What’s the issue?
“Elephant feet” refers to the deformation of the bottom layer of the model that slightly protrudes outward, making the model look as clumsy as elephant feet.
—Insufficient Cooling on Bottom Layers
—Unlevel Print Bed
—Insufficient cooling on bottom layers
This unsightly printing defect may be due to the fact that when the extruded filament is piled up layer by layer, the bottom layer has not had enough time to cool down, so the weight of the upper layer press down and cause deformation. Usually, this situation is more likely to happen when a heated bed with a high temperature is used.
Decrease heated bed temperature
Elephant feet are the common cause of excessive heated bed temperature. Therefore, you can choose to lower the heated bed temperature to cool down the filament as soon as possible to avoid elephant feet. However, if the filament cools down too fast, it may cause other issues like warping. So, adjust the value slightly and carefully, and try to balance the deformation of the elephant’s feet and the grimace.
Adjust the fan setting
In order to bond the first couple of layers on the print bed better, you can turn off the fan or lower the speed by setting the slicing software. But this will also cause elephant feet because of the short cooling time. It is also a necessity that balances the warping when you set the fan to fix elephant feet.
Raise the nozzle
Slightly raising the nozzle to make it a little farther away from the print bed before starting the printing can also avoid the problem. Be careful the raising distance should not be too large, otherwise, it will easily cause the model to fail to bond onto the print bed.
Chamfer the base
Another option is to chamfer the base of your model. If the model is designed by you or you have the source file of the model, there is a clever way to avoid the elephant foot problem. After adding a chamfer to the bottom layer of the model, the bottom layers become slightly concave inward. At this point, if elephant feet appear in the model, the model will deform back to its original shape. Of course, this method also requires you to try multiple times to achieve the best results.
—Unlevel Print Bed
If elephant feet appear in one direction of the model, but the opposite direction is not or not obvious, it may be because the print table is not leveled.
Every 3D printer has a different process for print platform leveling, some like the latest Lulzbots utilize an extremely reliable auto leveling system, such as the Ultimaker has a handy step-by-step approach that guides you through the adjustment process. Refer to your printer’s manual for how to level your print bed.