3D Printing Let's Talk Bed Adhesion.

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
3D Printer Bed Plate Adhesion
Bed Adhesion: What you truly need to know.
Like many of you, I am starting to experiment with exotic filaments. One of the issues that people face when 3D printing more exotic filaments are getting their prints to stick to the build plate. It is not that common filaments do not have adhesion challenges, but exotics often list adhesion as on their cons in nearly every instruction list.

Lets fave the facts, some filaments are too sticky while others just won't stick at all. If you have too little adhesion, the print could move during the print process which will cause it to fail. If you have too much adhesion, you could damage the print or print bead during removal. No one wants a failed print or damaged bed.

So, what is bed adhesion?

Adhesion is the tendency of two items to cling to one another. Bed adhesion is simply the ability of 3D printed plastic to cling or “stick” to the build plate during a print. The adhesion depends on the type of filament, type of bed, and the temperature of the beds. It can be reduced by bed contaminates and increased by the age of the bed. When adhesion is insufficient, the print can stick to the nozzle, peal form the build plate, curl up, or just turn into a molten mess on the nozzle and heat block.

Manufacturers have created a number of solutions to help improve print bed adhesion. There is an unlimited number of potential solutions that are only limited by the price you are willing to pay. There is no universal solution. Some surfaces work better with certain filaments. 3D printers use aluminum, Buildtak, Garolite, Gekotek, glass, Kapton tape, masking tape, stainless steel, PEI (film or textured powder), or PET tape. But there is not a single bed type that works best for the adhesion of every type of filament.

To manufacturers of printers, the whole goal is to build a surface that works with most filaments. No single surface is universally successful, but PEI is close. Glass is very durable, but often needs help to promote adhesion with some filaments. That being said the goal of this post is to discuss what we can do to improve or influence bed adhesion and why they work.

Adhesion is a property created by the combination of the bedplate and the filament you are printing. Some have too much and some have too little. Adhesion tends to increase with the age to the bed surface on most. If you do nto have the problem now, you probably will over time.

Ways to promote adhesion:

  • Make sure your bed is clean (Alcohol, Soap and water, and Acetone [ordered by risk to bed]).
  • Check you Z.
  • Use Hair spray (if too little adhesion)
  • Bed Glues including glue sticks.
  • Windex
  • Scrubbing (be careful to use the right product).
  • Sanding (be careful).
I am going to discuss each of these in-depth. I am not an expert. I am starting the thread to share information. I hope you do the same.
 

Kelly

Usually remembers to get the pointy end up
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
246
Reaction score
121
Location
Oregon
No information to share (I'm a noob) but a question/comment: I have an Ender3 with the stock bed. I am printing PLA, and almost always have a problem with over-adhesion. There are prints where I've had to get a very sharp knife, and force it right along the bed to free a print, to the point of scratching the bed. The included putty knife (even after sharpening up a bit on a belt sander) doesn't come close to working. I've damaged prints trying to get them off. What am I doing wrong (or, right?)
 

Charles_McG

Ciderwright
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,621
Reaction score
681
Location
SE Wisconsin
I'm interested in what you'll have to say about some of these topics. Especially about:
  • Which tricks are mutually incompatible. I made mistakes in the first week of owning a 3D printer by trying to use masking tape on PEI magnetic sheet. It doesn't stay stuck when heated. What is is either-or, not both?
  • When is PVA/Hair spray an adhesion promoter vs when its a release promoter? I've read it both ways.
  • Filament condition - especially adsorbed moisture status.
  • Nozzle/Heat break restrictions. I've seen both nozzle and bowden tube end partial plugs nail adhesion when the plug was partial and I could still get the proper wall thickness by increasing flow and slowing down. It took a couple repeats before I learned to recognize the root cause.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
I'm interested in what you'll have to say about some of these topics. Especially about:
  • Which tricks are mutually incompatible. I made mistakes in the first week of owning a 3D printer by trying to use masking tape on PEI magnetic sheet. It doesn't stay stuck when heated. What is is either-or, not both?
  • When is PVA/Hair spray an adhesion promoter vs when its a release promoter? I've read it both ways.
  • Filament condition - especially adsorbed moisture status.
  • Nozzle/Heat break restrictions. I've seen both nozzle and bowden tube end partial plugs nail adhesion when the plug was partial and I could still get the proper wall thickness by increasing flow and slowing down. It took a couple repeats before I learned to recognize the root cause.

