If you have noticed closely you might be aware that 3D printers are everywhere; they are used by big companies and industrial engineers for making structures, delicate parts, and much more. Printing a 3D model is easy as compared to making it manually. However, the most common problem faced by 3D printer users is Stringing.
It is also known as oozing or hanging because the plastic hangs around the model. However, it’s a widespread problem, so if you are new to 3D printing, and are worried about it, don’t worry! We have got you all covered. This article will let you know how stringing takes place and how you can minimize it using specific techniques. Now, let’s get started.
What is Stringing?
While printing a 3D model using a printer, some hairy plastic strings are left behind on the printed model, which makes it look not so good. This is known as stringing. Stringing hair is very common in 3D printing. Imagine a 3D printed cosplay helmet that has some hairy plastic strings here and there. It would look weird right?
There are many reasons why string printing happens, and there are solutions too. We have provided all the causes of stringing and their answers below in this article. Therefore, read this article till the end.
What Causes Stringing in 3D Printing?
Before moving towards the ways to prevent something, we must know its cause so we can identify the problem quickly. There are mainly 4 reasons why 3D print stringing occurs and they can be solved within minutes if you have some 3D printing experience beforehand.
1. Incorrect retraction settings
One of the most popular reasons for 3D print stringing is the incorrect retraction settings. First of all, retraction means the filament gets back and away from the nozzle. This makes sure the filament oozing from the nozzle doesn’t happen while printing. Thus it minimizes stringing. Depending on your filament material, you should change the retraction settings, including the distance and speed of retraction.
2. Wrong temperature settings
The second most common reason for stringing is the wrong temperature settings. If the temperature is higher, the filament will drip down easily and can make the model worse. However, if the temperature is low, the filament will not melt and form the model.
3. Incorrect printing speed
Sometimes, the incorrect printing speed is also the reason for 3D print stringing. That’s because if the speed is slow, the filament gets more time to ooze down the nozzle. However, if it is fast, it will stop before the 3D model is completed.
4. Blocked 3d printer nozzle
The last and also the most common cause of stringing is a blocked nozzle. If the nozzle is not clean enough, it can accumulate the old filament on the new 3D model.
Ways To Prevent 3D Printer Stringing
Now that you know the causes of 3D printer stringing, here are some preventive measures you can take to stop stringing or at least minimize it to some extent.
The first way which works mainly is enabling retraction. You simply have to find the option to allow retraction in the printer settings. Enabling retraction will ensure the filament won’t ooze out of the nozzle and will stay at its place unless the distance is covered.
However, enabling retraction is not the only thing to do here. You have to set the retraction distance as well as speed depending on your filament material.
The retraction distance is the distance a nozzle travels while retracting the filament. Furthermore, the type of extruder decides your printer’s retraction distance. To find out the perfect retraction distance, you have to use the trial-and-error method.
The retraction speed is the speed with which the filament is pulled back. However, it is not a good idea to set the retraction speed high because the filament will cool down and break in between, leading to small gaps in the model.
What Settings Should You Use For Retraction?
The retraction settings depend on the type of extruder you will be using and the filament material. However, we would recommend you to keep the retraction distance between 0.5 to 1.0 mm at first. Furthermore, start with a retraction speed of around 40 to 60 mm/s. Check out if it works or starts increasing the values by a difference of 10.
Mostly direct-drive extruders would demand a retraction distance of 0.5-2.0mm. So consider changing the direct-drive retraction settings. However, the Bowden extruders might require as high as 15mm because of the long distance between the heated nozzle and extruder drive gear. So you can reduce stringing 3D printing by adjusting the retraction settings.
As stated earlier in this guide, having the wrong temperature settings can also cause stringing of a model. The filament will start oozing out if the temperature is too high, and the retraction settings cannot help here. However, if it’s too low, the filament will solidify and block the 3D printer nozzle.
Therefore, try keeping the temperature at moderate levels. Also, you can try decreasing it by 10℃ and see if it works.
Adjust the Print Speed
Sometimes the 3d printer nozzle takes too long to move from one point to another. That’s when the molten filament gets time to ooze out of the nozzle. Therefore, increasing the printing speed of your 3D printer might help if it oozes faster.
However, make sure that you don’t increase the speed to too much extent that the filament doesn’t ooze out, which will leave your model incomplete.
Clean the Nozzle Before Printing
If you don’t have a habit of cleaning your 3D printer after every use, you should start cleaning it. Especially the nozzle. The residue of older material might get stuck inside the nozzle, which will affect the appearance of your new model. Therefore, make sure you keep the nozzle and overall machine clean.
Keep Your Filaments Moisture-Free
If any of the 4 given above doesn’t work for you, there might be a problem with the filament material you use. When the filaments absorb moisture, the stringing increases; therefore, make sure you keep your filaments safe and moisture-free. You can keep an airtight container for it.
Advanced Cura settings
Here is the last option you have with you if nothing above works and you want to avoid stringing. In the printer settings, search for the advanced Cura settings. You will find an option named ‘Max comb distance with no retract,’ which you have to lower.
Furthermore, there is another option called ‘fill small gaps,’ which you have to disable. This will reduce the stringing, but it will increase the printing speed, and your model will lose detailing to some extent. Besides that, you can try using it and see if it works for you.
1. Is stringing normal in 3D printing?
Yes, stringing is very normal in 3D printing. Theoretically, stringing doesn’t exist, but there is no 3D printer that can make a 3D model without stringing. However, it is better if the stringing is less. It is also recommended to do a stringing test if needed.
2. Why are my 3D prints weak?
There are many reasons the 3D prints come out weaker than expected. You can try changing the printing speed and temperature of the filament. However, if the problem persists, there is some problem with the filament itself.
3. How can I make my 3D prints smoother?
For making the surface of your 3D prints smoother, you can perform sanding or simply take a cloth dipped in a polishing liquid and rub it on the print.
As said earlier, 3D printer stringing is a very common problem faced by beginners and professionals working in big companies. Therefore, there is no need to worry about it. It can be solved easily by changing some printers’ settings.
We hope you understand everything regarding print stringing, starting from its causes to the prevention measures you can easily perform. Furthermore, we have more informative articles which will help you, so take a look at them.