Layer shifting

Some 3D printing issues, such as layer shifting, may appear because of many different causes. As seen in the image, you can see there’s a shift in the print on both X and Y axes, plus the layers are not aligned. There are several fixes and also preventive actions that can be done to resolve layer shifting.

Layer shifting is an error which causes some of the layers to shift from their designated positions in X or Y axes, it is usually due to unwanted movement of an axis. It causes the extruder to move to an incorrect location and the print continues in a different position, causing a layer shift.

You may experience layer shifts in more than one axis. To resolve that problem correctly, it is crucial to diagnose which axis is the source of layer shifting. Check out the photo above which demonstrates multiple kinds of layer shifts. Resolving the problem itself is almost the same for both axes.


Preventing layer shifts from happening:

Check your printer’s power mode.  For objects larger than 200–300g, or for objects with complex geometry, we recommend running the printer in Normal mode. You can change Power mode in the LCD Menu – Settings – Mode. Keep in mind that in Stealth mode, the crash detection option is turned off.

Check the X/Y belts.  Make sure that belts are properly tightened. Belts should be tight enough to sound like a low bass note when plucked. If the belts are loose, please refer to our manuals to learn how to tighten them properly.

Check the X/Y axis pulleys.  Make sure that the pulley on the motor shaft is secured and the idler pulley can move freely on the opposite end. A loose pulley is usually the main cause of staircase layer shifts. The motor shaft has a flat section – make sure that the screw in the pulley rests firmly on this flat section and the pulley doesn’t slip.

Make sure nothing is blocking the movement of your axis – Check for any obstructions in the path of the bearings or any possible waste from previous printings stuck around the belt (usually around the Y-axis pulley). You can read more about general printer maintenance in this article.

Complex geometry – Objects with larger overhangs are generally harder to print. These overhangs might warp mid-printing and hit the nozzle. To prevent this, you can cut the object (check out our article Cutting STL models). You can also try to increase the print fan speed or increase the Z-hop distance in Slic3r PE. Both of these settings can be changed in our Slic3r PE. Print fan speed in Filament settings – Cooling and Z-hop distance in Printer Settings – Extruder 1