Number One Reason for Failed Prints- OK, my Top 6 Reasons and then some.

OK, there are many things that can go wrong when 3D printing. Here is my current list of problems I have in the past 4-5 months after printing hundreds of miniatures. But which one is the most common?

When it comes to a failed print..... its time to do some investigating on where the failure took place. Sometimes its a combination of factors. Most often not and spending just a couple minutes is going to tell you a lot. 

Here is the countdown of my personal failures!

6. Bad Resin.....yep. It did happen once! A bad bottle of resin which was a real problem to figure out. However Anycubic took it back for a refund and I purchased a new bottle. I determined this by having a bad weekend of prints using the same resin type I had been using with the same settings. The bottle had a weird marking on it as well. Something was definitely up with it. I even tried to adjust settings several times and releveling everything to making certain everything was correct. Even going back to printing a small previously successful print. 

This should not happen often. This should be very rare in fact if not unheard of.

5. Table Bump! While this seems obvious........ it happens. Worst case scenario your print completely fails at that point, moderate failure.... get some green stuff out.... and if you are lucky, nothing happened.

This is completely avoidable, but hell... life happens.

Yea, I bumped that table. Green stuff can help here though.

4. Ran out of Resin!- OK, especially on large prints check your resin vat. Hit pause and carefully refill your resin vat if you are even close. On a long print I like to make certain its got enough resin there about 3-5 hours into a print. 

Especially when doing printing tanks.......... Check your resin.

This happens, hopefully only that one time.......

Resin ran out. My bad.

3. Crowded Build Plate- Ive had this happen several times. My build plate is pretty full and a part of a print fails or ends up looking weird. Id say 98% of the time or better I have no overcrowding problems even with prints right up next to each other. 

I have begun to think that with larger items you need more space between other items. 

Most things can be almost right up next to each other. However this practice will occasionally result in errors. Doesn't mean I wont stop doing it though. 

Small Error due to overcrowding. Small part too close to some Big ones.

2. Failed Supports... Now this one happens and sometimes its a mystery. I generally use pre-supported stl files from very solid Patreons. I have ran into problems though. 

The most common thing to do is to just add a couple additional supports in the program. Add these supports at the location where the failure started and or at the very beginning of the print (closest model location to the build plate.)

On non-supported miniatures make certain you get a 30-45 degree angle and then use the auto add support functions in your programs. This gives you the best chances of success.

Bases!- yes these are a common failure for me. Titan Forge so far does them extremely well (and the best in my opinion). I will do an article on printing bases in the near future. Ive tried it all. Non-supported bases can be a problem.

Supports can be an entire set of article on their own. Its one of the more complex parts of 3D printing. Luckily for us though almost everything can be handled on auto where the programs sets up the supports for you.

1. Build Plate not Level! This is by far the biggest reason for a print failing. Ive read it online, seen it in videos, and experienced it myself. 

What does this look like? Empty build plate with nothing on it or just part of the platform left on the build plate usually with striations. 

Maybe your last print was hard to get off the build plate and in doing so slightly moved the build plate. Perhaps the lock down bolt was not tight enough. Whatever the reason I have had this happen more than once. Fixing it just takes a little bit of time (about 10 minutes). Don't rush it, so that you wont be having to spend the extra time to do it again. done that been there.

The best video for leveling your build plate I have found is this one.

Conclusion: By far I have far more successes than failures. In fact I am printing out a tank now from Cyberforge and am most of the way done with it and should be by tonight leading me to assembly hopefully later or in the morning.

currently be printed! 

Personally I would estimate that 9 our of 10 prints have absolutely no issues, even the more complex files. The ones that do have errors could have been easily prevented most of the time. 

When I think I may have done something wrong.... do a quick low resin using test print that takes an hour or less to do. Check it and then go back to printing.

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  1. I've had the "table bump" one a few times, but my printer is on a solid surface in a room where it's not disturbed. I've also had it happen on only one part on the build plate. I still haven't figured out how to prevent it.

  2. I started using Elegoo water washable resin.
    Seemed great at first however after printing something much larger, the model literally peeled itself apart.
    Some Amazon reviews did say this and sadly o chose not to listen.
    Have returned for a full refund and am weighing up whether it's worth keeping the printer, as IPA is so pricey to wash in.

    1. If you're in the US, you can use SimpleGreen/Meangreen/PurplePower instead of IPA. Give it a good scrub and you're good to go

    2. Ive not tried those, but I have heard they all work. Ive spent most of my time recycling and reusing as much IPA as possible.

      Might give those a whirl.

    3. SimpleGreen is available in the EU, but very difficult to find. Pro's say use alcohol. If IPA is difficult to get, get 99% pure alcohol and water it down yourself (with water). It seems IPA is difficult to get, but 99% pure a lot less so.

    4. you can also use methylated spirits or ethanol too - i've been using methylated spirits without issue. Others have tried ethanol based nail varnish remover with success apparently . I've not tried that.

      vid here of methanol :

    5. i mean acetone based nail varnish remover! the cheap ones are usually 95% acetone

    6. That's odd, I've been using that stuff forca while and haven't run into that. What is your layer depth? I print everything at .03mm and it stays together fine

    7. Im trying the Elegoo water washable resin now. So far so good.

    8. Layer peeling is a temperature issue. I had it briefly with Elegoo's water washable grey after some research I found the resin was to cold and so it didn't adhere to itself or the buildplate correctly. Started running the bottle under hot water before small prints and the problem stopped. For larger prints I bought a cheap desk heater and keep it running next to the printer. Haven't had the peeling issue since.

  3. When it comes to pre-supported models you have to take into account a couple of crucial things such as exposure time, layer height, lift height and lift speed. Some Patreons will publish the setting they used when test printing the pre-supported models but generally speaking, on larger models you want to increase the lift height and bring down the lift speed. Should give you better separation from the FEP and less strain on the supports.
    Hope that helps!

    1. those are great suggestions.

      What are the adjustments you take when you are printing a large model? In the past I've tried a little more exposure time and even added a few supports.

    2. I tend to thicken the starter supports on larger models, decrease the lift speed, and increase the exposure time. How much will depend on the printer. My anycubic photon had to have the exposure and lift speed increased by two full seconds but for my phrozen sonic mini its a fraction of a second.

  4. 3D Printing Nerd did a YT interview with someone from Level52, they do professional resin 3D printing/design:

    It has a couple of great tips from a pro that has done a ton o 3D resin printing on many different models of 3D printer and many different levels of pricing. One tip was, never do autosupports, do them manually! Stir your resin daily.

    What he also mentioned was that every different model of 3d printer has it's own quirks/limitations, even between different printers in a model range.

    If I understand the other things he mentioned correctly, issues with prints could be due to how suction works on the printer and the FEP Film, might need more calibration between different prints...

    Always useful when people share their experiences, thanks!

    1. Yeah the tension on your FEP, the angle of the vat sides, the distance from the build plate edge, the gap between the build plate and the vat edge, how full your vat is, etc. They all contribute to different suction on the print and could cause the print to fail. My photon always worked best when its vat was mostly empty but my sonic likes the vat full. Machines are weird people sometimes.