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To start with, as stated in the title, I am very new to 3D printing.

We're a toy/boardgame shop and we're experimenting with 3D printing because it could open up a huge market for us. To this end, I'm asked to try to get this off the ground, but also for me it's a big experiment.

General Information

Printer: Craftbot Plus
Slicer: CraftwarePro (1.1.4.368)
Filament: PLA - 1.75 mm
Designed in: Tinkercad

Problem

I designed a puzzle box in Tinkercad. Here are some images of the design:

Screenshot of puzzle box designed in Tinkercad

I've printed it twice, but both have some problems. I made some pictures, hopefully showing the flaws clearly.

Print 1

This print actually came out pretty ok, but not the quality I'm looking for.

Photo 1 of a printed model #1 with printing errors on bottom layer

Photo 2 of a printed model #1 with printing errors on bottom layer

Photo 3 of a printed model #1 with printing errors on bottom layer

Print 2

For some reason, this one came out way worse in my opinion. I didn't change any settings. The reason why I made this second print is that there are some design flaws in the first print.

Photo 1 of a printed model #2 with printing errors

Photo 2 of a printed model #2 with printing errors

As you might be able to tell, this one has some more severe problems, like the prolapse on one of the corners of the lid and some threads that just seem to be broken off here and there.

Question

My question is basically, what is likely to be the problem, and how should I solve them. Are there some settings on the printer, or in the slicer that needs to be changed? Or could it be something with the design, for example, would it be better to have the lids laying down on the bed, instead of standing up as I have them in the design right now?

Also, here and there seem to be threads of plastic where I think there should not be any.

What have I found myself

Since I'm very new to this, I wasn't really sure what to search/look for. I know it's expected to do some research yourself before posting any question, but I really didn't have a clue where to start.

Though, while typing in the question, 2 suggestions showed up:

Suggestion 1

I have bad print quality, what should I do?

I'm not sure this looks like any of my problem areas, but somewhat similar.

Suggestion 2

Bad quality at horizontal faces

This looks very much similar to how some of my areas look. Is the problem described in this post indeed the same as mine, based on the pictures?

Conclusion

In both posts, "Under Extrusion" is mentioned this is probably something to look into?

Some personal observations

There are 2 things I noticed myself, maybe some conclusions can be made from this:

  1. Something else I'm noticing while heating up the extruder is that plastic already leaks out in a very thin thread before it actually starts printing.

  2. When the print is done, I notice thin threads of plastic between the different objects (Like a spiderweb), this probably has something to do with point 1.

  3. When the printer is starting, I notice that the very first threads of plastic are not a fluent string, but sometimes get interrupted, as if no plastic is coming out of the extruder for a short moment.

Conclusion

Hopefully, I provided every information that is required to answer this question properly. I'm looking forward to any offered assistance.

In case any additional information is required, I'm happy to give this next time I'm at the office.

P.S. I had to remove 6 links (pictures) to get to my maximum of 8

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    $\begingroup$ It's quite a read! Welcome to 3DPrinting.SE! One of your prime problems is adhesion the other is orientation of the prints for printing, $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Jul 15, 2022 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ Oscar is correct but also I'm seeing some bonding problem, this is for the quality of the filament, a higher temperature may help, but the low quality of the filament will remain. this becomes breakable parts, I had that problem with 2 reels last year. I had to use it on low streng parts. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2022 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Looking at your username, I'd say you are located in the same country, you can get very good quality filament produced in the Netherlands at reasonable prices. Postage is free for the Netherlands. What filament brand did you use? $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Jul 21, 2022 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ @0scar We are indeed from the Netherlands. The filament we used is from Layers. Im not sure if that is the actual brand of the filament, but that is where the filament is from. Also thanks for your short and long answer, definitely some information in there I can work with. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to 3Dprinting.SE! Lay3rs sells the brand I was referring to, ColorFabb. Note that SE is not a forum, it's just questions and answers driven by voting. Please stick around, ask questions, vote for good questions and if your reputation gets over 50 you can vote for answers. You can always accept an answer on your own question, you can even add your own answer and accept it after 48 hours. Please take the tour for more information on how stack exchange works. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Jul 21, 2022 at 12:36

3 Answers 3

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There are several issues at hand here, first you have an adhesion problem.

enter image description here

This print shows that the print (as it is printed upright) has come loose during printing and lifted up. Such a print should have been printed as it is now laying on your table. You will then also get far better quality of printed holes. So, second is print orientation on the build plate.

enter image description here

This shows another example of adhesion problems, but it also shows that you initial distance between the nozzle and the bed is slightly too large. The paper method usually works fine, but you can use feeler gauges. Alternatively use a specific 3D print adhesion spray (3DLAC, Magigoo, DimaFix) or alternatively some hairsprays or glue sticks.

Third, design. Just a tip, I see that your design uses some sort of a pin:

enter image description here

you should avoid thin pole/spike like prints. These are difficult to print and usually very weak. Think of an alternative, an embedded shaft or a bolt is usually a much better solution.

enter image description here

Fourth, this shows that there was no filament printed, it could be that the spool had extra resistance or the filament was entangled. Check your filament spool.

enter image description here

Fifth, this shows that you have a retraction problem, the filament pressure is still too large when the head moves to the next coordinates, it then oozes until the pressure has been released. Changing retraction speed or distance may help.

