3D printing is a process where problems can arise at any time, whether it’s a problem with the mechanical hardware, the electronic hardware, or even the software at times, which makes experience a vital part of the process that allows you to diagnose and troubleshoot the errors quicker and more efficiently.
On the other hand, there is a first time for each problem, especially for the ones that don’t occur too frequently, which can make the troubleshooting process a lot more challenging due to the lack of conclusive information on the matter.
Today, we will be diving into one such infrequent problem, which is the Ender 3 randomly freezing during or even before the printing process without any signs that may point towards what could have caused it, making the device unresponsive until you power cycle the device to reset it, which in turn causes the 3D printing process to fail due to incompletion.
So, what can cause the Ender 3 to freeze before or during the print, essentially causing it to stop responding entirely and become inoperational?
As there are a few different reasons that can cause your Ender 3 to freeze, we have listed the most common ones below:
- Corrupt G-Code file
- Defective SD Card
- Firmware problems
- Issues related to wiring
- Malfunctioning mainboard
Moving on, we will analyze each factor that can cause the Ender 3 to freeze in more detail and go through the potential solutions that can help resolve this problem as quickly as possible to get your Ender 3 back in working condition.
What Can Cause the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Freeze?
The Ender 3 freezing during the 3D printing process is, without a doubt, one of the worst things that can happen, both due to it leaving your 3D printed model incomplete and also due to there being no clue as to what caused the problem to take place.
Below, we have listed the most common culprits behind the Ender 3 freezing problem, alongside their detailed descriptions:
- The G-Code file you’re attempting to print is corrupt. Issues during the slicing process can cause the G-code file to come out corrupt, preventing your Ender 3 from being able to read and execute the commands correctly. Considering that even the corruption of a single character will create a scenario where the firmware becomes unable to interpret the G-code file, a corrupt G-code can easily cause a freeze.
- The SD card is defective and unable to be read correctly. As it’s possible for only some sectors of the SD card to become unreadable due to various reasons, in the case where the G-code file resides in one of these sectors, your Ender 3 may not be able to access part of the file even though it seems like the SD card is working fine. As a result, as soon as the firmware tries to read this sector, the printing process will freeze due to the data being inaccessible.
- The firmware is not working as intended. As the firmware is entirely responsible for all the operations of your Ender 3, situations such as the firmware being corrupted during the flashing process or a firmware release that contains bugs can be the culprit behind the freezing problem.
- There are problems related to the wiring. Electromagnetic interference, incorrectly connected wires, loose wires, and damaged wires can all adversely affect your Ender 3 in multiple ways, including causing it to freeze during the 3D printing process.
- The mainboard is malfunctioning. A malfunctioning mainboard can sometimes present itself in the form of the 3D printing process freezing, even when it seems like your Ender 3 is functioning correctly during the navigation of menus.
How to Fix the Problem of Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Freezing?
Due to the mysterious nature of the Ender 3 freezing problem with many potential culprits that are equally likely to cause the issue, the process of finding the correct solution and applying it can be challenging and time-consuming.
Here are the potential solutions that we recommend applying to fix the problem of your Ender 3 freezing before or during the printing process:
- Replace the G-Code file. We recommend slicing the same model file you’re having issues with, slicing a different model file, slicing with other slicer software, and downloading pre-sliced G-code to gather many G-code files that differ from each other, testing all of them, and drawing conclusions based on the results.
- Reformat, or if needed, replace the SD card. The first step we recommend to fix a problematic Ender 3 SD card is to reformat it, which is known to solve the issue in some cases. If reformatting does not work, replacing the SD card is the best course of action.
- Re-flash the firmware of your Ender 3. For firmware, our recommendation would be to re-flash a clean, up-to-date copy of the firmware you’re already using, and if the issues persist, switch to an up-to-date version of Marlin firmware that is known to eliminate many of such problems.
- Double-check all of the wiring. The best course of action to double-check the wiring is to go through the wiring diagram as if you were assembling your Ender 3 for the first time and inspect each wire for signs of damage and loose or incorrect connection. Cable management is also an essential factor to keep in mind, as power cables getting too close to data cables will introduce electromagnetic interference.
- Replace the mainboard. If all else has failed, replacing the mainboard is usually the only option left, as it’s practically impossible to find out and fix what is causing the problem within the mainboard.
The Ender 3 freezing at any point is definitely both a critical problem that requires solving as quickly as possible to be able to print again and also a complex one that may take a while to figure out as the cause behind it is pretty much unknown at first look, with the possibility of the solution requiring technical expertise.
To quickly recap, there are a plethora of unrelated factors that can cause your Ender 3 to freeze during the printing process, such as a corrupted G-code file, a defective SD card, problematic firmware, incorrect wiring, and in rare cases, a malfunctioning mainboard.
Fortunately, all the problems except a malfunctioning mainboard, which is relatively rare, should be pretty straightforward to solve and put your Ender 3 back into printing condition in no time.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.