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Prints are generally successful, but I always get a herringbone pattern on the top and bottom surfaces and striations on the sides. The herringbone is finer with finer print qualities, but it is always there. Ditto the sides. See photos.

Always there, regardless of temperature (using a heat tower), speed (even very slow), quality in Cura, etc.

Perhaps this is the best an Ender 3 Pro can do? If so, that's fine. I'm only trying to determine what this printer is capable of.

(Perhaps I can improve the top surface with ironing, but that isn't my question.)

Some things I've done with no effect: Run PLA spool from a drying cabinet; replaced extruder; reset Bowden tube; replaced nozzle; leveled bed numerous times.

One thing I haven't tried yet (will soon): using a better grade of PLA.

Top herringbone

Side

It's a heat tower, so the top surface was 190 °C. Speed was about 50-60 mm/s (don't remember exactly). With the belt tightened, the herringbone is much finer, but still there. The walls are much smoother, by still the layers are visible. I'm just not sure what to expect from this printer. Am I supposed to get surfaces that are perfectly smooth, or is some texture to be expected?

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    $\begingroup$ This looks as if the (top) layers are under-extruding, the walls don't appear to be suffering from the same problem. What are print speeds for the shell, temperatures, etc. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 19 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ This is how it should look. You will see texture, but the lines need to touch each other, you may not see the layer beneath. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 20 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ How many layers do you have for the top and bottom solid layers? $\endgroup$
    – Perry Webb
    Sep 20 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Oscar: That's EXACTLY how my top surface looks. Very tight, regular herringbone. Not unpleasant for most purposes. $\endgroup$ Sep 21 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Not in your first image, that doesn't look correct. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 21 at 5:33
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With a replaced Bowden tube and better PLA, the herringbone is a little better, and the layering on the sides is more regular, but still there. So, based on this and photos from others here (especially @Oscar), I think the answer to my question is YES: These ARE normal surfaces from this printer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, but your first photo isn't normal unless it is sliced as such. Maybe it is best to insert a photo of the new surfaces in the answer! $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 26 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @0scar - I agree, but the OP should post their own answer, and not edit this wiki answer. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Sep 27 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Oscar -- I get the same surface that you showed in the photo you posted a link to. The herringbone is coarser or finer depending on the quality of the printing. But it is entirely regular and closed. What I was actually asking about is why there is a herringbone at all, and I see that in your photo. $\endgroup$ Sep 27 at 19:30
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The top image looks as if the (top) layer(s) are under-extruding, the walls don't appear to be suffering from the same problem.

The following image from a recent PETG print is typical for an FDM product. The deposited lines need to touch (actually, slightly overlapping, but the slicer will take care of that) each other:

enter image description here

You will see texture (especially when there is a non uniform surface, e.g. with holes, and without an option as monotonic fill in Cura 4.11 or similar disabled), but the lines need to touch each other, you may not see the layer beneath.

There are various reasons for this to happen, for instance: under-extruding because of speed or temperature issues or positioning accuracy. The walls seem to closely adhere, so this may find the cause in slicing parameters for the filling in of the layer.

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