Search our shop

3D Printing First Layer Problems

  • 6 min read

3D Printing First Layer Problems and Fixes: Perfect Your Prints

Every successful building project starts with a sturdy foundation, and so are 3D prints. A poor first layer could ruin your 3D prints from the very beginning with a rough surface, the print not sticking to the print bed, etc. To avoid printing failure, it's essential to solve these 3D printing first layer problems.

If you also encounter these issues but have no idea how to solve them, you’ve landed in the right place. This guide has collected 5 common 3D printing first layer issues and workable solutions. Keep reading to learn more!

Common 3D Printing First Layer Problems (With Fixing Solutions)

No worries if you are already in trouble with the first layer. Now, go to the problem you're facing now and get the fixes below to troubleshoot the 3D print first layer.


First Layer That's Rough

The rough 3D printing first layer issue refers to a condition where the surface of the first layer is uneven, bumpy, or not smooth. The rough surface leads to poor adhesion between layers and less fine details, ruining your prints.


  • The distance between the nozzle and the print bed is not set properly.
  • The extrusion flow is too high or too low.
  • The print speed is so fastthat the filament does not have enough time to stick together.
  • An uneven or non-flat print bed can cause uneven adhesion and result in a rough surface.
  • Incorrect setting ofthe first layer temperature can lead to poor adhesion or insufficient melting.


  • Adjustthe distance between the nozzle and the print bed.
  • Slow down the first layer printing speed, usually setting it to 30% to 50% of the overall printing speed.
  • Level the print bed manually, or turn to an automatic bed-leveling sensor.
  • Set the appropriate bed temperature based on the filamentbeing used.
  • Ensure that the extrusion flow is properly set to avoid over-extrusion or under-extrusion.
  • Make sure the print head and nozzle are clean, without dust or impurities.

First Layer Ripples

First layer ripples refer to undulations or wave-like patterns presenting on the surface of the first layer of a 3D print. These ripples can affect the overall appearance and quality of the print.


  • If acooling fan is turned on too early, it will bring uneven cooling, poor layer adhesion, and ripples.
  • The print bed is too close to the nozzle or not even. This smudges filaments and thus causesripples and waves.
  • The nozzle releases excessive filament, whichcauses over-extrusion ripples and strings on your model.


  • Try placing the printer in a location where it is not exposed to wind during the printing.
  • Lower the printing speed for the first layer to give the filament enough time tocool and bond.
  • Check the print bed and nozzle to ensure appropriate extrusion flow settings sothat the nozzle does not extrude too much material.


3D Print Elephant's Foot

When the first layer is slightly larger than the rest of the print, it means you run into 3D printing elephant's foot. It is a common case for large prints as the rest part pushes down the first layer before it’s not yet fully cooled. This can result in a wider and distorted base and prevent the model from fitting properly.


  • Excessive filament extrudeson the first layer, bulging the base.
  • High bed temperature settings leave lesstime for filaments to cool and keep the bottom layers in a semi-melted state, causing them to spread out,


  • Lower the temperature of the print bed by 5 °C until the first layer is
  • Setthe appropriate settings for extrusion flow to avoid excessive accumulation of filaments.
  • Decrease the printing speed and ensure that the filament has enough time to cool.


3D Warping

3D warping is another common issue in 3D printing where the bottom layers of the printed object warp or lift from the print bed during or after the printing process.


  • Filaments tend to shrink during the cooling process, which can lead to deformations.
  • The uneven temperature on the print bed surface can cause uneven cooling of the material.
  • Printingtoo quickly can prevent proper adhesion of the printed material to the print bed or the layer below, leading to warping.
  • Enabling the cooling fan too early in the printing process, especially in the initial stages, can result in rapid cooling of the printed material. This can cause uneven cooling and subsequent warping.
  • Part of the bottom layers fails to adhere firmly to the print bed.
  • The design of the bottom layer may not be suitable for 3D printing.


  • Use a heated build plate and avoid cold airflow.
  • Optimize printing settings liketemperature, printing speed, extrusion flow, etc.
  • Apply suitable adhesives on the build plate, such as 3D printing glue, tape, etc.


Print Not Sticking To Bed

Print not sticking to the bed is a severe issue in 3D printing. It happens when the printed object fails to adhere firmly to the print bed. When this issue occurs, your print can move during the print process and end up in a mess.


  • The first layer can’t adhere to the bed due to an uneven or dirty build plate with residues.
  • Different printing filaments require different temperature settings for heating or cooling it.If not set properly, they could fail to stick.
  • Excessively high printing speeds can result in the first layer being printed too quickly without adhesion.


  • Thoroughly clean the build plate making sure there is no dust, residues, or mess.
  • Choose adhesives suitable for your printing filament and build plate.
  • Set the appropriate bottom layer temperature based on the printing filament you are using.
  • Consider heating the print bed to an appropriate temperature which can improve adhesion.
  • Adjust printing speed to ensure that the filament has enough time to adhere to the build plate.

However, if you find that persistent 3D printing first layer issues are hindering your experience, it may be time to consider a high-quality 3D printer like the AnkerMake M5 3D Printer.

It's designed in an all-aluminum alloy structure and is best suited for most prints. Equipped with a built-in AI camera, it allows you to monitor and control the whole printing process through its intuitive app, preventing print errors and ensuring consistent quality. Its PowerBoost 2.0 system accelerates the printing speed up to 500 mm/s while ensuring ultra-high accuracy and precision within 0.1 mm. From the first layer to the final product, the AnkerMake M5 ensures that your prints adhere securely to the bed, eliminating common adhesion problems and delivering flawless results.

First Layer 3D Printing Tips

After learning the 3D printing first layer problems and solutions, you can grasp some print tricks for the perfect first layer without ripples and bubbles. Below are 4 tips from placing the nozzle and print bed to setting temperature and speed.

  1. Regularly check the print bed. Before printing any objects, you should ensure that your printing bedis level and clean without dust and residues.
  2. Set the appropriate bottom layer temperature based on the printing filament you are using. If your printer has a heated print bed, the appropriate temperature can improve adhesion. Besides, consider an adhesive for certain materials.
  3. Tune the proper settings like the proper printing speed, suitable extrusion flow, and the distance between the nozzle and print bed.
  4. Opt for a qualified 3D printer, for example, AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer. It comes with an ultra-direct extruder which allows for the quick melting of different filaments. Moreover, it features a double-cooling system that can cool the filaments down at a proper temperature. It takes only one button to control multiple devices and produce a 3D object with high precision in 0.1 mm.


With the right knowledge, 3D printing first layer problems can be solved with ease. From calibrating extruder and bed temperatures to improving adhesion, there are plenty of ways to solve these issues effectively. So the next time you notice any problem concerning 3D printing’s first layer, always remember the techniques covered in this guide.


How thin should the first layer of a 3D printer be?

The first layer of a 3D printer should typically be set slightly thicker than subsequent layers. A common recommendation is to around 0.1 to 0.3 mm. However, this can vary depending on factors like printer type, printing material, and desired print quality.

What speed should I print the first layer?

A common recommendation is to print the first layer at around 30-50% of the regular print speed, though the specific speed depends on the printer model, filament, and desired print quality. Still, for better adhesion and less unevenness in the print bed, it is advisable to print the first layer at a slower speed than the rest of the print.

Is thicker first layer height stronger?

A thicker first layer height does not necessarily bring a stronger print. In fact, it can potentially lead to issues like poor bed adhesion, uneven surfaces, and less precision. The strength of a printed object primarily depends on factors like the material used, infill density, and overall design. It's crucial to strike a balance between adhesion and dimensional accuracy.