3D printing is a procedure where troubleshooting can often take as much time as, if not more than, the actual process of printing the model, regardless of what printer you use or how experienced you are due to its complex nature.
Fortunately, more often than not, the issues come down to misconfigurations in the software that we can resolve, which beats having to send the printer in for repair no matter how infuriating and disappointing they can get.
Today, we will be looking into what is perhaps the most common issue in the 3D printing world, known as stringing, specifically in the case of one of the most popular printers on the market, Creality’s Ender 5.
So, what can cause the Ender 5 to have stringing issues?
Below, we have listed the most common reasons that can cause stringing issues with the Ender 5:
- Misconfigured retraction settings
- Too high print temperature
- Too low travel speed
- Printing with a clogged nozzle
- Printing with a moist spool of filament
Next up, we will analyze the factors that can cause the Ender 5 to have stringing issues in more detail and find out what we can do to fix the stringing issues as efficiently as possible.
What Can Cause the Ender 5 to Have Stringing Issues?
Stringing is a problem that is as annoying as it is widespread, both due to its capability of entirely ruining your prints with unwanted pieces of plastic all over them and due to the existence of many different possible culprits behind it.
In this section, we will go over all the potential causes that can cause your Ender 5 to have stringing issues in detail, which will be helpful to pinpoint the one that is causing the problem in your case.
Misconfigured Retraction Settings
Disabled retraction or misconfigured retraction settings are the primary things that can contribute to stringing issues, as retraction is essentially the first line of defense against this problem.
Since retraction consists of a few different parameters, let’s quickly go through the three main ones that are likely to be behind your Ender 5 having stringing issues:
- Retraction Distance – A low retraction distance value means that the filament doesn’t get pulled back far enough to prevent it from oozing through the nozzle, causing the stringing problem.
- Retraction Speed – A low retraction speed value can prevent the filament from getting pulled back quickly enough, which causes the plastic to ooze from the nozzle and cause stringing.
- Retraction Minimum Travel – A too high retraction minimum travel value can stop the retraction from working altogether, which immediately makes way for stringing problems to occur.
Too High Print Temperature
A too high print temperature is perhaps the first thing that intuitively comes to mind when stringing is the issue due to how the filament reacts with heat.
When the print temperature of your Ender 5 is too high, the filament will end up melting to a point where it liquefies a lot more than it should, making it prone to uncontrollably ooze out of the nozzle when it shouldn’t and cause stringing issues.
Aside from stringing, a too high temperature will also present itself in the form of artifacts, blobs, and even discoloration of the filament in severe cases where the filament ends up burning due to the heat.
Too Low Travel Speed
A travel speed that is too low is one of the most likely culprits to cause stringing issues on your prints.
In a nutshell, when the travel speed of your Ender 5 is way too low, the melted filament at the tip of the nozzle has enough time to ooze from the nozzle until the printhead gets into the printing position again, causing the issue we call stringing.
Aside from causing stringing, a too low travel speed will also unnecessarily slow the printing process down, making it a vital setting to check and configure correctly.
While it may sound unintuitive, a partially clogged nozzle can also be the reason behind the stringing problems you’re observing.
When your Ender 5’s nozzle is clogged partially, the filament coming out of the nozzle is more likely to stick to the piece of leftover filament instead of the print, which increases the possibility of stringing.
Since a clogged nozzle is also highly likely to cause under-extrusion problems that will affect your prints adversely, it’s definitely worth ensuring that the nozzle is entirely clean.
While one of the most overlooked factors, printing with a moist filament spool can easily cause stringing issues for any 3D printer.
A spool of filament that has absorbed moisture will throw the printing process off by causing the reaction between the heat coming from the printer and the plastic to behave unexpectedly, which can cause stringing issues when the filament liquefies more than it should.
As the symptoms of printing with a moist spool of filament are pretty apparent due to the cracking and popping sounds that occur during the printing process, you will most likely be able to pinpoint the problem quickly in this case.
How to Fix the Stringing Issues of Your Ender 5?
As many different factors can cause the issue of stringing to appear on your 3D printed models, fixing the problem is often a lengthy process that requires a decent amount of trial and error where you will need to attempt different solutions.
Below, we have listed the solutions for the most common culprits that can cause your Ender 5 to have stringing issues:
- Optimize the retraction distance. A value of 5 millimeters is a reasonable starting point, but experimentation will always yield the best results. We recommend moving this value up (if you observe stringing) or down (if you notice under-extrusion) in increments of 1 millimeter, depending on your results.
- Optimize the retraction speed. A value of 50 millimeters per second is the starting point we recommend, with five mm/s increments for fine-tuning. For retraction speed, the goal is to achieve the highest value possible while avoiding the grinding of the filament.
- Optimize the retraction minimum travel value. Starting with a value of 1.5 millimeters should do the job. For fine-tuning, try to go as high as you can where you don’t experience stringing anymore to accelerate the printing process.
- Optimize the print temperature value. Refer to the filament manufacturer’s guidelines for the print temperature value, as this will always yield the best results.
- Optimize the travel speed value. Using the default travel speed value of 200 millimeters per second is optimal, considering that you don’t observe the issue of ringing on your prints. Since lower travel speed values give the filament more time to ooze and cause stringing, keeping the travel speed value as high as possible is the best course of action.
- Thoroughly clean the nozzle of the Ender 5. We recommend cleaning the nozzle with a wire brush or a small needle after every print to ensure there is no leftover filament to cause trouble later on.
- Dry the filament. If you suspect that your filament is moist, dry it with the method of your choice, with the oven method being the most common one.
We highly recommend running a test print after you apply any of these fixes to find out whether you have resolved the problem or not to avoid spending time on applying fixes that you don’t need.
Solving Stringing Issues of Your Ender 5 with Experimental Cura Features
The Cura slicer software offers a few experimental features you can activate to reduce and possibly eliminate stringing issues altogether, which come in especially handy if everything else you have tried has failed to solve the problem.
Here are the experimental features you can enable in Cura to remedy the stringing issues of your Ender 5:
- Coasting – The coasting feature in Cura essentially replaces the extrusion instructions with travel move instructions for the last few millimeters of the path, which reduces the likelihood of filament leaking out of the nozzle and causing stringing.
- Combing – The combing feature in Cura changes the travel paths of the extruder, causing it to always go over the printed areas and ignore the empty spaces. While this change increases the total travel distance of the extruder, it also eliminates stringing issues.
- Wiping – The wiping feature in Cura instructs the printer to wipe the remaining filament off between layers, which cleans the nozzle from the leftover filament that increases the likelihood of stringing. Please note that the wiping feature will drastically increase print times.
As stringing is an issue that can plague every single 3D printer on the market due to it being a configuration-related problem rather than a printer-related one, your Ender 5 can definitely suffer from it without the correct optimizations.
To quickly recap, let’s go over the factors that can cause your Ender 5 to have stringing issues:
- Wrongly configured retraction settings
- A print temperature value that is too low
- A travel speed value that is too low
- A nozzle that is partially clogged
- Moisture in the filament
More often than not, going through the reasons we have listed above and applying the appropriate fixes should solve the issue and allow you to print stringing-free models with your Ender 5.