Why it is a good idea to level your print bed before doing a 3D print


Should have leveled the print bed first :grin:


Ha, been there, done that. I feel your pain.


Oh no! My lulz mini self aligns but once in a while it gets its measurements wrong and my first layers come out terribly. Can’t say I’ve had anything like that


Oh yeah…BTDT2.


Are you saying red fuzz was not what you wanted to make? :smile:


This is one reason I like my Robox. It does the bed leveling for you before every print and will wash out any unevenness over the first several layers. Every print I have measured has been within .05 mm of the same height side to side and I rarely get detachment errors.


Well, at least you now have a clown wig.


sooooo for us uninitiated into 3D printing, can you explain just what happened? It looks like someone’s dog unwound their spool of filament and this was the result.


Depends on what kind of filament that was being printed, and several other factors. :slight_smile:


The plastic is melted and laid down layer by layer. If one layer doesn’t adhere to the next properly and you don’t notice it and let the machine run, you get this mess.


Oh no!! I feel your pain…though I’ve never had a filament meatball that bad before. I did once have my filament spool kink on itself, though, and I came back to my printer still going strong about an inch above the actual print, with no material coming out because the spool was stuck. :sweat_smile:


A few months ago at work we had a 30 hour print fail over the weekend. We came back Monday morning with almost an entire spool of filament turned into spaghetti! The boss wasn’t too happy…


I thought it was a sponge, a very crazy sponge :smile:


Even when perfectly leveled had this happen, when I’ve had exotic filaments come off the bed, or my favorite forgot to switch build plates from the PLA to nylon or PETG adhesive coated beds (I have 3 separate glass build plates pre-coated so I don’t have to clean/recoat with the Wolfbite of choice). That most often happens when a corner comes up, gets struck by the head and moved, and voila birds-nest. The most fun isn’t a birds nest, it’s when for whatever reason it builds up into a giant blob encasing the hot-end… Yay!


It’s an air print. The first layer is supposed to stick to the bed and then all subsequent layers stick to the layer laid down before. If the first one fails to stick (or even if a subsequent one fails to stick to its predecessor) it doesn’t “stay” anywhere but keeps spitting out as the head travels and spits more melted filament out. The bed drops (or the head rises depending on the machine type) and more filament is sent out into the air with nothing to anchor to. The machine will generally do that until the print is “done” because the file has been fully processed or when you realize you’ve got an air print and hit the cancel button.

Full bed prints with large capacity spools are the ones this always happens to me with. It’s Murphy’s Law writ large. You wouldn’t believe the size of an air print cloud that can fit inside a MB enclosure :smile:


I kind of want to see a picture of that, but DON’T do it on purpose just for my sake!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the explanation. It may seem obvious to those with a 3d printer, but some of us have no reference point (yet) to work from.


We call these plastic afros, and because of the size of our print jobs (some are 14" tall), we have some epic ones. That box is about 1 foot square, and it contains one of the less impressive ones.


:astonished: I don’t suppose that can be melted back into usable filament?


As others have said, there are many ways these can happen. Here’s a timelapse showing a hairball / afro ( :sunglasses: thanks @morganstanfield ) developing well into a print. Note that the print almost failed earlier – you can see it almost gets knocked over by the head about 5 seconds into the video…


Sort of – It can be shredded and mixed with “virgin” plastics, then heated and extruded into filament. There’se been quite a few kickstarters and DIY designs for filament extruders.