!!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)
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!!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)  

Josef Průša
Member Admin
!!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

Hi guys.

Before you ask anything here on the forum, we prepared a troubleshooting video. It should help you solve most of your problems or at-least diagnose them.

💡 Also make sure you read the troubleshooting part of provided 3D printing handbook:
Original Prusa i3 MK2S
Original Prusa i3 MK2
Original Prusa i3 MK1

💡 If you have defective part, always contact us at [email protected] directly.

💡 When you are posting on the forum or contacting us directly, ❗ ❗ always provide as much information as possible, ideally with pictures and videos. ❗ ❗


Building tips for Original Prusa i3 3D printer

Original Prusa i3 MK2 Guide for a new user

Updated on 27/06/2017

Founder and owner / Majitel a zakladatel
Posted : 08/01/2016 7:36 am
JackInTN liked
Noble Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

The PRUSA i3 MK2(S) is a very nice machine, and you will find that it is a reliable machine with great print quality. There are thousands of users who use this machine as a workhorse, and you can too.

That said, there is a learning curve and people make mistakes. If you are expecting this to be as easy as an inkjet or laser printer, it is not, but it can become that routine once you get over the learning curve.

This is a collection things most discussed on this forum as a reference for someone having problems starting (initial section) or trouble shooting (second section). None of this is “mine” but rather a collection of the advice, solutions and problems that are frequently discussed on this forum. This should be a good place to start looking for your answers. I am in no way affiliated with PRUSA, just a user who climbed this learning curve with the help of many wonderful forum members.

These hints/step are not to be used instead of thinking. Think about the problem/steps and make sure they make sense to you. This collection is provided in good faith, but you are responsible for your machine. Electricity and heat can hurt you or the machine. Make sure you are comfortable with the steps and your knowledge before jumping in.

This is a long read. But much shorter than reading the 1000’s of posts on the forum whose information is contained in this post. I think it is worth the read. Don’t skim. Read carefully. The most important advice is at the bottom.

<<< Starting out >>>

Here is my starter advice for getting your printer going well, and avoiding some of the common frustration inducing issues.

0) Make sure the belts are tight, and all of the axises are free to move smoothly. Make sure the wire bundle coming out the back of the extruder is held high and does not droop down where it will hit the print when the extruder is at any height. Make sure the X and Y axis are as perpendicular as you can judge by eye.

1) Run the Self Test from the menu. Make sure everything is connected correctly.

2) Make sure PINDA is above nozzle tip by <1mm but above the nozzle. About 0.6mm is a good starting point (but anything between 0.5mm and 1.0mm is fine), which is about the thickness of a credit card. Place a sheet of paper on the bed, and run the XYZ Calibration from the menu. Stay with the machine, and watch it. As it hunts for the calibration points, watch if the paper moves. If it does, STOP THE PRINTER. That means the nozzle is dragging and the PINDA sensor is a bit too high, lower it and try again, but make sure it is still higher than the nozzle tip. Repeat until you have a good XYZ Calibration. (Note the instructions on the XYZ calibration, and make sure the nozzle tip is clean.)

3) Set your Live Adjust Z roughly correct. This lets the printer know the distance between your PINDA sensor and the nozzle tip. The printer can measure the distance from the PINDA to the bed so this lets the printer know where the nozzle is relative to the bed.
a) Set Live adjust Z = 0.00. (XYZ Cal does this).
b) Do a Calibrate Z. (Head must be clean of drips and lumps).
c) Do a Home. This leaves the head at Z=0.15mm. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP.
d) Use Setting -> Move Axis X and Y to get in the approx center of the print space. DON’T TOUCH Z.
e) Put a piece of printer paper under the head. Printer paper is approx 0.1mm
f) Wiggle the paper while adjusting "Live Adjust Z" (in settings) until the paper just starts to drag on the paper.
g) Back off a bit (50) on the “Live Adjust Z”. Backoff: If you started seeing the paper drag at -0.675mm, change it to -0.625mm.
NOTE: If your Live Adjust Z value is >1mm something is wrong. It should be approx the distance from the PINDA probe to the nozzle. Anything between 0.4mm and 1.0 should be fine. (Less than 0.4 means the PINDA probe might catch on some print that curles up a bit, greater than 1.0 means either you did something wrong, or are just barely in the PINDA’s detection range.)
NOTE: The above may not be correct. The Live-Z value might be different from the PINDA to nozzle spacing if the PINDA is particularly sensitive or particularly insensitive. If the value is out of bound, proceed, but with caution. Most users on the forum report numbers “near” the distance from PINDA to Nozzle, but some seem to have more sensitive PINDA sensors which can me moved significantly higher than 1mm, and the Live-Z value is drastically different.

