3D Printer Bed Preparation

From CoMakingSpace Wiki

There are several ways to ensure 3D prints adhere to the print bed, which one you choose depends on the type of 3D printer bed surface you are preparing and sometimes the printing material and how much money you are willing to spend.

Original Prusa i3 MK2S

This printer model has a special PEI print bed that should simply be wiped clean with isopropanol. DO NOT USE ACETONE, TAPE OR GLUE.

Printers without Special PEI Coatings

Many hobbyist printers simply have a glass or aluminum print bed which functions better with some tricks.

Kapton Tape for PLA

PLA, the plastic we print with almost exclusively, sticks well on a clean and even surface of polyimide ("Kapton") tape. Heating the bed to 60 °C also helps and reduces the warping of large prints.

Cleaning the Tape

We clean the top of the Kapton surface with acetone as dust and fingerprints reduce print adhesion.

  • a little dab of acetone on a paper napkin is sufficient
  • usually not necessary more than once a day!

Replace the Tape

Even experienced print removers tear the tape now and then so the surface degrades over time. Do not let it get to a point where this causes prints to fail, but please devote a few minutes now and then to make your printing experience (and everyone else's) a lot better.

To change the tape (sometimes one or two strips are already enough), follow these steps:

  • get a roll of fresh Kapton tape
  • remove damaged strips from the print bed
  • wipe the exposed area with a bit of acetone and let it dry
  • carefully apply a new strip of tape, making sure not to trap air bubbles
    • fingernails, credit cards or a thin film of soapy water underneath the tape (not tested) can make this easier