I recently got an Ender 3 Pro and had a blast with it for the first few days, but then I got greedy for a better print and threw off my calibration with some "upgrades" and ended up with some really nasty elephant's foot. The first 3 mm are all bubbly and uneven as if someone heated it up and squished it slightly.

I've read the other forums and have made sure my belts are tight, my bed is perfectly level, and my filament is just fine. I've tried using rafts to take the blow from the deformity and that usually helps but even with my initial layer horizontal expansion setting turned to -1, I'm still getting a little bit for flaring on the base layer on the raft.

The upgrades I got were an aluminum extruder housing (single drive) and Capricorn tubing.

3D printed calibration cube with elephant's foot

After addressing the comments, now my corners on bigger prints come up and commonly fail even bed level tests... and the prints that do work (that I do print on a raft) are incredibly weak and break when I pull it off.

Furthermore, I’ve been fixing several things like suggested in comments and nothings worked, now for the most part every part I’ve printed that’s longer then 2 hours has failed.

enter image description here

Yes that is brand new capricorn tubing... the old fittings dug through my old tube and caused the filament to melt in the tube and ruin it.

  • $\begingroup$ That is not a defect called elephant's foot! Look into question: "PLA Issue printing first 3 mm with Ender 3 Pro". $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 21:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if there is a known/accepted term for the defect shown in the first photo... if not then we should coin one (assuming, of course, that it has a known and reproducible cause)? Maybe something with alteration - like "bubbly base", or (even better) bubbly bottom? Regardless, the title of the question should be changed. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 0:11

2 Answers 2


The following is from the article "Elephant's Foot - Easy Fixes" on All3DP.com

As we’ve explained, elephant’s foot most often occurs as the result of an uncooled first layer. If the temperature of the print bed is too high, or if there’s insufficient cooling, the first layer may not cool properly, causing elephant’s foot.

Here are a few things to try to reduce or even completely resolve elephant’s foot on your prints:

  • Level the print bed and adjust your nozzle: Before trying anything else, make sure your printing conditions are ideal. Sometimes elephant’s foot is simply the result of an unleveled build plate or an incorrect nozzle height. These issues both cause the first layer to be squished too far down, forcing it to bulge out. Fortunately, they’re easy to fix, as both leveling the build plate and slightly increasing the nozzle height (in your slicer) are simple and quick.
  • Lower bed temperature: Incrementally lower the temperature of your bed by 5 °C until it successfully prints without any bulging. If you lower it by more than 20 °C outside the recommended temperature and the problem isn’t getting better, the elephant’s foot is likely to be caused by something else.
  • Print with a raft: Because the problem exists between the first layer and the bed, a raft can take the hit for you. This is less of a solution and more of a workaround, but it can be very helpful if, for example, you really need one piece to slot into another.
  • Add chamfers to your model: In some rare cases, elephant’s foot can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Instead of tweaking your printer, it may be easier to simply alter the model. By putting a small 45° chamfer on the bottom edge of the print, the effects of the elephant’s foot can be mitigated.

There is also a great YouTube video "Smooth Top Surface and No Elephants Foot Using Cura 4.7.1" from CHEP:

I had a similar problem on my Ender 3 V2 and followed the above information and cured my issues.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looking at the image of the OP, this doesn't look like elephant's foot. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ @0scar good catch, I hadn't seen that before. I just went off the OP's mention of elephant's foot. Flag as duplicate? $\endgroup$
    – agarza
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ The image is not very clear, but I'm pretty convinced that it is not elephant's foot, but I'm unsure if my linked question is the solution. Let's await for a better image or an update of the question. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 21:21

I have 2 Ender 3 Max printers. Both suffered elephant's foot after the initial setup. After trying virtually every suggestion available on the internet I eventually was able to fix them. Assuming the bed is properly leveled, I feel the most common causes are:

  1. Too much tension on the X-axis guide wheels on the right side of the printer
  2. Too little tension on the X-axis belt (it should be quite tight)
  3. Over extrusion. If your initial layers still look rough (bumpy) along the edges it may be from the excess filament. Even after careful calibration, I had to back off the E-steps by -3 (to 95). The change was dramatic!

Both printers now print the XYZ calibration cube within 0.1 mm (0.003").

Hope this helps.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you mean the Z-axis guide wheels? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Yellow
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 5:51

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