Note: Now you have set the nozzle approximately 0.15mm (paper +0.05mm) above the bed while the printer’s electronics think the Z is at 0.15mm.

4) Load some filament.
a) Make sure the tension screws are about 14mm from the body with no filament in the extruder. (This is looser than is intuitive for most people. Too tight or too loose will cause issues.)
b) Heat the extruder. You can do this with pre-heat or settings->temperature.
c) Use Load Filament from the menu. Continue until you have a nice thin strand coming from the extruder.
d) Cool it back down.

5) Make sure the bed is very clean.
a) Wipe with as pure an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as you can find. The little toweletts are not enough in my opinion. Use (and re-use) a paper towel and a good squirt of IPA.
b) (If really dirty, you can use Windex followed by Acetone followed by IPA, but that should only happen if you had used glue stick or other things on the bed and want to really clean it off). I do this if I am changing materials.

6) Get your Live Adjust Z dialed in real well. This ensures the first layer is properly squished down to the bed for good adherence and print quality.
a) Print using "Calibration_surface_PLA_75x75@200um_v4.gcode" found in Jeff's "Life Adjust My Way" Thread (Read through page 7 or so till you see the .v4 code. Look at the pictures.)
b) Repeat until you have a nice test print - all stuck together and one nice clean sheet.

7) Do the PID calibrations for the bed and the extruder from the calibration menu. Note: Some users don’t like the PID calibration and feel it has caused problems. Others have had great luck with it.

8) Print a few of the included gcode files. Start with the Prusa logo. The gears are a great test and fun thing to have.

9) Start with a few things on Thingiverse that are easy. Learn how to use the slicer of your choice (I like Slic3r, but there are many options and opinions and all have pros and cons). Start with things that don’t need supports. Trust me, supports should come in after you have good confidence in your printer and yourself. I suggest a Benchy as a great test print to make sure your printer is dialed in correctly. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:763622

10) Start designing your own things. Learn supports settings. Try different filament types.

<<< Trouble Shooting >>>

General advice.
1. The first layer is ALL important. Get it right first. See steps listed above. This will prevent a lot of frustration.
2. Print something from the SD card that came with the printer. If it prints fine, and things you slice don’t then you have a slicer issue. If they don’t you have a hardware issue.
3. Determine if the issue is persistent or intermittent. Try to localize the conditions that cause it. This is the fastest way to get to an answer.
4. Start simple before getting advanced. This is true for material choice, model choice, adding the MMU upgrade.

Print comes loose from the bed during print, causing either spaghetti or a plastic tumor to grow on your extruder.
Common causes:
1. Poor Z Height setting (see above).
2. Print bed is not clean (see above).
3. Extruder cable knocked the print off the bed (see above).
4. Model has small footprint on the bed. Add BRIM in your slicer if the model has a flat bottom, and/or a RAFT if it has a curved bottom.
5. A part of the print has “curled” up and caught on the nozzle or PINDA sensor. Look at supports in the slicer, increase bed temperature, use an enclosure to keep the part warmer and reduce drafts.

Extruder stops extruding filament. (Works for a while then stops)
Common causes:
1. Tension on the extruder springs is set wrong (see above).
2. Filament spool is not free to turn creating intermittent friction or binding. (Or filament is not wound well on the roll). Fix filament holder. Consider alternate designs on Thingiverse.
3. The extruder “Hobb-Goblin” pulley is dirty and debris is following the filament into the extruder.
4. The extruder “Hobb-Goblin” pulley is warn and is no longer grabbing the filament.
5. The extruder cooling fan (that cools the heat-break) is not keeping the heat-break below the filament melting temperature so it is melting and causing a clog. If in an enclosure, open the door. Verify the fan is running.
6. Intermittent (or broken) connection in the cable bundle for the extruder stepper (not stepping), cooling fan (not cool enough) or thermistor (causing the printer to think the temperature is cooler than it is, causing it to increase temperature beyond the range of the filament). Intermittent comes and goes as the cable flexes at different Z values.
7. Bad temperature for the filament.
8. Set screw on the extruder “Hobb-Goblin” pulley has come loose allowing the pulley to spin independently of the extruder stepper motor.
9. Set screw on the extruder thermistor is loose, creating a poor temperature reading of the heat block (see 6).
10. Poor quality on the filament diameter. Measure it with a caliper over a short span. Try a different spool.