This is coming soon.

Cleaning bed with poor adhesion:

  1. Clean bed with IPA: That is Isopropyl Alcohol and not Indian Pale Ale. I recommend a low lint paper towel with 91-99% IPA.
  2. Bathe the bed: Dawn dish liquid or equivalent and water. I use a plain microfiber-covered sponge. I use these because my wife won't and that allows me to reserve them for my beds.
  3. Last resort: Use acetone. I do this one to two times a year tops and only on my beds that I am considering tossing. Simple splash, wipe off and rewash with water. I do not let this sit or soak.
Next, I will discuss scrubbing and sanding.
 

Charles_McG

Ciderwright
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,621
Reaction score
681
Location
SE Wisconsin
Do you clean a bed as response to poor adhesion? Or as PM to avoid the problem?
Do you use the same order of preference no matter the bed material?
 

DaveW6DPS

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
474
Reaction score
226
Location
Barstow, CA
... I am printing PLA, and almost always have a problem with over-adhesion...
I have an inferior printer, without a heated bed. I usually print with PLA for general stuff.

I started out using extra-strength glue sticks for every thing. I have backed off on using anything on prints with a large contact patch because of difficulty removing them. Prints with smaller contact area will pull loose easily and need the glue sticks, but wide stuff doesn't.

I have also found that using masking tape and taking u the take with the print makes it easier on larger stuff.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
Do you clean a bed as response to poor adhesion? Or as PM to avoid the problem?
Do you use the same order of preference no matter the bed material?
I clean my bed when I switch filaments and once a week (PM). If I have poor adhesion, it is knee jerk to clean the bed and check my Z-height.
 

Karl

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
2,456
Reaction score
24
Judging by the amount of people that sing its praises, I must be the only one that has never had any luck with glue stick. A friend with the same printer doesn't get anything to adhere to the bed without using it and I'm the total opposite. Soon as the bed heats up the glue stick totally dries up and it's an absolute pig to get it back off.
 

ghostfather

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Mar 28, 2018
Messages
106
Reaction score
44
I've had the best luck just using a spray for 3D printers, equivalent to hair spray, on a heated glass bed. No more tape, sheets or glue sticks.
I scrape it between prints, and remove and wash it down using warm water and detergent when it starts to build up.
Also check the Z-height after large jobs or when changing filaments.

I use hair spray for all filament sorts, even if it's not strictly needed. I do have to change the bed temperature, fan cooling, and extrusion speeds depending on the type of filament, which seems to have more influence on good adhesion. I can print most things without a problem, except ABS, which warps on anything big.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
Judging by the amount of people that sing its praises, I must be the only one that has never had any luck with glue stick. A friend with the same printer doesn't get anything to adhere to the bed without using it and I'm the total opposite. Soon as the bed heats up the glue stick totally dries up and it's an absolute pig to get it back off.
Karl,

It is all about how you apply it, how thick, the type of bed you are using, and the filament. Stay tuned. That will come soon.

Each glue stick is different and will not work with every filament you use.

Here is a video on how to apply it:

 
Last edited:

Greg Furtman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2018
Messages
1,217
Reaction score
574
Location
Webster, Wisconsin
So far I have only been printing PLA although I did order a spool of PTEG. I had a Anet A8 that came with a warped aluminum bed. I bought a glass heated bed & used hairspray on that & most of the time I had good adhesion.

I just bought a Creality Ender 3 V2 and today is the first day of printing for it. It has a carborundum glass bed (silicon carbide glass?) that is textured on one side & smooth on the other. Using the textured side adhesion is absolutely no problem. In fact as @Kelly mentioned it is difficult to get the print off the bed. I'm going to flip it over to the smooth side & see how that goes.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
So far I have only been printing PLA although I did order a spool of PTEG. I had a Anet A8 that came with a warped aluminum bed. I bought a glass heated bed & used hairspray on that & most of the time I had good adhesion.

I just bought a Creality Ender 3 V2 and today is the first day of printing for it. It has a carborundum glass bed (silicon carbide glass?) that is textured on one side & smooth on the other. Using the textured side adhesion is absolutely no problem. In fact as @Kelly mentioned it is difficult to get the print off the bed. I'm going to flip it over to the smooth side & see how that goes.
Does that have dual Z motors?
 

