Troubleshooting Common Print Issues


About this Guide

Markforged 3D printers are capable of producing high quality functional parts. In order to reliably produce quality parts you may have to 'tune' your machine for optimal performance. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with this. This guide aims to be a visual glossary of part quality issues that you may encounter and their recommended solutions.

Look through the part quality images, identify the pictures / issues that best describe your issues.

We also have several Design Guides with a tips on how to design for 3D printing to get the most out of your Markforged Printer.

 

Common Printing Issues

Plastic Under-Extrusion:
The printer is not extruding enough plastic, causing gaps in the print.

Fiber Tails:
Short segments of fiber jut out of the part's surface.

Dislocation:
The printer has encountered a dislocation error.

Plastic Blobs:
When excess plastic is extruded and accumulates on the exterior of part.

Fiber Offset:
The fiber segments are not adequatly centered relative to the part's volume.

Supports Failed:
Support structure has failed to print or did not properly support the part.

Plastic Stringing:
Strings of plastic are coming off the side of your part.

Fiber Residue:
When residue from fiber is deposited on the outside of the plastic walls.

Part Adhesion:
Part separated from the bed during printing.

Plastic Burning:
Part surface has burn marks leading to poor surface finish.

Fiber Missing:
While printing, the fiber material stopped extruding yielding missing interior volume.

Warping or Curling:
Features of the part have warped upward, away from the build plate.

 

Plastic Under-Extrusion

Under-extrusion occurs when the printer cannot push enough plastic through the print head and can result in poor surface finish.

Common Causes:

  • Plastic Nozzle Clogged or Worn Out
  • Wet Plastic
  • Plastic Tangled in Dry Box
  • Extruder Failure

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Check your dry box to make sure material is not tangled around the spindle and that there is nothing keeping your spool from spinning freely.
  2. Run the Wet Plastic Purge Line utility.
    1. If the purge line doesn't print or is under-extruded, try changing the nozzle.
    2. If the purge line shows evidence of wet material, try new material.
      Note: Be sure to throw out old desiccant packs and not to use any third party desiccant.
  3. Run the Calibration Extrusion utility and weight the extruded materials.
    1. If the weights come back with good extrusion, ensure you have proper bed maintenance and leveling.
    2. If the weight come back with poor extrusion, please Contact Support.

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Plastic Blobs

Blobs of plastic build up on the surface of the part. This is commonly associated with a behavior pattern where the print head will pause randomly during printing, for a short period of time, while continuing to extrude plastic. This behavior should not occur on firmware versions newer than App Version 2f78137.

Common Causes:

  • Memory Leak on Older Firmware Versions

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Restart Printer
  2. Update Firmware

 

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Plastic Stringing

Stringing is the deposition of Plastic material on the outside of, or between, parts in a build. Stringing occurs when plastic is expelled or leaks from the nozzle unintentionally. It can also occur when plastic sits in a heated nozzle for an extended period of time, or when part of a new layer fails to completely adhere to the layer before.

Common Causes:

  • Wet Plastic

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Replace Plastic Filament
  2. Dispose of any old desiccant or desiccant from a third party vendor.
  3. Ensure the Plastic Feed Tube is securely installed into the dry box.
  4. Ensure the dry box is securely clamped shut.
  5. Check material packaging for any signs of punctures or damage that may have exposed the material to air.

 

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Plastic Burning

Part burning is when your part has black or brown spots on or in it. For the most part burning is strictly aesthetic and will not affect the strength of your part.

Common Causes:

  • Poor Bed Leveling
  • Wet Material
  • Dirty Nozzles
  • Part Warping

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Clean the nozzles and print head.
  2. Level the print bed.
  3. Use the Brim for better part adhesion.

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Fiber Tails

Fiber tails or strings can occur any time fiber does not cut or lay down properly in a part. This is most commonly presented as short segments of fiber stringing off the side of a part.

Common Causes:

  • Fiber Cutter Issues
  • Fiber Not Adhering to Part

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Manually actuate the fiber cutter several times and verify if the servo moves:
    1. Navigate to Menu -> Utilities -> Actuate Fiber Cutter on the printer's touch screen.
    2. Press "Next" to actuate the fiber cutter the first time.
    3. Press "Retry" to repeate the test as many times as necessary.
    4. Press "Done" on the printer's touch screen to exit the utility.
    5. Clear any fiber that was knocked loose by actuating the cutter.
    6. If the cutter fails to actuate, please Contact Support.
  2. Check the bed level and fiber nozzle height for any issues where fiber appears to not be adhering to the part correctly.

 

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Fiber Offset

The fiber nozzle is calibrated in relation to the plastic nozzle in the X and Y axis. The printer contains an offset value for where the fiber nozzle is located in space and that offset value is taken into account during printing. If that offset is miscalibrated, fiber likely will not be laid down in the correct places during printing, and can even print outside of a part in extreme cases.

Common Causes:

  • Fiber Nozzle too high

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Adjust the bed level or run the Bed Level Test Print to ensure a good printing environment.
  2. Run the Fiber Nozzle Calibration Utility to correctly set the height of your fiber nozzle.

