3d printing tips?

I’ve got everything up and running, but really struggling to get a good print. I always cancel after the first layer if I can see things are going badly.

I’ve bought a heat bed, over which I have a mirror tile for a nice printing surface. My print seems very inconsistent - i’ll get nice lines for the outline, but as soon as something goes ‘wrong’ (i.e. a raised area), it then goes completely wrong on the next layer and just gets worse as it goes up.

Are there any tips for how I could try to ensure a more consistent print? I’m using the settings shown on this website. Is one of the problems the distance from the surface when it starts? Any idea what distance the first layer should be printed at?

So many questions!

Pictures are worth a million words in this case.


There are tons of first layer guides and pictures out there.

You should be starting with the nozzle zeroed out just barely touching the surface, it will automatically move up the exact distance it should.

If I don’t know what’s causing my problem, I like to look here:





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Ryan, your test IE part on the page prints absolutely perfectly, but when I export from slic3r myself, it seems completely wrong. It seems to go a lot slower and the results arent anywhere near as good.

I’ve checked and double-checked that i’m using the same settings as shown on the page. Is there any config file you could upload so that I can ensure I’m using the exact same settings as you?


Edit: It looks like you made the test IE part using Simplify3d. Is this software something you’d recommend?

Hmm, I’ve powered through a very dodgy first layer using slic3r and it seems I’m getting a perfect print now. I think getting the first layer down nicely is my big problem.

I figured I didn’t have enough heat, but my build platforms keep smashing when I turn the heat up too high (and for too long)


Edit: Half way through I heard a split second of ‘grind’ sound, and the part started printing about 1cm to the left of where it should’ve been printing. What can cause this?

It almost always is. When the first layer is right, the rest is a breeze.

Skipped steps. Something caused a jam. The motor needed more current to get through it, and the current needed exceeded the current limit. When 3D printing, you should be jamming… Probably.

Can you post some pics? Your machine, your build plate setup, your prints that work and your prints that don’t? I think Ryan or I will might find a few things wrong.

I personally haven’t used simplify3D, but I’ve had a lot of luck with slic3r and cura.

Also, wrt the jam, if it was printing 1cm to the left, then the jam was when it was trying to go right, if that helps.

Hmm, the current thing would be suspicious because I’ve got 10 amps running the motors at the moment.

I’ve tried loosening the belts slightly and I’ll give it another try.

I’m running out of build surfaces - the glass panels I’m using keep cracking. I’ve noticed that the first layer from the Simplify3d gcode seems a lot… better… than the slic3r one. I’m not too sure what the difference is.

Last couple of days of trying to get this working before my wedding and honeymoon!

Like we said, pictures will help. Seeing your code will help. Your descriptions are extremely common issues but if we can see your build and your code we can give you a specific solution.

Here’s an example of it going wrong:

The outline at the top-left of the image has gone wrong, and part of the fill has started to pull up

Your heater is upside down, generally you need borosilicate glass, and should not be sitting on wood so you don’t start a fire. The tappe can not overlap as the layer height is thinner than the tape, you can’t just use any tape, 3M blue seems to work best after an alcohol wipe.


Your layer height seems to be fine but I doubt your bed is at the right temp (your heating the wood) and that tape is probably not going to work.

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Thank you :slight_smile:

Ok I’ve ordered some M3 blue tape and I’ve flipped the heater.

In the meantime I’ve tried putting glue on the surface and printing on that… so far so good.

There seems to be a bit of a build up on the nozzle, but it doesn’t seem to be causing problems yet.


Thanks for your help!

Jeffeb3 - thanks for that link. Really helpful.

Spoke too soon. Reached about layer 8 before it shifted by about 3mm. Gah!