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
2,065
Reaction score
355
I have absolutely no adhesion problems printing PLA on the Creality magnetic bed. It works like a charm, but I'm thinking about changing to a Wham-Bam to print ABS and other high-temp filaments. Does anyone have any experience with it?
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
I have absolutely no adhesion problems printing PLA on the Creality magnetic bed. It works like a charm, but I'm thinking about changing to a Wham-Bam to print ABS and other high-temp filaments. Does anyone have any experience with it?
ABS - think about textured PEI. I suggest Fullament PEI Bed.
 

caveduck

semi old rocketeer
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
131
The Prusa spring steel PEI bed pops everything PLA and PETG off nicely when you flex it, zero over-adhesion problems even with things that cover nearly the entire bed (and PETG is notorious for being able to pull flakes off a glass bed). I clean with alcohol and then spray with Windex before every print.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
The Prusa spring steel PEI bed pops everything PLA and PETG off nicely when you flex it, zero over-adhesion problems even with things that cover nearly the entire bed (and PETG is notorious for being able to pull flakes off a glass bed). I clean with alcohol and then spray with Windex before every print.
OI will say this is generally true but each bed is different from Prusa. I have beds that stick well and others stick too much. They are the same lot and shipped together.
 

caveduck

semi old rocketeer
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
131
Interesting! I've even wet sanded a part of one of my PEI sheets (#1000 grit) to deal with some scratching, and it didn't change the characteristics noticeably.
 

Alan R

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
368
Reaction score
230
Location
Oregon
No information to share (I'm a noob) but a question/comment: I have an Ender3 with the stock bed. I am printing PLA, and almost always have a problem with over-adhesion. There are prints where I've had to get a very sharp knife, and force it right along the bed to free a print, to the point of scratching the bed. The included putty knife (even after sharpening up a bit on a belt sander) doesn't come close to working. I've damaged prints trying to get them off. What am I doing wrong (or, right?)
I use an Ender3, and I've had it for a couple of years. I usually don't have a problem with adhesion except when I'm printing something with a small footprint. My problem was usually things sticking too good. I used to use the glue stick, but that was more for making sure it would release instead of sticking better.
Here's what i've eventually ended up doing. I only print PLA and PETG.
1. I put glass on the print bed. Just picture frame glass. I think it was about $7 at home depot (8x10), and use a glass cutter to trim it to size.
2. I blue tape the glass. I use the nice wide 3" stuff, and run it at about a 40degree angle across the plate. put it down edge to edge.
3. I used to put glue stick on the blue tape, but I haven't done that for a long time.
4. Over heat the base plate about 5C because the glass and tape are going to insulate it a bit. I run the PETG at 60c
5. LEVEL LEVEL LEVEL.. the glass helps with that. It's flat.
6. I use my old spark plug feeler guage for leveling. I don't have to gap spark plugs anymore. Nice reusability .102 for PLA, .154 for PETG
7. PLA works great as is just using recommended heat settings (205, or 215). I have to print my dark green higher temp than the light stuff. No rafts, no brim.
8. PETG ... I use a brim. Size of brim is usually at least 4mm for regular stuff. For smaller prints, or small footprint I've run it up to 8mm width. My problem with PETG is usually that it does NOT stick.
9. Finally ... be sure you tune in your print settings. It took me a looong time to get good PETG. PLA was never much problem.
10.. I only level the bed when I change filaments, or once a week or something. And I've found I can just leave the blue tape on there until I tear it gets ripped or torn when trying to remove prints. Then just replace that one strip.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
PETG ... I use a brim. Size of brim is usually at least 4mm for regular stuff. For smaller prints, or small footprint I've run it up to 8mm width. My problem with PETG is usually that it does NOT stick.
Funny. With Prusa's plate, it often sticks too much.
 

Alan R

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
368
Reaction score
230
Location
Oregon
Funny. With Prusa's plate, it often sticks too much.
It would super-stick to the ender build plate. whatever that stuff is... but now it's all blue tape
And I think I started using the blue tape on the glass because I was worried about ripping/tearing the build plate stuff.
 
Last edited:

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA

Charles_McG

Ciderwright
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,621
Reaction score
681
Location
SE Wisconsin
Does anyone use the ‘magic eraser’ pads?
And this is likely skipping ahead, but do people keep the bed temp on/elevated for the whole print? Or only the first few layers? I’ve seen comments elsewhere that have confused me about that.
 

