Layer Shift or Layer misalignment

If you identify a “stepping” effect in your print, this is called layer shift or layer misalignment. Most common 3D printer don´t have a feedback system, about the actual position of their toolhead/hotend. If there is an impact during the print or a motor loses steps, the printer cannot detect this and will continue the print with a wrong position.The following solutions are a good way to solve this problem, but it can also be caused by warping upper layers.

Adjust the printspeed

If you are printing too fast, it can cause layer shifting or a poor print quality. With high printing speed, it could happen that your belts slips over the cogwheel/drive pulleys and your tool head/hotend will lose the right position.
You can adjust the printing speed like on the pictures below.
If you were printing at 3600 mm/min or 60 mm/s (the most common printing speed), try decreasing that value by 50% to 1800 mm/min or 30mm/s to see if the filament grinding goes away or print quality increases. If not, it´s very likely that the problem is a different one. If the it works out, try to increase the printing speed in small steps till you find the best balance of a good quality and printing speed.

Adjust the belt tension

Many printers use belts for transmitting motors force. These rubber belts loose strength over time.
If the tense is too low, the belts slips over the cogwheel/drive pulleys and your toolhead will lose the right position.
• Check if all belts have the same tension by pinching them together.
• Adjust the belt strength as described in your printer’s manual. Some printers like the prusa i3 have screws for strengthen the belts. Be aware of over strengthening your belts, this may cause other problems, like a not moving motor.
If you are not sure about your printer’s belt strength, please read your printer’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
• If your printer’s belts are quiet too lose and old, keep in mind that you should maybe change them as a last option.

Check the rods

Turn off your printer and try to move your printer´s tool head over the whole length of your X and Y axis. If you feel a higher resistant at some points, clean the rods and lubricate them as described in your printer´s manual.
Don´t use oil or grease to smear every bearing! It depends on the bearing materials (e.g. metal/metal, metal/plastic, different plastics) which lubricate is the best.

If lubricating the rods doesn´t help and you still feel a resistant at some points, the rods could be bent. Check if your rods are aligned. If they are in position and you still feel the resistance, you may remove the rods and roll them on a flat ground. If they are wobbling, your rods are bent and it would be the best to replace them.

Check your buildplate

There are many different printbeds with different mounting systems on the market. We are not able to cover all the different systems, just make sure that your printbed doesn´t move during printing. Perhaps clips or even screws got loose over time and you have to fix or replace them.

Stabilize the 3D Printer

Make sure that your printer has stable and flat surface to stand on and check if there are any impact sources around. Even small outside influences like pokes can have an effect on your print. If you have more printers, put them on different tables, sometimes they may influence each other.