How to Fix Salmon Skin, Zebra Stripes and Moiré in 3D Prints

Salmon scale, tiger marks & wave patterns are undesired effects that can tarnish the appearance of your 3D creations. If you’ve encountered these glitches in your 3D projects, rest assured you’re not alone. This piece will delve into the cause of salmon scale in your 3D projects and offer solutions to rectify it. To combat salmon scale, tiger marks, and wave patterns, consider updating your outdated stepper motor drivers to TMC2209 or integrating TL Smoothers. Minimizing vibrations and opting for a firm printing base can also be beneficial. Tweaking your Wall Thickness and moderating your print velocity can be game changers. Dive deeper into the article to uncover more insights on remedying these anomalies.


What Spurs Salmon Scale, Tiger Marks & Wave Patterns in 3D Projects?
Understanding Salmon Scale, Tiger Marks & Wave Patterns in 3D Projects
1. Incorporate TL Smoothers
2. Refresh Your Stepper Motors Drivers
3. Diminish Vibrations & Opt for a Solid Printing Base
4. Augment Wall Thickness & Boost Infill Wall Overlap Percentage
5. Moderate Printing Velocity
6. Acquire New Straps & Ensure They’re Snug

Why Does Salmon Scale Appear in 3D Projects?
The term ‘salmon scale’ in 3D designs draws its name from its resemblance to the actual scale patterns found on salmon, akin to tiger marks and wave patterns. Some culprits behind these flaws include:

– Outdated stepper motor mechanisms
– Operating on shaky grounds or unstable platforms
– Insufficient wall thickness or infill wall overlap
– Excessive printing speeds
– The need to replace slackened belts

To illustrate, consider the tiger marks observed on the Ender 3, attributed to its dated stepper mechanisms and primary board. The brighter side is, with the advent of contemporary 3D printing tech, such glitches are becoming rarer.

The Road to Perfecting 3D Projects
– Integrate TL-Smoothers:
A prime tactic to rectify salmon scale and similar imperfections like tiger marks is the integration of TL Smoothers. These nifty devices, when attached to your 3D printer’s stepper motor systems, regulate the driver voltages, ensuring stability. While their necessity largely hinges on your printer’s board type, modern boards usually have this feature built-in. They promise fluid movements, enhancing the overall printing experience. A user review highlighted the stark improvement in print finesse post their installation. They primarily counter voltage fluctuations, thereby ensuring smoother motor operations. Installing them is a breeze. Simply access your mainboard, detach and reattach the steppers via the TL Smoothers, and you’re set.

– Revamp Your Stepper Motors Drivers:
If the earlier solutions don’t resonate with your printer’s quirks, perhaps transitioning to TMC2209 drivers might be the key. Revered for their silent operations and compatibility with numerous boards, these drivers can significantly reduce the need for TL Smoothers. Their energy-efficient nature and impeccable heat dissipation properties make them an excellent choice for prolonged printing sessions.

– Tame the Vibrations & Seek Solid Ground:
Vibrations can be the arch-nemesis of perfect 3D prints. Ensure your printer’s nuts and bolts are firmly in place. A sturdy printing base can drastically cut down on unwanted anomalies like salmon scale and tiger marks. Some enthusiasts even swap their hefty glass beds for lighter alternatives to reduce weight-induced vibrations.

– Fortify Wall Thickness & Optimize Infill Overlap:
In some instances, the internal fill might cast unwanted shadows on your print’s exterior, mimicking the salmon scale effect. Boosting your Wall Thickness and tweaking the Infill Wall Overlap Percentage can often resolve this. For starters, try a Wall Thickness of about 1.6mm and an Overlap Percentage in the ballpark of 30-40%.

– Control Your Print Speed:
A simple yet effective remedy can be moderating your print speed. As logic dictates, swifter speeds can induce vibrations, translating to print inconsistencies. Tweaking your Wall Speed or reverting to default settings can often iron out these issues. One hobbyist observed fewer print surface ripples upon reducing their speed.

– Renew and Retighten Belts:
An often overlooked aspect, ensuring your printer’s belts are in prime condition can mitigate imperfections. Slackened or worn-out belts can often lead to print issues. Replacing them can often be the simple fix you need.