3D Printing Layer Shifting: The What, Why, and How

3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing industry and has become an indispensable tool in all kinds of fields. From small personal projects to large-scale industrial projects, 3D printing is utilized across the board. It has facilitated creating intricate designs and prototypes, the likes of which were once not possible. However, as with all technologies, 3D printing has its setbacks and challenges. One such challenge is layer shifting.

In this post, we explore what exactly 3D printing layer shifting is, why it happens and some ways to avoid it.

What is 3D Printing Layer Shifting?

Layer shifting happens when the layers of a 3D print shift from their intended position. The prints start out correctly but fail to complete correctly due to a shift in positioning. The printer stops printing mid-job, leaving a misshapen and flawed product. The shift usually occurs either on the X or Y-axis or both, caused by a miscalibration or an issue with the printer’s firmware.

Why Does It Happen?

The reasons for 3D printing layer shifting could be many, starting with a poorly calibrated printer. A printed object may also shift due to power fluctuation or filament running out midway. The gears on the printer head or those driving the printer bed may be worn and need to be replaced. An electronic malfunction, such as the stepper motors on the printer electronic control board, could also be the cause.

How You Can Avoid 3D Printing Layer Shifting

Calibrating your printer and updating its firmware versions regularly can help avoid layer shifting in 3D printing. Use weightier filament spools, to avoid tugging on the printer’s motor. Before beginning a large print, ensure that there is enough filament available for the whole process. Lastly, investing in a 3D printing enclosure system could help prevent layer shifting in some of the filament types like ABS.

Fixing the Layer Shift

If you’re experiencing layer shifting, first print small and simple objects, check the printer’s motors, belts, and screws. Tighten any loose screws and check every motor for leveling. Ensure that the print bed is both flat and level and check the hot end’s nozzle temperature. If all of the above are in their intended positions, you may need to reduce the print speed or even replace a possibly worn-out gear.


As great as the innovation and usefulness of 3D printing is, it is not without challenges, and layer shifting is one such challenge. However, through effective tackling of this problem, 3D printing can be quickly restored to business as usual. Hence, the best plan of action is to invest proper and regular maintenance for your 3D printer equipment.

Doing so will increase product output while also shrinking repair costs in the process.

Tyler Woodward

Tyler Woodward

Hi, I'm Tyler! I'm a passionate writer and believer in the potential of 3D printing technology. With my background in engineering and design, I bring an exciting mix of creativity and technical expertise to my writing. In addition, I pride myself on staying up to date with the latest trends in the industry.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

3D Printing Fox