Laying it Down – 3D Printer Bed PrepMatt Warren
Bed adhesion or 3D printer bed prep is one of many factors to consider when it comes to producing successful 3D prints. The first few layers are usually the most crucial as it can set the tone for the rest of the print. MakeShaper has a few suggestions on how to prep your bed prior to printing, but before we dive deeper – the first thing to consider is the orientation of the print itself when printed. Using supports may be a headache to remove, but a large footprint on the print bed could make even the first few layers susceptible to warping or other problems on certain materials.
MakeShaper usually recommends using glue on printers with a heated bed, depending on the filament material. To apply the glue, first start when the bed is cool to avoid the glue melting. A rule of thumb is you want to apply the patch of glue slightly bigger than the base of the printed part. We recommend using a water-based (PVA) standard glue stick. Our office favorite is the classic standard of Elmer’s water-based glue. Since not all materials have the same print characteristics, we recommend different methods for applying glue for different materials.
When printing with ABS, you should use two thin layers of glue. The first layer should be applied in the same direction and not overlap. The second layer should be applied over the first layer perpendicular to the direction of the first layer (think crosshatching or a lattice). This will help reduce the chances of warping when printing with ABS.
When printing with PLA, only use one thin layer of glue. Like preparing the bed for ABS, start by applying glue to a cool bed in the same direction and try to minimize overlap. PLA tends to not warp like ABS so it only needs one layer of glue for good bed adhesion.
When printing with PETG and TPU filament, we do not recommend that you use any kind of additional bed preparation such as glue for layer adhesion.
There are many factors when producing high-quality 3D prints. What we recommend may not work for every printer in every environment. Take our recommendations as a baseline and play around to figure out what will work best for your printer, material, design and environment.