Troubleshooting: First Layer Fails

The first layer is crucial to a good printing outcome, so you really want to make sure you get it right. There are many video tutorials and articles on this topic if you are having issues with it. We summed up some of the best sources for you in written form.


What does a failed first layer look like?
When the first layer is laid down, you may notice that it has a weird jaggedness to it, doesn’t firmly stick to the plate, and gets dragged around by the nozzle. You end up with a mess of filament strings rather than a nice cohesive 3D model.


Causes and Fixes (source: Matterhackers and 3dprinting.stackexchange)

Fix 1 – Level the bed! This is by far the most common reason for failed first layers. It is very important that the distance between nozzle and bed is just right. If the nozzle is moving too high above the bed, the filament will not be squished into the print bed properly and will therefore not stick and stay in place. You might also find that the parts are detaching before the print is completed. In order to level the bed, follow this guide.

Fix 2 – Reduce the print speed or at least the first layer speed in Cura. If the nozzle moves too quickly, it doesn’t have time to properly squish down the filament, making it peel up from the build plate.

Fix 3 – Adjust the bed temperature. Sometimes the bed is set at a too low temperature, so the filament cools down too quickly when it touches the bed and doesn’t have time to “bond” with it.

Fix 4 – Consider turning up the printing temperature. Some materials like ABS require a higher printing temperature than for example PLA. Just as in Fix 3, the filament might not come out hot enough to “bond” with the build plate.

Fix 5 – Enhance bed adhesion with glues. This seems simple, but people often use either painters tape or a simple glue stick to make the first layer stick better to the bed.

You did not find a solution to your problem? Check out this visual troubleshooting guide and see if there’s a fix for you!

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