Alan R

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
368
Reaction score
230
Location
Oregon
Does anyone use the ‘magic eraser’ pads?
And this is likely skipping ahead, but do people keep the bed temp on/elevated for the whole print? Or only the first few layers? I’ve seen comments elsewhere that have confused me about that.
PLA, no bed temp. PETG 60C, and I keep it on for the whole print. thats just me.
 

Karl

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
2,456
Reaction score
24
Which type of bed are you using Alan? I've never tried PLA on a cold bed before, think the lowest I've gone is 40c and that was only because the ambient temp was pretty high.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
Does anyone use the ‘magic eraser’ pads?
And this is likely skipping ahead, but do people keep the bed temp on/elevated for the whole print? Or only the first few layers? I’ve seen comments elsewhere that have confused me about that.
Yes. It works very well on all types of beds, but admittedly, I have not tried it on glass beds. I have tried both the generic tough pads and the Mr. Clean pads. I want to try the Mr. Clean Cloths if I can find them. I might have to order them on Amazon. The hoarders have cleaned the shelves locally.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
How do bed adhesives work?

The simple truth of bed adhesives, whether they are a cheap glue or expensive tapes, all of them have the same aim. The goal is to prevent warping, curling, print failure, and to reduce waste. Not all materials require a bed adhesive to stick or reduce stick to the build plate. PLA adheres readily to a heated build plate and rarely needs an adhesive. However, when the bed adehsives are used, the risk of warping and curling is reduced considerably.

Bed adhesives work by forming a layer or surface that maximizes or in some cases reduces print adhesion. It creates a thin layer between the bed and the print. In the case of heated build plates (which are necessary for printing materials with a higher melting point than PLA), hard materials like ABS, CPE, and PC can warp even with a support structure. The print material sometimes doesn't cool quickly enough to be strong and uneven cooling causes warping. By introducing a layer of glue, print-bed adhesion is improved, and the glue also acts as a layer of protection for the glass.

Some build plates are too adhesive and the bed adhesive in these cases acts as a releasing agent. The time to find out the bond between the object and the build plate is too strong is not ideal when you are trying to remove it. it is really too late when you are using sharp instruments to remove a print and rolling the dice on bed damage.

Adhesion bed glues or promoters:

I am going to start off by discussing them one by one and post by post. I will start simple and move specialized products.

  • Glue Stick: Elmer's Glue Stick is probably one of the most widely used products. It works to create a sticky layer on the build plate that will readily release with the flexing of a metal build plate or with tools from the glass. The key is how you install the glue. I have found that it works well for ABS and PC. Instruction can be found in this simple Youtube video. The only thing I do differently is I use a plastic razor blade if I get excess to keep the layers thin.
  • Hair Spray: Aquanet Professional is probably the most widely used. I do not know the availability overseas, btu in the US, it is widely available. I buy the unscented but scent does not appear to affect the adhesion. I just do nto like the hair parlor smell in my print shop. It is as easy as spray on and wipes off. It lasts for several prints. I love this stuff with ABS. Instruction can be found in this simple Youtube video.
I will post more on other bed adhesives soon.
 

Greg Furtman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2018
Messages
1,217
Reaction score
574
Location
Webster, Wisconsin
How do bed adhesives work?

The simple truth of bed adhesives, whether they are a cheap glue or expensive tapes, all of them have the same aim. The goal is to prevent warping, curling, print failure, and to reduce waste. Not all materials require a bed adhesive to stick or reduce stick to the build plate. PLA adheres readily to a heated build plate and rarely needs an adhesive. However, when the bed adehsives are used, the risk of warping and curling is reduced considerably.
  • Hair Spray: Aquanet Professional is probably the most widely used. I do not know the availability overseas, btu in the US, it is widely available. I buy the unscented but scent does not appear to affect the adhesion. I just do nto like the hair parlor smell in my print shop. It is as easy as spray on and wipes off. It lasts for several prints. I love this stuff with ABS. Instruction can be found in this simple Youtube video.
I will post more on other bed adhesives soon.
I've been using Aquanet Professional unscented on my new Ender 3 V2 with great success. It works with both PLA & PETG very well. And if I allow the bed to fully cool the printed item easily comes off the bed. I really like the Creality textured Carborundem glass bed.
 

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Administrator
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
25,028
Reaction score
3,082
Location
Glennville, GA
I may have to order one of those sheets.
 
Top