Bad surface quality on the final prints. (The MK2(S) can do very nice surfaces).
Common causes:
1. Temperature swings. Do the two PID calibrations in the menu. (See above). (Some disagree.)
2. Loose belts (see above).
3. Linear axis (X and Y) bearings are binding or jerky (technical term). Check assembly, consider lubricant.
4. Wobbly Z axis or wobbly extruder casing.
5. Belts are rubbing on the pulley. This creates a periodic “bump” that takes the shape of vertical lines on the print.
6. Slicer settings. (A topic unto itself). Try different temperatures, retraction, cooling fan, etc.
7. Poor quality on the filament diameter. Measure it with a caliper over a short span. Try a different spool.

Print suddenly shifts in X or Y and keeps printing.
Common causes:
1. Loose belts. (see above).
2. Extruder cable hit the print. (see above).
3. Stepper motor not secured properly.
4. Curled print hits the nozzle or PINDA sensor.
5. Bad wiring to steppers, or steppers overheating (rare), or power issues (use an UPS).
6. Binding on the axis - bearings non clean/parallel, failing or not secured properly (zip tie) to the carriage.
7. Cat, kid, or ghost bumped the extruder while printing. Punish offending party.

Heated bed struggles to keep up with hotter bed temperatures.
1. There is a potentiometer on the power supply. It comes set around 11.5V. People have reported success with increasing that to 12V to 12.5V. There is some controversy to this, read the forum for details.

<<< Software >>>

There are 1000’s of free and pay tools out there for creating your models, slicing them, and so forth. This is really not the forum for that detailed a discussion, but I want to point you to some common ones so you can research them yourself.

1. Slicers. Convert .stl files (models) into .gcode commands for your printer. These can make a HUGE difference in your print quality. Most have 100s of settings and thus a learning curve, but the knowledge of the control is worth it. Common ones are: Slic3r (use Prusa one), KISS, Cura, Simplify3D (S3D) ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Guide-to-Slic3r/ )
2. CAD. OpenSCAD is wonderful if you have a programming background (even just a bit). TinkerCAD. SolidWorks. SketchUp.
3. Sculpting type modeling: Blender and similar.
4. Model Manipulation: Meshmixer, meshlab
5. Viewing GCODE files (a good check before you print): code.ws (web based)

<<< Enhancements >>

There are 100’s on this forum. Almost all have pros/cons so go read the detailed experiences in the forum. I have listed a few common ones that I think are useful. This is only my experience, your mileage may vary.

1. Remote Access and Monitoring. Using Raspberry Pi and camera, with OctoPi and OctoPrint (and amazing plug ins). Allows you to control your printer (and view the print) from any computer in your local area network. Plugins allow notifications and more limited control from outside your network. Get comfortable with the printer and control panel first, then consider this upgrade.
2. Enclosures. Lots of options in this forum. Good for temperature and noise control as well as providing a clean environment. If it gets too hot, can cause clogs if the heat-break cooking is not sufficient (see above).
3. Improve filament spool holders. Less binding, and more control over placement. I have mine OFF the machine, there are others still attached that are nice improvements. Search Thingiverse.
4. Sock for the extruder end. Maintains temperature better, and protects the extruder from damage. I cut the nip off of mine so the whole nozzle pokes through. Some people have issues with this, search the forum for “sock” to get the full story.
5. Filament storage and humidity control. Search Thingiverse.
6. Calipers for precise measurements, tools for (carefully) removing the print, superglue for cluing prints together and repairing cracked prints.
7. Consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) if your area has power glitches.

<<< Filament Types/Brands >>>

Stick with PLA until you are comfortable with your printer. It is the least fickle, is biodegradable (for those “learning moments”), cheap, and produces good quality parts/models unless you need special features (strength, temperature, robustness, flexibility, etc.)

Search the web for excellent summaries of the properties of each filament types.

Brands can be regionally dependent. At least at first, stick with the main well reviewed brands. Very inexpensive off brands can be fine, but can have quality control issues. Post your experiences here for everyone to learn from.

<<< Final Thoughts >>>

BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE: Don’t get frustrated. You WILL run into problems. Search this forum. Read. If you can’t find your answer in 10-15 minutes, post a question. In the question, please include a photo if appropriate and details of your setup including settings. Be mindful of which forum you post to. You will get the best results if you post to the correct forum (topic) and have a descriptive subject line. Include your pictures as an attachment in the forum, rather than your image hosting site (easier to see, won’t go away.) This is a very supportive group that will likely get you going again. If you solve the problem, assume someone else will run into that problem as well, and follow up your question with the answer. There are many people who read these and don’t post, and your solution could help them.

