer tower.

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  • $\begingroup$ This typically happens when the belts are not tight. Note that a Prusa printer is of better quality than an Ender. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Aug 1 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is a great printer. I figured I would include that to try to rule out non machine issues. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Aug 1 '19 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ I was able to determine the cause of the problem. Combing was allowing too much filament to ooze out during long travels and reducing the max distance for combing removed the consistent gaps in the prints. I will add an answer detailing this. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Sep 12 '19 at 15:19
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These lines could be caused by a mechanical issue with the printer; it looks as if the positioning is not up to par.

This can be related to loose belts of the X-axis and Y-axis, or play in your system, e.g. look at the rollers of the carriage.


I've experienced an issue with play between the idler mounts and the smooth linear rods on a cheap 3D printer kit myself, but that is not the case here. Just added to explain where play may come from.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information, I will look into that tonight and update accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Aug 1 '19 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ I was going to write an answer when I got back from mobile to desktop, and yeah, this is pretty much exactly what I thought. Almost surely something is too loose; if not loose, otherwise mechanically irregular. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Aug 1 '19 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ I tried tightening the belts and printing again, but the print has the same layer issues as before (even in the same locations). I will test again to verify, but I think the issue may like somewhere else. I will update my question accordingly after I do some more testing. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Aug 2 '19 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Blubberguy22 It is fair to say that this may be an answer that solves such problems. In your specific case the solution has to be found elsewhere, I'll leave leave the answer for others that may stumble onto this question having similar issues. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Aug 3 '19 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Oscar definitely, and I think I may still have to tune my belts a bit anyways. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Aug 3 '19 at 11:00
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The main issue here (the gaps between layers) was solved by reducing combing.

Combing was enabled without a limit on the range so a max combing distance of 10 mm was introduced. This prevented too much filament from oozing out during travels.

The oozing filament was causing nothing to come out of the nozzle at the beginning of an extrusion, thus creating the gaps that were consistent in location.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. Could you see oozing/stringing happening inside the infill area? Your experience could be a useful data point for boosting this Cura issue I have open: github.com/Ultimaker/CuraEngine/issues/1084 $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Sep 12 '19 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Also, it might be interesting to retry this if you ever upgrade your Ender 3 to later Marlin with the Linear Advance feature. In theory it should greatly reduce the amount of oozing that can happen while combing over unprinted area (space between infill lines), and might be sufficient to stop it without limiting combing. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Sep 12 '19 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ Good suggestion, I'll take a look into that feature if I have time. I'll try to add details later when I'm with the printer. As I remember, the oozing/stringing was not apparent during printing (I just stated that because I assume that was how the problem occurred), but adjusting the combing clearly removed the artifacts (I ran everything the same except the combing changed). The infill in both cases looked identical to me. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Sep 12 '19 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, I just looked at them. There is a clear lack of stringing in the large infill areas but not the small ones in the combing reduced print. $\endgroup$ – Blubberguy22 Sep 18 '19 at 12:08

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