Dear experts and 3D printer users;

I am a beginner in 3D printing field. I read couple of answers in forums and i cannot find exact answer to my problem.

Printing quality dropped when i try to write vertical axis (i mean, columns). There is no problem in horizontal axis.

My column width must be 0.5 mm, and printer nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm. I think I should write 0.5 mm column with 0.4 mm nozzle with ease.

I added messy structure to this post and you can find writing details below. Printed Structure What do you think? What is your suggestion to overcome this problem?

Printer:Ultimaker 3, Slicer:Cura,

Printing Details; Nozzle diameter:0.4 mm, Profile:Fine 0.1 mm, Layer height:0.1 mm, Wall thickness:1 mm, Top bottom thickness:1 mm, Infill density: 100 %, Gradual infill steps:0, Printing Temp:240 C, Build plate Temp:65 C, Diameter: 2.85 mm, Dimensions of the material:10X10X5 mm

  • $\begingroup$ Do you really mean 0.5mm columns? $\endgroup$
    – Mick
    Jan 23 '18 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, i mean that. I know it is unusual but column width must be 0.5 mm. The picture is taken in macro mode. $\endgroup$ Jan 23 '18 at 18:59

The main problem with your setup is the nozzle width. It is simply too big to accurately print a structure that tiny. An integral part of the filament deposition is the "smearing" of the molted plastic, that clearly can't happen if the structure is about the same size of the nozzle bore. Also the printed structure is too flimsy to resist the "suction" of such a big nozzle moving away.

I would suggest to use a smaller nozzle and/or increase the size of your pillars. A good combo would be 0.2mm nozzle with 0.6mm or 0.8mm pillars. For these small details, it would be best to have a pillar size that is a perfect multiple of your nozzle diameter.

Other settings that will help you:

  • reduce the print dramatically (try 20 or 30 mm/s)
  • use retraction (or increase its amount/speed)
  • make sure your cooling fan is 100%
  • use a sensible "minimum layer time" (try 10 seconds for a start)

The first two settings should reduce the force/impulse applied by the nozzle on the pillar.

The latter two should make sure your pillar is "solid" when extruding a new layer on top of it.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comment. I already tried to reduce speed to 20 mm/s but it makes things worse. We got the best shape with 40 mm/s. But it is still bad. I will certainly try the settings that you recommend. Do you agree with Mick? I mean, Is there a chance that I produce 0.5 mm width column with this nozzle diameter? It is so good to discuss with experienced users and learn from them. I am really appreciated your help. $\endgroup$ Jan 23 '18 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @OutcastJedi - Yes, as I wrote, "[the nozzle] is simply too big". The key is the lack of smearing, not the 0.5mm thickness per se. If you could have the columns say 1mm x 0.5, you would increase dramatically your chances of success. $\endgroup$
    – mac
    Jan 23 '18 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @OutcastJedi - 0.2mm nozzle is your best chance of success. 0.1mm nozzles being very prone to problems (clogging and printer inaccuracies). $\endgroup$
    – mac
    Jan 23 '18 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @OutcastJedi Well, you have some HINT from Mac and Mick, but some recommendations are not a "good choice" when you don't have money to afford for another nozzle. So try to use a lower temperature with a lower speed 400mm/s and layer 0.2mm or 0.25mm, then try a little more of speed until you have a better shape. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 '18 at 0:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Something you might be able to try is changing the angle of the print. So for example if you change your print to print at 30 - 45 degrees. The model will need to add a lot of external support to the print. But the vertical columns will then be printed as a slope with a longer area for the smearing action of the printers nozzle. I expect this would most likely just introduce other issues for you and add a lot of external support that would probably break the model when you remove it. But if you have exhausted all other options and are still looking for a solution it could be something to try. $\endgroup$
    – user802599
    Jan 25 '18 at 5:58

You cannot hope to print 0.5mm columns with a 0.4mm print head successfully using an FDM printer. Basically, you are asking the printer to lay down tiny blobs of filament, one of top of another. You have two options:

  1. Use a finer nozzle (e.g. 0.1mm). However, such nozzles are reported as being very difficult to use.

  2. Switch to a different printing technology (e.g. SLA). Resin and powder-based printers have much finer resolutions, and will have no difficulty printing the model that you describe.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comment. So it is a physical limit and no matter what I do I will not overcome the problem with this setup. Unfortunately, because of its price, SLA is not a good choice right now. Thank you. $\endgroup$ Jan 23 '18 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @OutcastJedi You could switch to a finer nozzle (maybe). However, I doubt if 0.2mm would do the trick. You would probably have to go down to 0.1mm, and not many people do that. If you do manage to print at 0.1mm, you will still have the problem of providing support for such narrow columns. $\endgroup$
    – Mick
    Jan 23 '18 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the advice but I do not think I can buy another nozzle right now. I achieved fair shape with 0.8 mm width columns but it is too thick. I would like to ask something else. I know many people in 3D printing field try to avoid or get rid off pores or small bubbles inside of produced samples. But, Is it possible to create homogeneous pores inside thicker columns with changing just temperature and printing speed values? $\endgroup$ Jan 23 '18 at 21:25

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