Print Quality Degraded - what changed?

  • I switched to MatterControl because I was finding artifacts in Slic3r that were affecting the quality of my prints. Overall my prints were improved by switching. Then something changed.

    Now the first layer and most of the bottom layers have gaps between the lines. It's not a consistent gap. It almost looks like a bed level issue but the layers will start out good, start skipping lines and then improve again. Gaps could be a mm or larger. Subsequent layers will have gaps but not necesarily in the same pattern.

    The top surfaces are also rough as if the hot end is dragging across the face. Wish I could post pictures. I have auto bed leveling probe so it's not an issue with bed leveling. I was beginning to think I had an issue with my bed flatness which is unlikely. Tried increasing temperatures, etc which didn't help.

    For grins and giggles I tried printing the same part sliced with Slic3r and it had none of these issues. There were other artifacts but the bottom layer was very consistent and tightly laid. I don't beleive this is an issue with the latest update as this started later. I'm sure I changed a parameter without realizing it, just not sure which one.

  • It's tough to know what changed based on your description, and any guess would be speculation. The most in-depth way to determine what changed would be to check the G-Code from each of the prints and compare the settings from one to another. MatterControl has a History function, but that will only go so far, and doesn't show settings used. You'll need to go straight to the files.

    Open the MatterControl data folder, located at C:\Users\%Username%\AppData\Local\MatterControl (AppData may be hidden) or Mac OS X and Linux: ~/.local/share/ (.local may be hidden). Once there, navigate to .../data/gcode/ and compare the files to the entries in the History pane to find which correlate. See the picture below for clarification, in which the highlighted files on the right correlates with the print at the top of the History list:

    Once you find the right file(s), open the .gcode or .ini in a text editor. From there you can compare from one file to another, and hopefully you will be able to track down where the difference occurs.

  • Well I figured it out - very much self-induced. The PTFE tube in my e3d was pushed up ever so slightly and I was getting some melted filament in the heatsink. This was causing a lot of backpressure on the extruder (Bowden) and reducing the flow. There was a plastic tab missing from the collect which I think fell to the bottom of the hot end and created the gap at the end of thePTFE tube. Some prints had obvious under extrusion, while some were okay. Talk about hard to diagnose!

    So I think the differences between slicers is the fact the Slic3r defaults to 200% extrusion width, while MC uses 100%. On small prints that "fixed" the fill issues when using Slic3r. Since the models were most low fill the walls looked decent on both, even with the higer backpressure. On larger models not as well but stil better. Now I'm happily back to using MC and getting great prints.

    The info about the files for review is nice to know. I've already used it to see what settings I previously used to print a piece. Wish there was automatically reuse that data as long as the part stays in the queue. That'd be icing on the cake but just having the settings recorded is nice.

    thanks for the help.

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