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How to Get Your 3d Prints to Stick to the Bed- One Method NEVER Fails

How to Get Your 3d Prints to Stick to the Bed- One Method NEVER Fails

Ever set up a 3d print, and you watch the first layer and it looks good? Then you walk away thinking that your print is going to be great, and then check on it a few hours later only to find a bird’s nest sitting on your build bed with your first layer on the floor? You’re definitely not alone. This has happened to the best of us. It’s a common issue that everyone who’s ever tried 3d printing has faced.  

One of the major issues when 3d printing is getting your 3d prints to stick to your build plate. And this is an important factor because let’s face it, if the print moves, no matter how fine-tuned your machine is, you’ll be getting spaghetti.

The reason you want your 3d print to stay put is because if it moves, the machine will still continue to lay down plastic where the gcode has told it to. But if the object has moved, then the nozzle will be printing in mid air and therefore bird’s nests, or spaghetti as makers would call it, will happen. So lets explore a few ways to get your 3d prints to stick to the bed.

Heated Bed

The first way to get your 3d prints to stick to your bed is by heating up your bed. This is the most basic of methods. Cold surfaces reject the plastic that’s laid down and just doesn’t let it stick to the bed. Even worse, it DOES let it stick to the bed, leading you to believe that it laid down a solid foundation for your print, only to come off the print bed as soon as you walk away.

Adding a smooth surface such as a piece of glass or a mirror on top of your print bed is also a good idea. I’ve recommended that you roughly sand the surface of the mirror or glass with a 220 grit sand paper to give the plastic something to “grab” on to, much like a primer would for paint. The tiny little micro scratches on the glass or mirror lets the plastic cling to the mirror better. Remember the heat is still the main cause of the plastic to stick to the bed.

I heat my bed up to approximately 60 degrees for my prints to stick, but I’ve gone as low as 45. There’s really no preference for this unless you’re using a special material. Some materials require different temperatures, but for PLA(the most commonly used 3d printing material) purposes, 45-60 degrees is sufficient.

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I’ve never personally used this but I’ve been told that hairspray works well too. The stickiness of the hairspray allows for the plastic to stick onto the bed without problems and apparently it stays there pretty well.

From my understanding, all you have to do is take a regular can of hairspray and spray the print bed before starting a print. I would say spray it liberally to ensure maximum bed adhesion. Then just start your print. Obviously make sure that the bed is levelled with a proper squish to the first layer to properly give it a good first layer.

The problem with hairspray is that it gets really messy. You’ll need to clean your bed a lot because the dust WILL get on the surface. Unless you’re using the entire print bed, which I highly doubt for one print, dust will accumulate onto your bed.

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I’ve never tried this either but it acts just like hairspray. The stickiness of the glue is supposed to make the print stick to the bed. As I’ve said, I’ve never used this method before so I cant attest to it’s efficacy, but I’ve heard a number of people swear by this method. All you have to do according to them is to apply glue to the approximate surface you’re printing on and print. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to wait for it to dry or print on the surface and it’ll dry during the print. As I’ve said, it’s not a method I’ve tried before so I cant really say if it works or not. You should try it and let us know!

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Masking Tape

Now this one I’ve tried several times, and I still use this method to date. It’s never failed me, EVER. My prints have stuck to the bed and didn’t move, a little too well sometimes. Plain brown/beige masking tape is my go-to method for getting my 3d prints to stick to my build plate. Anytime anyone asks how to get their prints to stick to their bed, I tell them this method.

To do this method is very simple, just lay down plain masking tape that you can buy at any hardware store or Amazon sticky side down. I personally cover the whole print bed because I like it to look uniform, but if you want, you can just lay it down to the approximate size of your print. I advise against this though because the chances of you being wrong is greater than if you just covered the whole bed. You don’t want to waste time and filament just to save an insignificant amount on tape.

After you lay down the tape, that’s it. You can start printing after you level your bed. Make sure you level afterwards though because the tape raises the print bed high as thick as the tape is, which can make a BIG difference with your 3d print. Just level your bed after you lay down the tape.

The only thing about tape is that it REALLY gets your prints to stick to the bed so it can get pretty difficult to take off, which could damage your print as you’re taking it off the bed. A trick I do is using raft on my prints. It allows me to damage the raft when taking off a print and preserving the product I just made. The tape also makes the print surface ugly because it leaves the adhesive residue on the bed.

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Special Build Plates

You can also buy special build plates like PEI sheets or Wham Bam build plates. These are special build mats that help your prints to stick to your bed. They can get really expensive but it makes 3d printing super easy.

They’re also flexible so when you want to take off your print, all you have to do is peel off the build mat and the print is undamaged and preserved.

Is this necessary? Absolutely not. Just the tape itself is enough to get your 3d prints to stick to your bed

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Final Thoughts 

There are many different ways to get your 3d prints to stick to your bed. Some methods are better than others. Hope you found this useful! If it helped you in anyway, please share it with your fellow makers.

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