The plastic that exits your extruder may be anywhere from 190 to 280 degrees Celsius. While the plastic is still hot, it is pliable and can easily be formed into different shapes. However, as it cools, it quickly becomes solid and retains its shape. You need to achieve the correct balance between temperature and cooling so that your plastic can flow freely through the nozzle and also can quickly solidify to maintain the exact dimensions of your 3D printed part. If this balance is not achieved, you may start to notice some print quality issues where the exterior of your part is not as precise and defined as you would like. As you can see in the image on the left, the filament extruded at the top of the part was not able to cool quickly enough to retain its shape. Overheating can also cause curling issues in your print, it typically points to overheating issues. The plastic is extruded at a very hot temperature, and if it does not cool quickly, it may change shape over time. Curling can be prevented by rapidly cooling each layer so that it does not have time to deform before it has solidified.
Check the following things to solve the problem.
- Insufficient Cooling
The most common cause for overheating is that the plastic is not being cooled fast enough. When this happens, the hot plastic is free to change shapes as it slowly cools. For many plastics, it is much better to quickly cool the layers to prevent them from changing shape after being printed. The N-series printers include cooling fan, try increasing the power of the fan to cool the plastic faster. You can do this by clicking “Advance” and selecting the Cooling tab. Edit the default fan speed set point. Or increase the fan speed in Tune tab on screen during printing.
- Printing at too high of a temperature
If you are already using a cooling fan and you are still seeing this issue, you may want to try printing at a lower temperature. If the plastic is extruded at a lower temperature it will be able to solidify faster and retain its shape. Try lowering the print temperature by 5-10 degrees to see if it helps. You can adjust these settings by clicking “Cooling” and selecting the “Manual Control”. Edit the temperature of the right or left extruder that you are using. Or decrease the nozzles’ temperature in Tune tab on screen during printing. Be careful not to lower the temperature too far, as otherwise the plastic may not be hot enough to extrude through the small opening in your nozzle.
- Printing too fast
If you are printing each layer very quickly, you might not allow enough time for the previous layer to properly cool before you are trying to deposit the next layer of hot plastic on top of it. This is particularly important for very small parts where each layer only requires a few seconds to print. Even with a cooling fan, you may still need to decrease the printing speed for these small layers to ensure you provide enough time for the layer to solidify. ideaMaker includes a very simple option to do exactly that. If you click on “Advance” and select the Layer tab, you will see a section labeled “Speed”. This section is used to automatically slow down the printing speed to ensure every layer has enough time to cool and solidify before printing the next layer. This is a vital feature for combating these overheating issues.
- When all else fails: Try printing multiple parts at once
If you have already tried the 3 items above and you are still having trouble achieving sufficient cooling, there’s one more thing you can try. Create a copy of the part you are trying to print select “Edit” then “Copy” and “Paste” or import a second object that can be printed at the same time. By printing two objects at once, you can provide more cooling time for each individual part. The hot nozzle will need to move to a different location on the build platform to print the second part, which provides a short relief for your first part to cool down. This is a simple, yet very effective strategy for fixing overheating problems.