When you use a 3D printer, you expect it to print your models in even layers. If you have ever had your model come out with varying amounts of material, you have experienced a 3D printer Under-Extrusion. 

This is annoying because you have to figure out where the problem lies before you can continue printing. Continue reading to learn what 3D printer Under-Extrusion is and how to fix it.

What Is Under-Extrusion?

under-extrusion
Under extrusion benchy (Source #3DBenchy

Under extrusion occurs when your 3D printer isn’t able to supply the correct amount of material as it prints your model. You might see missing layers, layers that are thinner than others, or layers with holes in them. Once you notice the problem, you have to determine what caused it.

This can be difficult because there are a lot of possibilities. However, in this article, we will guide you through the most common solutions.

What Causes 3D Printer Under-Extrusion?

Most often, the cause is that you are printing at a temperature that is either too high or too low for your selected material. The material needs to melt evenly, and if the temperature is too low, it will be thicker and difficult to extrude evenly. If it is too hot, it may bind to the nozzle and create a partial blockage.

You may also have mechanical issues that are causing under-extrusion. When you create 3D prints, the material will pass through the feeder, the tube, and the extruder before it becomes a print. If there is a mechanical failure at any of these stops along the way, it will result in under-extrusion because it will stop the material needed from being available.

Another issue could be that your feeder is malfunctioning. It is responsible for feeding the print material into your extruder, and if it stops working, it will cause uneven extrusion. The tension might be off, which makes it impossible for it to feed and print evenly.

There could be a problem with the Bowden tube. This is the part of the printer that guides the printing material to the print head. In addition, a partial blockage of the print nozzle would lead to under extrusion. There could be unflushed residue in there, or there could be debris.

With so many different potential causes, you need to determine the most likely cause and work your way through them to resolve the issue.

How to Fix Under-Extrusion?

The solution will depend on the problem. The key is to determine that cause, and then you can fix it. Start by checking the material and its ideal temperature. You need to make sure that you are within the range and check the material as it comes out to see if it is creating layers evenly. If not, you will need to adjust the temperature to make sure that it is right for the material you are using.

For mechanical malfunctions, you need to go through the options and find the one that is causing your problem. Start with your feeder. Since it is feeding the material into the extruder, it needs to be poured uniformly.

You should check the tension settings of the feeder. If these settings are too low, it may not grab enough material to move it evenly. When the tension is too high, it grabs too much and flattens it, which makes it harder to move through the Bowden tube and the print head. You may need to adjust the tension.

You can also check the Bowden tube. It may have a buildup of dust, which would cause the material to slow in the tube. You can solve this by cleaning the Bowden tube to remove any dust or debris.

Next, look at the print end nozzle. Check for a partial blockage, and you can fix this. Start by reverse feeding all of the print material out of the print head. Then, you need to heat the print head up. It should be around 260 degrees Celsius. Once it is hot, take a long needle and insert it into the nozzle. Move it back and forth to clear any blockage inside.

How to Avoid Under-Extrusion on a 3D Printer: Tips and Tricks

There are several tips that you can follow to avoid under-extrusion with your 3D printer, including the following:

  • Make sure that you use the right temperature for the printing material
  • Make sure that your flow rate matches your print speed
  • Keep your parts free of blockages and debris
  • Make sure that the tube is free of any imperfections
  • Make sure your 3D printer is printing evenly before you leave it printing

Final Thoughts

When you are using your 3D printer, you need it to print evenly. Under-extrusion happens when something is causing it to print unevenly. It is important to determine why this is happening so that you can fix the problem.

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