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Bed Adhesion - tricks and tips?

Discussion in '3D Printers & 3D Printing' started by Redbrickman, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. Dec 10, 2017
    Redbrickman

    Redbrickman Printer Master

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    I thought I would start a thread on bed adhesion as it is very often the bugbear of all new 3D printer users.

    As a newbie I have found it to be the hardest thing to get dialled in. I'm sure I have aborted 4 out of 5 printing attepts after seeing the first layer come adrift. Ask six 3D printer guys for advice on bed adhesion and you'll get 12 answers! It seems that everyone develops their own personal favourite approach to keeping that print on the table until finished.

    Having just had the printer a few days I have struggled with bed adhesion so open to any suggestions. I have had the most success with using masking tape but I find it a pain to apply and remove and get each strip lined up. On the bare glass bed I have tried glue stick which works sometimes but timing is critical as is using hairspray as they can dry out before the print starts.

    One popular alternative on the CR-10 and similar sized beds is the Ikea "Lots" mirror. Some are using them without any glue or hairpsray and getting good results, so this will be my next experiment.

    I'm using Cura as the slicer software so I have seen that some people set the nozzle temperature of the first layer higher by 4-5 degrees to help adhesion.

    The values I'm going to try for PLA are:

    Bed Temp 50
    Nozzle 206 for 1st layer and 200 thereafter.
    First layer print speed 25mm/sec.

    Will report back on my findings later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
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  2. Dec 10, 2017
    stratman

    stratman Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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  3. Dec 10, 2017
    Redbrickman

    Redbrickman Printer Master

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    Good info Strat - thank you.
     
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  4. Dec 10, 2017
    Nifty

    Nifty Printer Master Administrator

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    It does seem that bed adhesion (and a solid/good first layer) is often the most critical and frequently difficult part of successful 3D printing!

    You're spot-on that it seems there are millions of opinions on what works best, and many people swear that their way is the best

    ... that being the case, here's my best way! ;)

    First off, I've only been printing in PLA and don't really have any interest in heating up my bed. I've had plenty of success without heating the bed that I don't really care for solutions (hair spray, glue, etc.) that require me to heat the bed.

    I've tried Home Depot glass, hair spray, glue stick, etc., but nothing works as well for me (at least on a cold bed) as a layer of blue painter's tape.

    My first layer is often "squished" a bit into the tape, which has been working pretty well for me.

    Sometimes if I'm not getting great adhesion I'll wipe it down with a tiny bit of alcohol, but then it almost sticks too well :)

    If I'm printing something really tall and/or narrow, I'll add a small brim.

    A lot of people complain about having to deal with the blue tape (putting it on, replacing it, etc.) but I don't have that much problem with it. It also didn't seem to be much more of a pain than dealing with hair spray and glue... which I could NEVER get to work well for me.

    I watched a recent video where a guy swore by printing direct to a VERY clean piece of glass. No additional stuff required.

    Then there's all the TONS of different build-plate options... like a million! I've been interested in trying a couple, but honestly, what I'm doing is working well for me, so I'm having a hard time convincing myself to try something else.
     
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  5. Dec 11, 2017
    stratman

    stratman Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    How often do you need to change the blue painter's tape? Are there only so many times you can clean it with alcohol before that no longer works?
     
  6. Dec 11, 2017
    Redbrickman

    Redbrickman Printer Master

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    Well tonights experiment largely went well. I made sure my bed levelling was spot on after changing the glass plate for an Ikea mirror. As you say above Nifty it is possible to print to a clean piece of glass and the users of the mirror often say it is even bettter as it is very flat.

    First up I tried to print a calibration cube - very small, only 20mm in size. First attempt had about 10 layers down when I noticed that the corners were lifting up so aborted the print. I then added a brim and it worked very succesfully just on the bare mirror. The cube finished and popped off the mirror once the bed had cooled a bit. The base of the print is like a mirror (so suprises there) and it is pretty much perfect and dimensionally is .006 out on every face so I'm very pleased at the set up of the printer so far

    I'd be happy to use this method now for small parts with a brim added for safety but for tall structures I think I would add some glue just to be safe.

    Note: I also spent a long time tweaking the bed levelling and inspected the first layer on the failed first print to find that the thickness was around 0.2mm which told me that I have pretty much got the gap correct when doing the levelling. Those Ikea mirrors are only 3mm thick so more prone to distortion, and in the process I realised that the centre of my heated bed had a slight dip in the centre which I corrected with two layers of tinfoil about 100mm square between the mirror and bed.

    I feel like I'm getting somewhere now ;)
     
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  7. Dec 11, 2017
    stratman

    stratman Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    A Raft may be the best choice in this case according to the reading.
     
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  8. Dec 11, 2017
    Nifty

    Nifty Printer Master Administrator

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    It really depends on the print and how careful I am at removing it. Usually big / flat prints with a lot of surface area stick a lot more and often pull up parts of the tape.

    Sometimes I can get 10+ small prints out of the same piece(s) of tape.

    I've actually been super happy with the results of simply using a nice brim, but maybe fore really tall / skinny prints I'd hedge my bets with a raft.
     
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  9. Dec 11, 2017
    The Hat

    The Hat Printer VIP Moderator

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    I tend to use the raft on all my prints, because I usually forget to change it back to brim, but more so due to the success I get, when I’m doing a 20-hour print, I don’t want to come back and find one or two of the edges have lifted, giving it a curved base.

    I use 3DLac adhesive and let it dry on the glass, this causes the surface to be as rough as sand paper, and since the weather has turned cold I don’t clean the glass after every print, which works nicely plus I don’t have too apply the spray for every print.

    I also use several pieces of foil in the middle of the bed (3) smallest in the centre, but this can cause another problem, the centre of the bed does not get as hot as the edges, so I add 5 degrees more to the bed temperature.

    As far as tape on the glass goes, yes, it’s a worthy contender and pretty near the top for success, and it’s not as hard to stick down as you might think, applying it with a 1 mm gaps between each piece won’t make any difference, but tape does cause problems if your using heat. (Bubbles)

    When you read of all the different things that guys use for a successful print, you need to take them with a grain of salt, some are worthy of investigation and a try, but ultimately its what works for you that counts, even if the experts say you’re doing it all wrong. (Feck them)


    Tip; Getting your print to stick is one thing, and getting it off can be another, but letting the platform cool will make the removal far easier...
    E&OE... :hu
    May the 3DForce be with you... :)
     
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  10. Dec 11, 2017
    Redbrickman

    Redbrickman Printer Master

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