3D is the printing of three-dimensional products and can be done at the convenience of your home, office, or any other place.

3D printing takes a lot of practice and skill for an excellent job to surface. The skill can be learned from experts physically or online. It is up to you as a person to practice for the desired results.

However, mistakes happen, which anyone, either an amateur or an expert, could make. This is because you cannot know it all; you still have to learn as you keep moving on the job.

It is important to note that the world changes over time. As the world changes, different new technologies get invented. The way 3D printing was done three years ago is different from how it is done now.


One of the mistakes that happen with 3D printing is curling. This is when the object being produced is unevenly shaped, or the initial design is tampered with. This can make a work look highly unprofessional as that is what the shape will depict. 

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What is 3D print curling?

This is the shrinkage of corners as it leaves the build plate while printing is still on. It gives the print a curled look facing upwards.

This can get very frustrating as it will totally disfigure the print outcome.

3D printing is not an easy task; energy, time, and money have been put into it. This makes it annoying when little mistakes like this occur because it will mean either you have to fix the problem or start from the top.

This problem is known to happen with large parts, especially when printing at high temperatures.

The property of the plastic is the first thing you have to check. If the plastic is not strong enough to receive the heat or cools down quickly, you will have a lot of curling. But, if your plastic texture can withstand temperature, you will have a good result.

However, not only plastic quality makes for mistakes.


Reasons for Curling

Curling occurs when the heat of the printer is not even. Printers are different from each other you have to learn how to use a printer depending on the brand and model appropriately.

Always get updates on new printer models, how to use them, and how to maintain them. It is essential for easy use.

Also, you may need to check the technicalities of your printer before operating it each day. This means you must always service your printer anytime you feel something is wrong with it. So, you have to give adequate attention to your printer.

Curling is also caused when an object is cooling unevenly after printing.

Cooling causes contraction, which in turn causes stress on the surface of the object. The quicker the cooling, the greater the stress will be.

The stress is more significant at the edges of the object where two sides meet. The sides become deformed and usually not pleasing to the eyes.  It then becomes a waste of resources and makes the object unusable.

Another reason for curling is when bed adhesive is not clean.


How to fix Curling

When it seems your object is deformed and cannot be used, there is hope for a fix. Yet, there are terms and conditions for it to be fixed.

If your object is not too thin, thick, or large, there is still hope; if not, forget it. Therefore, not all objects can be retrieved.

Anyway, for you to revive your object, you need to heat it till it melts down to the form which it could be molded.

You will need a large flat metal like a frying pan, big enough to place the object into a bedside down.

Get a hairdryer, place the object on the metal surface, heat up on full power, then use the dryer to evenly heat it.

After one minute or so, hold the object down and fold it back to a flat shape. You should be able to do that after turning off the dryer. It would be best if you held the object till it cools off.

Repeat this process until it works. Please do not place the object in the heated pan or try to heat it again; it will cause you to keep starting over again. You will have to heat it evenly.


How to Prevent Curling

Although there is a solution for an already curled object, it is always better to prevent a problem than fixing it.

There are three ways to prevent 3D printer curling; increasing ambient pressure to reduce cooling time or to improve bed adhesion. There are straightforward ways to do these.

Since you now understand the reason for curling, you will be provided information on preventing it.


Check the nozzle’s initial Z coordinates.

The nozzle Z position should not be set too high; the filament material tends to cool down before coming into contact with the build platform.

Also, if the nozzle position is too low, it can cause another problem; therefore, there has to be a balance in the coordinates.

It is recommended that you lower the initial height of the nozzle to 0.05mm for a perfect setting.


Add a Raft

A raft is a thin horizontal line added to the bottom of your design. This line is deposited to the build platform, improving bed adhesion, and making it easy for you to get the first layer right.

Most software programs have provisions for a raft that allows you to determine the thickness or thinness.


Decrease infill

Another solution to curling is to lower the infill settings; with this, there is less plastic material used, which means there is less stress due to uneven contraction of the material.

Note that a lower infill setting also decreases the durability of the product; therefore, if you want your product to be durable, this may not be the best solution for you.


Design with Round Corners

When curling occurs, it is usually at the edges of the product. This is because the stress is more pronounced at the edges.

Therefore, it is advisable to design with round corners to prevent the stress that occurs with the edges, which in turn causes curling.


Use a Bed Adhesive and Clean the Bed

Little things like water and oil or grease can mess with your product if not correctly gotten rid of. If you notice such things on your bed, make sure you clean it as correctly as possible.

The best way to clean a printing bed is to use an ammonia-based cleaning product or water and isopropyl alcohol solution. Ensure it dries before applying adhesive.

There are different adhesives to be used for your printing bed. It is a significant factor to consider for printing to allow it smooth.


Heated Printing Bed

A heated printing bed is different from a regular bed. It gives you a lot of flexibility to work with more filaments. It is one of the best solutions and also the most expensive.

It allows the filament to be played down on a build platform with a temperature a little higher than the ambient. You have to set the printing bed temperature below the glass transition temperature of the material you are working with.


Do Not Use a Cooling Fan

A sworn enemy in the 3D process is rapid cooling, do not turn on the cooler of your printer for a few days; it increases the curling and makes it easier to deform.

Let your product cool by itself, at its own cooling pace. If you must, let it cool before using the cooling fan on even the bottom layer.


Use an Enclosure

An enclosure is added to a 3D printer to eliminate the cooling effects of drafts in your working environment. This is important if you are working in a setting where drafts cannot be eliminated.

3D printing can be a challenging task because it is not easy, yet with the right amount of patience and key, you are good to go.

Experience is the best teacher. No matter your skill, if you do not challenge yourself to have the experience, you will most likely not reach a satisfactory result.

Difficulties encountered during the process of 3D printing is not limited to curling alone. There are other challenges; therefore, you will have to prepare yourself for more challenges to come. It gives you more experience and makes you experiment with various possible solutions.

The solution to a problem cannot be one; there are several solutions. Therefore, it is advised that you find other possible solutions to any problem being encountered in the process of 3D printing.

3D printing is an exciting activity; however, you may not reach your destination if you do not have enough patience. The process of designing, printing, and waiting for your object to cool takes some time. So, patience is vital.


Make sure you do your researches well enough to decide you want to go into 3D printing. Good luck.