Around about 2 weeks ago I upgraded my Ender 3 Pro with a micro Swiss direct drive and all metal hotend. I had some tuning with the PID and e-steps to do, but once that was done, it's been mostly good. However over the past week I've been having problems where my prints appear to have waves in them and after I've levelled the bed and the print gets about ~5 layers in it sounds like the nozzle is grinding against the print and I drop the bed down which I've noticed is something I keep having to listen for and intermittently drop the bed down mid-print.

I thought maybe my bed level was a little high so I went through the bed levelling with my DTI and ran chep's bed level print and watched the print and the filament was being laid down perfectly, adhesion was good and not flat. However I've been trying to print a kitchen roll holder and this is the state of the first few layers:

Kitchen Roll holder base

The layering below is where I've had to manually drop the bed mid print. I was wondering if there's a problem with my Z axis but when I manually move up and down it's fine and I even did a similar check where I measure 100 mm from the top of the bearing and set it move 100 mm on the controller and it was spot on.


My print settings/configuration as follows:

  • Ender 3 Pro with magnetic build plate and Micro Swiss direct drive
  • Bed temp: 60 °C
  • Hotend temp: 210 °C
  • Slicer: Cura 4.7.1 ( recently upgraded from 4.5.1 - wondering if that's the problem? )
  • Filament type: PLA
  • No cooling fan

I'm honestly, very stuck at the moment at what to do for the best! I have a BLTouch to install but I don't want to install it until I understand what the cause/fix for this issue is. I prefer to know pre-upgrade everything's fine so if there are issues from upgrades I can rollback to a working configuration. Any help / advise on diagnosing this issue would be appreciated! If there's any info I've missed, happy to update with it. I have only had my printer for about 6 months so still a bit of newbie.

I'm currently running a series of tests to check the temperature combinations and to see what gives me the best results. I'm starting at 210 °C and running through all bed temps 40-70 °C to check for waves with 0.5 mm height square, then running the best results through a height test with the XYZcube to see if the height issue goes away. Does anyone know if there's a way for me to batch these tests using Cura post processing similar to a temperature tower? I want to change the bed temperature per model.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could this answer answer your question? $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @0scar sadly, this has not resolved the issues of the waves. I have fan cooling disabled, however I have spent the past several hours trying different variants of bed / hotend temps to try and see if there's a sweet spot I can get to this to, but still no luck! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Did you try to increase the nozzle to bed distance? $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @0scar, would this mean modifying the z-axis offset? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, level with a thicker piece of paper, or little less drag, alternatively use feeler gauges thicker than paper. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


Since you changed the hot end, I'd start at the material diameter setting, followed by the extruder, followed by then check the movements on the z axis.

What you described - a periodic stack up of layers causing distance to the nozzle to decrease can be caused by:

  1. Outputting too much material - this is an extruder issue

most likely happens when too much material is fed into the nozzle either because the motor steps per inch is off or material diameter in slicer is smaller than real material

can also happen due to over temperature when material just drips out the nozzle among other issues.

  1. Expanding the gap too little per layer - this is a z motor issue. Diagnosis can be simple - tell the motor to move and measure how far off the commanded and actual distances are.

likely happens when axis does not move smoothly - misalignment, junk jammed in places, current too low

can also happen when steps per inch are set wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Abel, thanks for replying! I checked the diameter of the material and it's 1.75mm exactly. I checked the Z-steps in my settings and they're set to 400/mm and I checked the z axis moves the right amount by measuring both from the top of the bearing and the rail and marking 100mm and instructed the printer to move 100mm and it hit the mark spot on. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ That leaves checking your actual extruder feeding motor and your temperature. You could check the diameter of what that motor is turning, or you could mark your filament some distance and see if more than expected is drawn in. $\endgroup$
    – Abel
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 4:18

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