Layer shifting

Updated 1 month ago ​by Tomáš Chvalina

Layer shifting is a printing issue, which causes the layers of the printed object to shift from their designated position. To fix this problem, it is essential to check whether the layer shifting happens in the direction of the X-axis or the Y-axis. Once you know for sure which axis needs fixing, you can follow our guide, which applies to both axes.

Layer shifting on the Original Prusa i3 MK2/S and Multimaterial 

If the print is large (200g or more), or difficult to print, make sure that your printer is running in the [Normal mode] before you proceed with troubleshooting. You can change the mode in the LCD Menu - Settings - Mode.

Layer shifting is most likely caused by a hardware issue. To get rid of it, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that the printer's belts are tight enough/not too loose. Belts should be tight enough to sound like a low bass note when plucked.
  2. Make sure the pulley on the motor shaft is firmly secured by two screws, and the idler pulley can move freely on the opposite end of the axis.

  3. Make sure nothing blocks the movement of your printer's axis - no obstructions in the path of the bearings or any possible waste of previous printing stuck around the belt (usually around the Y-axis pulley).
  4. Check your linear bearings by inspecting the smooth rods for marks or deformations. The best thing to do is to gently move the extruder or the heated bed to see if there isn't any unwanted friction at any spot.
  5. Check your motors - it is unlikely that motor itself is the source of layer shifting. Still, we suggest checking the motor cables for any potential breaks, damage or over-tightened zip-ties causing the motor to fail during a specific movement.

Layer shifting on the Original Prusa i3 MK3 

Before you start trying any of the suggested fixes: make sure to have the crash detection turned on. You can check it in the LCD Menu - settings - Crash. det. [on/off].  If it was set to OFF, set it to ON and try to re-print the object, which suffered a layer shift. If it does not appear again, then you are good to go. If not, let's take a look at some solutions. 

  1. Check for a newer firmware version at prusa3d.com/drivers. Current firmware version on your printer can be found in the LCD menu - support - Firmware [version]. A guide with information on how to install new firmware can be found at Firmware updating.
  2. Make sure that your printer's belts are tight enough/not too loose. Belts should be tight enough to sound like a low bass note when plucked.
    1. You can check the belt tightness in  LCD - Support - Belt status.
    2. Values 240 + / - 40 are good. If you want to tweak your belt tightness, this value is updated once you re-run the Selftest. You can run it via LCD Menu - Calibration - Selftest.
    3. A lower value means more belt tension; a higher value means a looser belt.
  3. Make sure the pulley on the motor shaft is secure, and the idler pulley can move freely on the opposite end.

  4. Make sure nothing is blocking the movement of your printer's axes -  no obstructions in the path of the bearings or any leftover waste from previous printing stuck around the belt (usually around the Y-axis pulley). 
  5. Check your linear bearings by inspecting the smooth rods for marks or deformations. The best thing to do is to gently move the extruder or heated bed along its axis and see if there isn't any unwanted friction at any spot.
  6. Check your motors - it is unlikely that motor itself is the source of layer shifting. Still, we suggest checking the motor cables for any potential breaks, damages or over-tightened zip-ties causing the motor to fail during a certain movement.
Have you tried all of the solutions above and nothing helped? Try to turn off the Crash. det completely and see if it make things better.
Example of a major layer shift.

Do not hesitate to contact us at info@prusa3d.com if you have any further questions.


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