Improving quality of small parts?

My overall print quality is pretty good now. I’m using the latest slicer, mechanically the printer is as dialed in and calibrated as I can make it, no Z banding on een the smallest layers, etc. But I do have one small issue remaining. Whenever I try to print something that is very small (like a pea sized layer, etc), that portion of the part begins to lose quality when compared to the rest of the part. It’s almost certanly due to the plastic not cooling enough before the machine tries to print the next layer on top of it, but before I go pokeing around in those settings too much, I was wondering if anyone has located a good writeup on what settings to change to improve part quality for smaller items? I’ve been searching but I haven’t ran across anything that really focuses on that topic. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

edit: this is for a RAMPS 1.4 controlled AO-10x by the way. And a cooling fan for the extruder itself is in the works, but until I get that ran I’m looking for software configuration ideas to improve the quality for now.

Before you poke around, you can manually slow down the feed rate to maybe 30-50% on the fly as “proof of concept”. You can fake the fan by blowing on the part too… :smiley:

I’ve tried ramping down the speed when I get to the smaller layers, but that seems to lead to “fuzzy” parts with strings all over for no reason. I need some sort of pause between layers I think. Or maybe lower nozzle temperature once it gets to that point? I don’t really know, I’m just guessing at this point.

I tried blowing on the parts but i think i’m too full of hot air heh.

Have the same issue… Any fix?

I actually did figure this out eventually. There is a setting inside slic3r that is unchecked by default. It’s located under “Filliament settings” in the “Cooling” section to “Enable auto cooling” that one change alone makes small parts go from impossible to easy. I can easily print a tall cylendrical shaft smaller in diameter then a pencil with my .5mm nozzle without any distortion at all to whatever height I want. Very very tiny parts would probably still benifit from a cooling fan, but I haven’t felt the need to add additional cooling since I discovered that setting.

Glad to hear you have found a solution:

Just in case, here are my two go-to solutions for this problem:

  1. Print two of the same part on one bed.
  2. Print two parts on the same bed, one the small part that is having quality issues and the second a thin pillar (with a big base so it does not fall off the bed) a few mm away from the part.

Both solutions have the effect of moving the hot nozzle away from the small-cross-sectional-area layer momentarily to allow the plastic in the layer to cool a bit so that it maintains dimensional stability. AFAICT this is the idea behind the “cooling” option in slic3r, except the “cooling” option in slic3r does not move the hot nozzle away from the part, which even at the lowest of speeds can prevent a layer from cooling.