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3D Printing Tip #2 - Improving Build Plate Adhesion

March 11, 2020

The quick 3D printing tip series will feature different "hacks" you can use to get better 3D prints! Each tip will showcase a common problem that comes inherent to 3D printing and a solution for it. These tips will be bite-sized pieces of information that are easy and quick to implement. 

If you're printing in materials other than PLA, you probably noticed that your print either doesn't stick to the bed or warps some time into the job. It's natural for material to do because when hot filament comes out of the nozzle and cools quickly, it tends to shrink. There are a few ways to mitigate those effects: 

 

#1 - Clean your build plate! 

If you are using an Ultimaker then you're using a glass plate. Some printers like the Lulzbot have a PEI sheet on them and other printers may use something else. 

Glass is simple, take it to your dish washing station and scrub it clean with some soap and water. Dry it using paper towels and try your hardest not to touch it! Our fingers are oily and filament doesn't like oily glass. 

Nine times out of ten when we're printing with PLA, this method works well.

 

#2 - Use a brim and/or change your initial layer height to 0.1mm 

A brim is a small extension to your part that comes off easily after the job finishes. The light blue you see in the picture below increases the surfaces area of your first layer to mitigate the shrinkage effect some materials have. 

We also found that the default initial layer height of 0.2mm-0.27mm is sometimes too far away from the bed for a good first layer. You can simply change that in your preferred slicer by locating the "initial layer height" option.

* Note that sometimes this may have the undesirable effect of bonding extremely well to the build plate. Be careful when removing prints! *

 

#3 - Use some goop! 

We carry Magigoo and Dimafix and found what works better based on the material used.

It's recommended to wash and reapply the adhesive aid before every print for maximum reliability but we found that we can go for 3-5 jobs without reapplying. 

Material Adhesion aid/tip
PLA Original Magigoo
ABS Dimafix
Nylon Dimafix or Magigoo PA
Polypropylene Magigoo PP
CPE/PET/PETG/HIPS Original Magigoo
Carbon/glass filled materials Dimafix and bed temp at 85-110
TPU Clean surface
Polycarbonate Dimafix

Clean the build plate and apply these adhesives when the bed is at room temperature and make sure to let the bed cool to room temperature before removing the part. We usually have more than one glass plate per printer to improve our machine up-time. 

* Notice that printers with PEI/Buildtak sheets may experience different results with these adhesives. *



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