“A good beginning makes a great ending”.
While 3D printing, however, you’ll often find that your first layer simply won’t stick to the build plate. Simply saying it’s frustrating is an understatement. Oh and it sometimes might pop off in the middle of printing, which makes you want to smash your printer against the wall. But don’t worry, we’re here to help (and save your money!).
Cause and Effect
Start by identifying the cause of your problem. PLA or Polylactic acid is a thermoplastic polyester. It is most often the filament of choice while 3D printing because it can be worked with at lower temperatures
So what is causing it to not stick? Here a few of the common issues
- A lot of the cases of PLA prints not sticking is due to improper bed preparation.
- The bed is not at an optimal temperature, this can affect the viscosity of the material and cause adhesion problems
- Extruder temperatures also play a huge role in making it stick
So, if you have successfully identified the cause. We hope to provide some fairly easy solutions to your problems
Fix #1: Glue or Hairspray
Glue fixes everything, in this case even hairspray works! Probably a bit redundant to say this but if you are having adhesion problems, you should try adhesives as a solution. Glue and your typical hairspray work wonders!
Don’t worry you don't need too much of it anyway. Spread it judiciously into a thin layer. It will help ensure a successful print. Puff a bit then wait for it to evaporate and spray it again. Repeat this until you see a distinct layer forming. There are special glues and hairsprays specifically sold for 3D printing, but your regular hair sprays should work too. If you’re going to use your wife’s, be sure to return it back from where you took it!
Fix #2: Might want to throw a raft at it
While printing a model with a relatively smaller base, build plate adhesion can be a real problem. Thankfully, most slicer softwares has fixed this issue with “printable” build plate adhesion.
In your slicer, select the option to print a ‘raft’ or a ‘brim’. A brim resembles the brim of a hat. It revolves around the base of the model as many times as you would like, creating more surface area for the base to stick. Whereas, a raft is simply a slender platform under the object, this provides it with a great base to print on..
Fix #3: Print bed leveling issues
If the above methods don’t prove to be useful, you might want to have a closer look at the printing bed itself. An uneven build plate results in a skewed print, which might lead to the part warping or even popping off of the bed.
When the print bed is perfectly level, the amount of material deposited is even throughout the first layer. Which makes the layers above that stick properly. Leveling the axes of your printer might be a strenuous task but it is worth it. You might want to check out our guides on Print bed leveling and Auto leveling printer beds
The gap between the build plate and the print head is also very crucial! If you’re still having trouble with adhesion even after trying all of these fixes, try moving the print head a bit closer to the bed. This decrease in the distance will help better the adherence of the first layer onto the bed, providing better width for better adhesion. But be careful with this because if the nozzle is too close to the build plate, the filament will fail to extrude properly So,.we suggest a meticulous search for the perfect offset for your printer.