3D Printer Layer Shifting: How to Avoid it

The layers of a 3D-printed object can misalign during the 3D print process, resulting in visible defects. The print may be tilted if the upper layers do not align correctly with the lower ones. In some cases you may even notice cracks in the layers. This is especially true when the printhead collides with the previous layer. 

There are many factors that can cause this problem, from mechanical issues in the printer like loose belts and screws, to software errors like increasing the speed and acceleration setting of the slicer. Even if using one of The best 3D printers, if you don’t correctly set the various components of your 3D printer and slicer settings, it will cause issues during printing. But thankfully, fixing this issue isn’t hard, as we have explained below. 

It is important to tighten screws and belts properly

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The screws hold the 3D printer components in place and the belts move the printhead along the X- and Y axis. The stepper motor drives the belt and the print head moves across the build platform when the motor is turned. 

It’s important to always check all the screws in your 3D printer and the belts to ensure you tighten them well because when loose, it will cause inaccurate movements and vibrations as the printer moves resulting in layer shifting. You should be careful not to overtighten anything, particularly the belts. This will put strain on the motors.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

As well as tightening screws and belts properly, you may also want to consider lubricating extruders gears, bearings rails and other moving components to ensure that they run smoothly and with minimal friction, preventing any uneven movement which could affect your print quality. You should not overdo the lubrication, because it can attract dirt, debris and other problems. 

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