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Printer Build Offset Issue, X/Y

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  • Printer Build Offset Issue, X/Y

    I have been struggling with a printing issue on my Creality Ender 3 Pro printer. I have not been able to produce finished, usable tire cleaning blocks for most of a week. The blocks print fine until they get a half inch to three-quarters of an inch high, then for some unknown reason the print shifts about an eighth inch in the long direction of the block. Sometimes more than once. The print isn't coming unstuck. Apparently a stepper motor is skipping steps or a drive belt is slipping. Something seems to be overloading the drive, or there is a problem with the gcode.

    I have tried starting over with a fresh gcode of the model. I have re-created the model from scratch on the theory the original model had become corrupted. I have slowed down the speed of the print. I have changed the orientation of the print 90 degrees on the build bed. I have tried switching from printing in PLA to PETG and back. So far nothing has worked.

    The fact the slip always occurs in the long direction of the block, no matter how I orient the block, seems to indicate that it is not a problem specific to the X or the Y drive. Nonetheless I intend to tighten the set screws on the X and Y drive pulleys, check the timing belts for damage and check the belt tensions.

    Of course I have been online trying to find solutions. What I have found is that this is a common problem without any one clear solution. Right now my best bet is to give my printer a careful once-over looking for faults. I may end up replacing components.

    There is a chance the power supply may be the issue. It may not be maintaining the full 24 volts of output, or something may be limiting the current supplied to the stepper motors. That would explain a lot. If the power supply is at fault I should be able to get it replaced under warranty.

    This all feels a bit familiar. As I have said before 3D printing is about where personal computing was in the 1980's. Whole stacks of promising uses bedeviled by weird problems that the user is left much on his own to diagnose and deal with. I lived through that era and coped as best I could. Now it is deja vu all over again.


    Ed Bianchi

  • #2
    If the skip happens in the print's length regardless of the orientation on the table it has to be a programing issue with the print file. If it only occurred along the printer's X axis then you would suspect a printer problem. Any axis binding or collision will cause a stepper to lose steps and positioning.


    • #3
      I have managed to get one finished print out successfully. Another is in process, and I hope it will come out well.

      In my general check-out of my printer I found the eccentric wheel on the left vertical frame could be tightened a bit. I also found the bed level could use adjusting. But neither of these issues seemed serious enough to cause my slipped prints.

      I did find in my printer settings two things I thought worth adjusting. One was the translation speed -- the speed of moves between printing sites. That was set at 150 mm/second. I dialed that back to 50 mm/second.

      The speed reduction was on the theory that the accelerations might be too high, possibly causing the skips. It might make sense of the fact the skips only happened towards the top of the build. F = MA, which means the force will increase as the mass being moved increases. I look at that explanation with a bit of skepticism. The mass increase is not all that much.

      The other was the amount of Z-direction retraction (print head lift) before moving between printing sites. That was set at 0.0075 mm, which was the recommended setting. I thought that was very small, and upped it to 1.0 mm. That might prevent a collision with the top edge of the print during moves. I like that theory best right now. It would explain why changing the orientation of the part on the build plate didn't seem to have an effect on the problem.

      I'm not declaring victory yet. I want to get a few successful prints in a row before I'll have confidence the problem is fixed.

      Ed Bianchi
      Last edited by HO RacePro; 12-28-2020, 11:12 AM.


      • #4
        Not saying that Enders are cheap, but.... ;-)

        Anyway, Z-hop was going to be a suggestion, so I'm glad you tried it. 0.0075mm seems pretty pointless. Most Prusa profiles use 0.6mm. 1mm would be plenty. You could probably reduce it a little and still have the benefit. And yes, it's to avoid shifts due to the nozzle hitting the print, which can happen for a variety of reasons.

        The fact that yours seemed to always happen at the same layer height does make you wonder, though. Nozzle hits tend to be more random. However, slicing errors can do things like that, too.

        the next release of Prusa Slicer has profiles for a lot of third party printers built in. It might be worth trying that when things go awry. You might find you like it better than Cura after getting used to the differences. I can send you a link to the stable release candidate if you want, but it should be available on in the next couple weeks.


        • #5
          The layer shifts did appear to be at the same height.

          My second print has turned out well. I'm telling the band they can tune up for the victory march.

          Ed Bianchi
          Last edited by HO RacePro; 12-29-2020, 11:15 AM.


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