 

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Fiber Residue

Fiber Residue occurs when the plastic and fiber nozzles are not properly leveled against each other. Residue often presents as small blobs of material on the outside walls of a part. Generally, residue will only appear on the faces of the part at which the print head finishes a tool path.

Common Causes:

  • Fiber Nozzle too high
  • Print Bed too high

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Adjust the bed level or run the Bed Level Test Print to ensure a good printing environment.
  2. Run the Fiber Nozzle Calibration Utility to correctly set the height of your fiber nozzle.

 

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Fiber Missing

Fiber missing from a part over a series of layers indicates an extrusion problem or a fiber jam. Missing fiber can cause dislocations or stringing plastic material, which can damage your printer in turn.

Common Causes:

  • Fiber Jam
  • Fiber Extruder Failure
  • Out of Material

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Clear any fiber jams:
    1. The printer has a utility to walk users through clearing a jam if one is detected. For additional information, please see this Support Article.
    2. If your printer did not detect the jam, check the nozzle and PTFE tube for clogs first. For additional information, please see this Support Article.
  2. Try to load fiber. If the extruder is not able to turn or load material, please Contact Support.
  3. Reload material.

 

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Dislocation

Dislocation errors occur when the printer identifies that it has collided with the part that is printing. While printing, the printer will stop every 5 layers to run a check to determine if a dislocation has occurred. If the printer believes a dislocation has occurred, it will stop the print with an error notification. If you’ve sent the print to the printer through your network, the you will be notified of the failure via email. Users who print offline via USB or onboard storage will not receive an email.

Common Causes:

  • Improper Bed Leveling
  • Improper Bed Maintenance
  • Part Orientation
  • Part Design
  • Garolite on Print Bed Peeling Up

Troubleshooting Steps:

Troubleshooting for dislocations should be broken down based on whether the dislocation occurs on just one one part or if it occurs on all prints.

If the dislocation is limited to one specific part:

  1. If the part is warping or lifting:
    1. Enable the brim feature
    2. Change the Supports Angle in the Part View in Eiger to make the supports span shorter distances, if possible.
    3. Check out this Blog Post on Part Warping.
  2. If the part has a shallow angle or fillet that prints over supports:
    1. Change the angle to be closer to 45 degrees off the print bed.
    2. Remove large-radius fillets or change them to chamfers.
    3. Change the part orientation.
  3. For additional assistance with single parts that are dislocating, please Contact Support.

If the dislocation happens on all parts:

  1. Ensure that the print bed is well leveled and that the fiber nozzle is at the correct height. For reference, please see:
  2. Ensure that the bed is clean and is well-glued.
  3. Ensure the plastic is dry.
  4. Manually move the print head to verify that it can move smoothly around the entire printable area of the printer.
  5. Ensure the garolite on the print bed is not peeling up.
  6. For additional assistance with dislocations that occur on all parts, please Contact Support.

 

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Supports Failed

Supports can fail if they peel up off the print bed or if they are not strong enough to hold up the floors of the feature that is printing above them. Support failures usually mean print failures, but sometimes prints can finish successfully even if the supports fail.

Common Causes:

  • Bed Level
  • Wet Material
  • Print Bed Maintenance
  • Part Geometry and Orientation

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Ensure that the print bed is well leveled and that the fiber nozzle is at the correct height. For reference, please see:
  2. Ensure the plastic is dry.
  3. Ensure the print bed is clean and that there is enough glue.
  4. Orient the part or change the geometry such that the supports will be as short and small as possible.
  5. Change the Support Angle in the Part View in Eiger to make the supports span shorter distances, if possible.

 

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Part Adhesion

If a part has poor adhesion between the first layer of material and the print bed, the part can be knocked off the bed during the print. If a part gets knocked off the bed, this can result in a dislocation error or in a spiderweb of material building up in the printer.

Common Causes:

  • Bed Leveling
  • Bed Maintenance
  • Part Geometry and Print Settings

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Ensure that the print bed is well leveled and that the fiber nozzle is at the correct height. For reference, please see:
  2. Ensure the print bed is clean and that there is enough glue.
  3. Use the brim feature.
  4. Rotate the part such that there is maximum contact between the part and the print bed.

 

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Warping or Curling

Part warping is when the bottom of the part starts to peel up and away from the print bed. Warping happens when the plastic cools and then contracts. As the print cools down and shrinks internal stresses in the plastic form and pull the plastic in towards itself. Eventually the internal forces become so great that the part begins to pull away from the print bed.

Common Causes:

  • Part Geometry
  • Bed Leveling
  • Printing Environment
  • Plastic Material

Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Keep the print bed and printing environment warm during printing.
  2. Apply a thick layer of flue under the entire base of the part.
  3. Let the part cool completely before removing it from the print bed.
  4. Use rounded corners rather than sharp corners on parts.
  5. Use the Brim feature in Eiger.
  6. Design fillets or custom brims onto your part in Eiger.
  7. Change the part orientation.
  8. Use Fiber or Onyx if possible.
  9. See this Support Article for more information on why parts warp and what to do about it.

 

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