Any advices given are offered in good faith. It is your responsibility to ensure that by following my advice you do not suffer or cause injury, damage or loss. If you solve your problem, please post the solution…

Posted : 11/08/2017 3:11 pm
HappyKatz and Craig liked
Eminent Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)


Posted : 03/09/2017 7:13 pm
Honorable Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

This is a collection things most discussed....

BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE: Don’t get frustrated. You WILL run into problems. Search this forum. Read. If you can’t find your answer in 10-15 minutes, post a question. In the question, please include a photo if appropriate and details of your setup including settings. Be mindful of which forum you post to. You will get the best results if you post to the correct forum (topic) and have a descriptive subject line. Include your pictures as an attachment in the forum, rather than your image hosting site (easier to see, won’t go away.) This is a very supportive group that will likely get you going again. If you solve the problem, assume someone else will run into that problem as well, and follow up your question with the answer. There are many people who read these and don’t post, and your solution could help them.

Great summary, thanks! 😀

Only thing I'd add is that Prusacontrol can be used as a gcode reader.

Posted : 18/10/2017 10:56 am
Kiko Lobo
New Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

Thanks for this.

I am calibrating live Z every time I print, I leave it with a great first layer and then on my next day it starts printing bad the first layer. See my pictures.

Any ideas?


I have tried z calibrations and temperature calibrations on pinda, pre heating with the hot end up, etc, etc. But still happens. I did factory reset, and upgraded to the latest firmware.

Any clues would be appreciated. Sometimes I believe it’s not only a Z axis problem...

Posted : 19/10/2017 9:16 am
Active Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

Thanks, this solved all my calibration issues .

Posted : 16/12/2017 12:16 pm
Eminent Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

I have done everything on your list more then once but nothing works .I checked the nozzle clearance from the table and after cal it Is 1.45 mm.For some reason it won't get closer. and the live z adjust don't work at that point. When I run the test everything is right unless I missed something. I have a Geeetech printer that I built and set up got it to work right away. Gave it to grandson and went for yours which I think is Better, but no luck so far somebody please show me my mistakes.......And how to fix them .

Posted : 30/12/2017 7:01 pm
Eminent Member
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

I guess I wasn't trying hard enough .Yea, I finally figured it out ,My Z extruder was not set close enough to bed. I finally woke up to live Z setting and went far enough with the setting .I couldn't believe it was off over 1MM. Thank you for all the great info. I have printed the PRUSA sign with success .Now to figure out the fine tuning .

Posted : 30/12/2017 11:53 pm
Re: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

I will get days of great printing, then days of nothing sticks no matter what.

I think I traced the issue to bed leveling - I'd suspected, but when I got out the feeler gauges I saw >0.450 mm of difference between bed and nozzle with X=15 and X=235.

I added 50 microns (maximum adjustment available) to one side, took it off the other one, and got a much better. It's odd since I got ~3x the difference I was expecting, but I'm happy that BOTH sides of my z-level adjust pattern stick well now, and finally I'm getting Marvins to print more than a few layers.

Couldn't there be something in the calibration/mesh leveling that tells you your printer is WAY off?

Lastly, should I try to fix this mechanically? Perhaps moving the screwheads at the top of the Z-axis, or shimming bed? I haven't checked the plate the bed bolts too, but something must be a little warped.

A bit more digging, much of the issue is from the edges of the bed (the last 2 cm) are higher than the rest - if I run X or Y axis side to side, I get a consistent gap most of the way, but the last bits the gap just disappears.

I maintain an informal list of San Diego, CA 3D printing enthusiasts. PM me for details. If you include a contact email and I can add you to the informal mailing list.

Posted : 28/03/2018 9:23 pm
New Member
RE: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

I live in Dubai. So if my printer will not work, so may I take it to  Printer repair Dubai? Will it be work?

Posted : 02/11/2020 11:00 pm
Veteran Member Moderator
RE: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)

Hi suraiya-ahmed500, I suspect that you are unaware what this site is related to, 
A computer printer repair service is unlikely to be able to repair a 3D printer. 
Regards Joan

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK

Posted : 03/11/2020 12:00 am
Active Member
RE: !!! Before you ask ... Troubleshooting VIDEO! (UPDATED)


Thanks, this should be in the book.

Posted : 01/06/2021 11:50 am