This very exotic name, elephant foot, is nothing more than a definition of a rather common printing problem. That is, when the prints have the first layers larger than the layers above.
Generally, as also recommended in our guide of adhesion of the prints to the plate, we want to ensure that the print is well attached to the plate. Our advice was to bring the nozzle closer to the printing plate, to “spread” the first layer and ensure better adhesion.
Obviously this can lead to the base (the first 2/3 layers) being slightly larger than the upper layers. In this case the elimination of elephant feet can be addressed in 3 ways.
- The first way is by taking care to bring the nozzle back to the right height, and by intervening in one of the other ways described in the adhesion guide to ensure that the print remains well glued to the plate.
- Or you can act (if possible) directly on the model by modifying the design.
We can open the stl file using a drawing program and create a small chamfer on the bottom of the print. The size will depend on the print settings and what kind of border you are trying to create.A good starting point is a 45 degree bevel that measures half the diameter of the nozzle in use. If a 0.4 mm nozzle is in use we can bevel by 0.2 mm per side.This should be enough to return to a precise shape.
- The third, more rough, method consists in the mechanical elimination of the protrusion through the cutter. It is certainly the most dangerous and unsightly method, but in some cases it can be sufficiently simple and fast.
Elephant Foot: Rare case
It is also possible, in rare cases to tell the truth, that too high a plate temperature may cause the first layer not to solidify completely. As the volume and weight of the print increase, this gives way and spreads to an elephant’s foot effect.
In this case it will be sufficient to decrease the plate by a few degrees, trying to balance the temperature optimally to stay between elephant foot and warping.
Look the build plate temperature with infrared gun!