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Baltimore MD 21201-1512

Reference: 410-706-7996
Circulation: 410-706-7928

3D Printing at the Innovation Space: 7. Troubleshooting

How-To Guide for 3D Printing

6. Troubleshooting

After any failed print, always take the following steps.

  • Make it sure your 3D model file is properly prepared for 3D printing.
  • Before trying again, make sure to:
    1. Re-level the platform.
    2. Clean the platform and the extruder with rubbing alcohol and acetone.
    3. Unload and load the plastic filament.

The 3D printer is not doing anything even after the print job has been sent from the computer.

  • The connection between the computer and the 3D printer may have been lost.
  • You may need to restart either or both the software application and the 3D printer to restore the connection.

The 3D printer is turned on, but it is not printing anything.

  • In order to print, the 3D printer has to heat up the extruder (i.e. printer head).
  • This can take up to 30 minutes. Please be patient.

The plastic is not staying on the platform and instead sticking to the extruder.

  • Follow these steps to troubleshoot.
    • Cancel the print job.
    • Turn off the printer.
    • Remove all plastic from the platform and the extruder.
    • Be careful as the platform and the extruder can be very hot.
    • Optionally, you may unload and reload the plastic spool from the extruder. Test the load. If the plastic comes out and drops vertically, everything is good. If it coils upwards, the extruder is clogged. It may need to be further cleaned with acetone.

The extruder is moving, but no plastic is coming out.

  • Check if the plastic is properly loaded.
  • You may have to reprint your model if the printer stops releasing the plastic in the middle of the process.

The extruder is moving on top of the model, but it is not really adding anything to the model.

  • The build plate (/platform) and the extruder may fail to keep the needed distance.
  • In that case, the plastic will start sticking to the extruder itself rather than being applied to the model.
  • If this happens, you need to stop the print job.
    • Remove the model from the platform.
    • Clean the extruder.
    • Try your print job again.

Funding Notice

Modernization projects such as the Innovation Space initiative are made possible by the generosity of donors through the UMB Foundation. If you would like to support projects such as these please visit or contact us at (410) 706-7545.