For those who’ve been 3D printing for any size of time, the probabilities are you’ve encountered the dreaded elephant’s foot downside. Simply in case you don’t know what that’s, it’s when the decrease layers of your print bulge out. For just about any 3D-printed object, this seems untidy. For something with screw holes or different mechanical connections it’s a major problem, needing both some critical post-processing to get issues becoming correctly or, extra probably, a second try within the hope the print will come out correctly this time. The issue is, it isn’t prone to come out correctly until you repair the problems that precipitated the issue the first time.
So What Causes Elephant’s Foot?
Elephant’s foot occurs when the underside layers of the print are squeezed underneath the layers above, and relieve the strain by flowing out to the perimeters. This could occur for a few causes. The commonest is that if your mattress isn’t appropriately levelled and the nozzle is just too near it. The primary layer will normally unfold out a bit, then the following layers might be compelled down on high, re-melting and spreading the underside ones. Finally the squashing course of creates sufficient slack within the system to even issues out, and regular printing resumes, however by that point you will have the dreaded impact.
One other frequent trigger is your print merely settling underneath its personal weight. No, 3D prints aren’t normally very heavy, but when the decrease layers are nonetheless semi-molten it doesn’t take a lot pressure to unfold them out. In case your print mattress temperature is about too excessive, or the nozzle cooling fan is just too sluggish, the decrease layers can keep smooth for a surprisingly very long time – lengthy sufficient for the load of subsequent layers to squash them.
Over-extrusion can even trigger elephant’s foot. In case your mattress’s levelled and there’s sufficient cooling, however you’re nonetheless getting elephant’s foot, your printer may merely be squeezing a lot plastic out the nozzle that a few of it has to go sideways.
How Can You Repair It?
For those who’re affected by this annoying downside, the very first thing to do is examine that your mattress is correctly levelled. A sheet of regular printer paper ought to match between the mattress and nozzle with solely slight resistance. If the paper binds or tears whenever you attempt to transfer it round, the mattress is just too excessive and the nozzle goes to be ploughing via the earlier layer of filament, spreading it out.
For those who’re certain the mattress is correctly levelled however the issue remains to be occurring, it’s time to take a look at your mattress temperature. For a very long time I simply lazily left the Ender 3’s mattress on the default 50°C Cura likes, but it surely seems you’ll be able to drop it to 35° with no main impact on adhesion, and that can let the decrease layers cool extra shortly.
You too can strive tweaking your fan velocity. By default, Cura doesn’t activate the print head fan till the fourth layer. Particularly mixed with a excessive mattress temperature, that may give the bottom of your print lots time to begin spreading out. For those who look within the Cooling part of Cura’s menu you’ll be able to modify the settings. Strive setting its preliminary velocity to 25% or 50%, as a substitute of 0, and see if that helps.
Lastly, in case your prints are nonetheless popping out with a touch of pachyderm’s paws on the backside, go into your 3D printer’s settings and switch the extrusion fee down a few notches. Mess around with that and search for a velocity that solves elephant’s foot on the backside with out inflicting under-extrusion points additional up the print.
The elephant’s foot downside is annoying, particularly in the event you’re 3D printing parts that depend on dimensional accuracy. It’s positively fixable, although. Like most 3D printer points it simply comes right down to figuring out what settings to fiddle with.