How to fix Layer Shifting

In this article you will find why does it happen and how to fix this issue







Layer shifting is a common issue most related with the mechanical components of the printer, there are many points to look at if you are experiencing this issue. In this article we are going to go through all of them, you'll be able to fix it in no time. 

What is Layer Shifting and why it happens?

This printing issue happens when the layers of your print are shifted to the sides, creating a staircase look. This can happen in just one spot of your print or consistently along the Z axis.  Slight layer shifting will render "glitched" layers, but if this is more severe, it can make the tool head print in mid-air, leaving behind a mess of filament in the printing volume.

layer-shifting-gifThis issue can have different causes depending on how it looks, it normally is a sign of incorrect belt tension and alignment or a poor printing configuration. It can also be a sign that a component is malfunctioning. 

How to fix it.

1: Set the right belt tension.


The first thing to look at here is if the belts are tight enough. If there's not enough tension, the motors won't be able to transfer the movement to the printheads and cause layer shifts, these guides will help you in this:

How to adjust the tension of the belts (Epsilon Series)

How to adjust the tension of the belts (Sigma Series)

How to adjust the tension of the belts (BCN3D Sigmax)

How to adjust the tension of the belts (BCN3D Sigma)


2: BCN3D Stratos setup.


The default settings for our BCN3D filaments have been tailored for good quality and reliable results and are fully tested by our laboratory. If you are experiencing this issue with default profiles and our own filaments, go to the next point. 


If you are printing with a different filament brand or with custom profiles, there are some settings to take in account to prevent layer shifting:


1. Printing Speed: If printing speed is too high, the motor pulleys can skip some teeth from the belts, or the motors may get blocked due to overheating. As a consequence, layer shifting will be more likely to happen when printing at high speeds. Keeping a printing speed below 60mm/s will prevent both motors and stepper drivers from skipping and overheating. 


2. Travel speed: This setting influences the speed in which the printhead moves from one point to the other, if it moves too fast and impacts on a blob of the print, it will get stuck and lose some steps, and layer shifting will appear. Normally, a travel speed of 150mm/s works great, but if you still have some layer shifting issues, you can lower it to 100mm/s.


3. Retraction: Another way to prevent printhead impacts from happening is to avoid oozing and blob creation, retraction settings are key for that. You can increase the retraction distance to fix this. If you want to know a bit more on how to fix stringing check this article:

How to fix stringing/oozing


4. Z hop: This makes the printhead to lift a bit from the print before travelling, preventing even more impacts, if you experiencing layer shifting, make sure to keep it enable it if the filament is not too viscous, like PLA or ABS.


5. Combing mode:  This optimizes the number of complete travels (Retraction - Z hop - Travel - Z hop - priming) in a print job, making it quicker and less likely to grind filament that leads to underextrusion. This setting can be especially useful for small prints with a lot of tiny details, but for bigger models, it is best to disable it, as it is possible that the printhead goes from one point to the other inside the print without retracting or hopping, and it is very likely that will impact on the print itself and shift. 


3: Identify the direction of the layer shifts.

If the belts are tight, configuration is good and layer shifting still occurs, see if the shifts are aligned in the X or Y direction. Depending on the direction, you'll have to go to an article or the other:


X axis layer shifting Y axis layer shifting
x-shifting-2 y-shifting-3


Epsilon Series

How to fix Layer shifting in the X axis (Epsilon Series)

How to fix Layer shifting in the Y axis (Epsilon Series)


Sigma Series

How to fix Layer shifting in the X axis (Sigma Series)

How to fix Layer shifting in the Y axis (Sigma Series)


BCN3D Sigmax 

How to fix Layer shifting in the X axis (BCN3D Sigmax)

How to fix Layer shifting in the Y axis (BCN3D Sigmax)


BCN3D Sigma

How to fix Layer shifting in the X axis (BCN3D Sigma)

How to fix Layer shifting in the Y axis (BCN3D Sigma)


Forum Community

Still having issues? Check out our forum community for more solutions. 


It's important to keep your printer in good shape to make the most out of it. In this chart you can find a list of the extruder maintenace procedures and how frequently these should be done. 

Maintenance Plan (Epsilon Series)

Maintenance Plan (Sigma Series)

Maintenance Plan (BCN3D Sigmax)

Maintenance Plan (BCN3D Sigma)


bcn3d-recycle  Take your e-waste to a certified recycler. Check how we do it in BCN3D.



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