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I've also found recently that using 4 different slicers, I get 4 different results.

I was getting lots of zits on rounded surfaces such as cylinders/spheres.

I have an Ender 5 S1 with a Sonic Pad, printing at 200 hot end, 60 bed with default slicer settings for my printer.

I used:

  • Creality Slicer
  • Creality Print (still confused why Creality has 2 different slicers, and which one is the recommended one)
  • Ultimaker Cura
  • Prusa

Cura was the only one that produced zits. The other 3 printed very nicely.

Prusa was showing "artifacts" through the cylinder when there were threads on the inside. Basically, it looked almost like the threads were extruding through the entire outer wall of the cylinder (it was a female-threaded cap).

Creality Slicer was ok, but slower than all of them.

Creality Print was almost 2x faster than all of the other slicers, until a more complex print was performed and then Prusa seemed to be slightly faster.

This is an old thread, and I'm pretty new to 3d printing, but thought I'd share my experience here with different slicers in case they are having print issues, too.

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    $\begingroup$ Creality Slicer and Creality print are Cura derivates. The quality of your printing in Cura is highly dependent on your settings. I just printed a Cura 5.0 sliced object with seams only visible in two tiny spots, using my custom profile. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Feb 2 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ Good point, @trish - I should have mentioned these were mainly default settings for my printer (in fact, Cura's default setting has the bed size incorrectly, so I have from time to time, received "out of bounds" and had to tweak it.). Interesting update, I've been printing some Mario objects from RICO3DMAKER on Cults3d and am having issues with zits using Cura Print, but Prusa is showing them almost perfectly. So much to learn! $\endgroup$
    – DustinB
    Feb 3 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ The "Zits" often are the Z-seam $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Feb 3 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure this is the same. My prints with Cura have random locations all over, not just down the seam. I will try to find some time to play with this setting though and see if it improves the prints. $\endgroup$
    – DustinB
    Feb 5 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Another common reason for zits is uneven filament $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Feb 5 at 16:14
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Adhesion

Try raising your bed temperature a couple of degrees at a time. Presumably your filament has some "suggested temperatures" on the spool, but they sometimes only give a hotend's temp. For PLA some people get good results with a 50 degree C bed, I find nothing less than 60 degrees C. Esun's rec seems to be 60-80 for the bed.

For the hotend my esun PLA+ suggests 205-225 and I print at 218.

Depending on the environment, draughts can upset things and trigger lifting. If the printer is in a place where there are winds/breezes, or airconditioning that cycles on and off, the temperature fluctuations can start lifting. Try putting your printer somewhere that there is no wind and air conditions are static. I have a curtain around mine, and some people use enclosures made from popup laundry baskets or similar. Doesn't have to be fancy.

You can try things with light layers of water-soluble gluestick on the bed, which works for me. Others have had success in laying blue painter's tape on the bed but I found the heat made the adhesive a hot mess.

Orientation

That pin will never work - 3D printing has layers and items are always weak along the layers. So that part is a poor candidate for 3D printing.

Instead, buy a large assortment box of M3 nuts and bolts. These work much better than thin printed parts.

Also, that large lid should be printed laying flat on its back. Even the action of the bed moving around could be creating enough breeze to cool that part quickly and cause shrinkage.

Design

That dovetail at the foot of the box, as printed it will have a layer line right across the base. Since that looks like the most economical way to print this part, you might consider making the dovetail a lot wider, and it may need a slight draught angle added to help the lid engage smoothly.

The lid might spin around the pin and whack the dovetail clean off too - perhaps the two sidewalls should be raised so the lid only slides off in one direction?

Lack of filament

Holes in a printed part are a kind of under-extrusion, and mean there's not enough plastic at that time. If your roll of filament is under friction then the printer may not be able to pull it in fast enough.

Also if the hotend isn't hot enough it may not be melting quick enough for your print speed, or there may be clogs in the nozzle from contaminations in the filament.

Suggestion

Start by levelling the bed, and then print one item in your set. Use a "brim" to improve adhesion, and it will be done first. As your printer starts the job, watch it closely and manually adjust the bed on the fly.

Imagine these as side-views:

____ __ _____ Nozzle is way too low, you're scratching the bed
____ __ ____ Nozzle is too low, so drop the bed down a bit. The filament should have colour.
____ __ ____ This is about right.
____ o _____ Nozzle is a bit too high
____ O _____ Nozzle is a lot too high
____ O _____ Filament is floating in the air which is sub-optimal

Ideally you want to feel the printed filament line as a flattened line stuck to the bed, and not a round string lying on the print bed. It should almost feel like the edges of a sticker.

Of course, the printer is moving all the time. Do not get in its way, and if you do block the motion in any direction then the print will likely be ruined.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer, definitely some information and tips in here I can look at. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 11:31

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