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3D Print First Layer Ripples

  • 6 min read

3D Printing First Layer Ripple Problems: Exploring Solutions

3D printing is highly popular because of its capability to manufacture various original shapes. However, in 3D printing, ripple-like surfaces often arise due to the improper configuration of parameters. This is commonly known as the "3D print first layer ripples" issue. It not only impacts print quality but can also potentially lead to project failures. To assist you in achieving smoother 3D printing applications, this article delves into the reasons behind first layer ripples in 3D printing, methods for rectification, and strategies for prevention.

Causes of 3D Printing First Layer Ripples

The 3D printing first layer ripples are usually related to factors such as bed adhesion, nozzle height, print speed, and temperature settings. If you can't determine the exact cause of 3D print first layer bubbling, you can refer to the following content for troubleshooting and adjustments.

  • Bed Adhesion Issues:If the 3D printing bed isn't leveled properly, some parts of the printed object will be higher on the bed, causing the nozzle to move unevenly. Additionally, an unclean 3D printing bed can result in poor filament adhesion, also contributing to the issue of ripples.
  • 3D Printing Nozzle Height:If the nozzle is too close to the print bed, the material may not be extruded smoothly or may get stuck on the print bed. This can lead to first layer ripples. Conversely, if the nozzle is set too high, it may result in the 3D printer first layer not sticking, which can also cause a wavy surface.
  • 3D Printing Speed:Slower speeds are typically considered to yield more flawless prints. This is because a slow and steady pace allows the filament to adhere firmly to the print bed.
  • Temperature Settings:The first layer temperature is crucial. Higher temperatures may cause the filament to melt, while lower temperatures can result in insufficient filament extrusion.


How to Fix 3D Printing First Layer Ripples

The problem of 3D printing first layer ripples is not uncommon, and there are several effective solutions to address it. You can refer to the four methods below if you encounter ripples in your 3D prints.

  • Level Print Bed Properly:

The primary concern is to ensure the 3D printing bed is level. If you encounter issues with ripples, it's essential to halt the printing process and use a leveling program, machine, or manual adjustment to ensure that the nozzle can uniformly extrude filament. Also, it's important to keep the print bed clean to prevent ripple issues caused by foreign particles.

  • Set Up the Proper Nozzle Height:

The recommended nozzle height for a 3D printer typically depends on the specific 3D printer model, the materials, and the requirements you are using. In general, the height can be set within a range of 20% to 100% of the nozzle diameter. For example, for a common 0.4mm nozzle diameter, the feasible height range would be from 0.08mm to 0.4mm. To test this before printing, slide an A4 paper between the nozzle and the print bed. The paper should move in and out easily without any hindrance. At this point, the height should be appropriate.

  • Lower the Printing Speed:

As mentioned earlier, slower print speeds are key to achieving successful 3D printing. This is primarily to provide ample time for the extruded filament to cool and spread effectively. Now most slicers will automatically calculate the first layer speed. But to avoid bubbles in the first layer of your 3D print, it's advisable to set the initial layer speed within the range of 30-50% of the overall speed, and a good initial speed could be around 20-30 millimeters per second.

  • Turn Off the Cooling Fan:

The cooling fan for the model is closely related to the first layer printing temperature. In general, the filament needs to cool down gradually to enhance adhesion with the print bed, so it is suggested to keep the model fan off during the initial stages of printing to prevent the material from cooling too soon. This can fix 3D printing first layer ripples to some extent.

How to Prevent Ripples on the First Layer

Troubleshooting the first layer of a 3D printer can often be addressed by adjusting parameters during printing. However, prevention is the best solution. If you want to minimize the chances of ripples during 3D printing, consider these three aspects before you begin your print.

Implementing Automatic Bed Leveling Sensor

If you want to quickly and accurately level your 3D printing bed, one of the most convenient methods is to use an automatic bed leveling sensor. This sensor measures multiple points on the bed during the leveling process, recording data on the height between the nozzle and the bed. While printing, it automatically adjusts the nozzle's height based on the recorded data to ensure the best print quality.

There are various sensor options available now, but we recommend using a mechanical sensor for its versatility, suitable for different types of print beds and conditions. If you want to explore other options, you can also consider capacitive, inductive, and physical Hall effect sensors.

Manual Mesh Bed Leveling

In addition to sensor-based leveling, you can use mesh bed leveling. This method works well when your print bed is warped or the bed's edges are flat while the center is too close to the nozzle. Mesh bed leveling is often used with printers that have leveling firmware like Marlin. Instead of sensors, the firmware records height settings at multiple points and creates a grid. During leveling, you can slide a piece of paper between the print head and the bed to help the firmware gather height data from different points on the bed, ensuring a level surface.

Choosing the Best 3D Printers

To prevent issues with the first layer ripples in 3D printing, the most direct solution is to choose a high-quality 3D printer with automatic bed leveling capability. Machines such as the AnkerMake M5 3D Printer and AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer fit this description. They support printing with various high-quality materials, and provide precise printing at 0.1mm accuracy, reducing the likelihood of ripple problems. And these printers feature an H-shaped all-aluminum alloy frame that effectively alleviates ripple problems caused by printing vibrations. Even better, both of these 3D printers support 7x7 automatic bed leveling, so you no longer need to be concerned about leveling the bed before each print.


Ripples in the first layer of a 3D print are a common issue for those new to the 3D printing world. However, by referring to the cause analysis provided in this article, taking timely action, and selecting suitable leveling tools or 3D printers, you can prevent first layer ripples when 3D printing to some extent. With the ongoing iteration of technology, we believe that this problem will be effectively resolved in the future.


What is the best speed for first layer print?

Typically, the first layer printing speed is required to be slow to ensure good adhesion and print quality. It is suggested to start testing the first layer printing speed in the range of 20 to 30 millimeters per second and make adjustments based on your specific conditions.

What will happen if the first layer is too thick?

A thick first layer in 3D printing may lead to problems like poor adhesion to the bed, making prints prone to detachment or gaps. It can also result in lost details and an uneven appearance, thus lower overall print quality. Moreover, the thick first layer will waste more material. Therefore, it's recommended to set the initial layer height to approximately 75% of the nozzle's diameter when 3D printing.

What temperatures should the first layer of a 3D printer be?

Usually, the first layer temperature is set slightly higher than the subsequent layers to ensure good adhesion to the print bed. Here are some common first layer temperature ranges for various 3D printing materials:


PLA (Polylactic Acid): 190°C ~ 220°C

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): 220°C ~ 250°C

PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol): 230°C ~ 250°C

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane): 220°C ~ 250°C


Please note that these are general temperature ranges, and the specific temperature may vary based on your printer, the brand of the material, and other factors.