10 Things You Can Do Today to Make PLA Stick to Bed

by | Feb 1, 2021

Sticking to bed platform is the standard issue in PLA 3d printing.

Today I’m going to show you how to make PLA stick to the bed (FAST).

In fact:

The strategies in this post helped me succeed in printing with PLA filament about 100%.

And today, I’m going to show you the exact bed adhesion tips that I used to get these results.

Click a section below to be taken a right to one of the strategies.

1. Baking PLA Filament

pla filament dry box

PLA saturated with moisture will undoubtedly lead to extrusion problems. If the extrusion is inconsistent, it will lead to layers plagued with gaps or holes. It also will lower the bed and layer-to-layer adhesion.

If you cannot print the first layer perfectly, then there’s a good chance that the material will not stick well to the print bed.

To avoid this problem, it is a good idea to dry your PLA filament before printing. You can either in an electric oven or a particular filament dehydrator. Make sure to keep the temperature below 50 C° to avoid fusing the filament.

This process may take a longer time (1-2 hours). It is still better than ruining an entire spool of PLA material.

Better yet, keep your PLA filament in an airtight container along with some desiccant. Standard zip-sealed bags work well enough for this purpose, although the desiccant may have to replace every few months. This method could ensure PLA filament does not turn brittle due to excessive moisture absorption.

2. Level The Bed To Get Same Distance

level the bed

Even if you weren’t running into bed adhesion problems, Make sure the print bed is perfectly leveled is something you need to do before 3D printing. Aside from assuring good bed adhesion, it also enhances stability and makes sure there is no distortion in the final print details.

Fortunately, most 3D printers already have automatic leveling functions. If this is the case for you, just run the bed leveling sequence for a few minutes before starting the 3D printing project.

For 3D printers with no such function, you need to do bed leveling manually. You can adjust the bed knobs, usually located below the four corners of the print bed. The goal is to ensure that the print bed is at an equal distance from the nozzle at all points.

You can test this by sticking a piece of cardboard between the nozzle and the print bed. Do this test at various points of the bed, adjusting the knobs as necessary. With a bit of practice, you can finish the whole manual leveling sequence in less than five minutes.

3. Adjust Z-Offset Between Nozzle And Bed

Z-offset

If you’re still having bed adhesion issues despite a perfectly leveled bed, then your nozzle may be positioned too far away from the print bed. In terms of 3D printing parameters, We talk with this as the Z-offset.

For reference, you want your Z-offset to be a fraction of your layer thickness – about 80% is typical. This slightly squishes the filament against the bed, making it stick better. However, setting the Z-offset too low can result in molten filament getting dragged by the nozzle.

Although the Z-offset can be adjusted manually, You also could set it via slicer software. Make sure to make only minimal adjustments to the Z-offset setting. You are moving the nozzle 0.05 millimeters at a time until you get a good base layer.

4. Ensure The Bed Is Clean

printer platform

Frequently, Getting your PLA filament to stick is just a matter of cleaning your print bed. To maximize the filament’s adhesion to the bed, you need to be free of any foreign material or substance. This material includes specks of dust and dirt or even your thumbprints. Any leftover adhesive will also compromise the ability of the PLA filament to stick to the bed.

The best way to clean the print bed is to wipe it with a clean, damp cloth piece. If there is any stubborn adhesive residue, try to wipe it away with some acetone.

Whether you’re using a solvent or just plain water to clean your bed, make sure to dry the bed entirely before starting with 3D printing.

5. Use Bed Adhesive

bed adhesive

Bed adhesive typically isn’t needed when printing with PLA. That’s one of the reasons why PLA is considered the easiest to use 3D printing filaments. However, using a bed adhesive is still an option if you’re having trouble getting your PLA filament to stick.

There are a lot of options for adhesives that are compatible with PLA. The good thing is that PLA can print at relatively low temperatures. This feature means that the bond does not need to particularly heat-stable.

A layer of glue stick works well and is probably the most convenient option. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also cover your print bed with a layer of blue painter’s tape or Kapton tape.

More important than the choice of adhesive is making sure that you apply in it even coats. For glue stick, the best strategy is to go over each print bed spot only once. It avoids excess adhesive application that could end up being difficult to remove.

For any type, make sure that none of the strips overlap each other and mess up the leveling of your bed. The process requires patience and a steady hand.

6. Slow Down First Layer Printing Speed

Recommending a single, absolute value for PLA printing speed is difficult. A lot of factors will have to be considered including the filament brand, diameter, printing temperature, and even the material of the nozzle.

Printing at low speeds generally encourages good bed adhesion. For PLA, this should be somewhere between 30 mm/s to 40 mm/s. This allows the PLA filament to cool down slowly, allowing it to better stick to the print bed.

7. Add Bed Temperature

Recommending a single, absolute value for PLA printing speed is difficult. Many factors will have to be considered, including the filament brand, diameter, printing temperature, and even the nozzle material.

Printing at low speeds generally encourages good bed adhesion. For PLA, this should be somewhere between 30 mm/s to 40 mm/s. This speed allows the PLA filament to slow down slowly, allowing it to stick to the print bed.

8. Modify Cooling Fan Setting

If your 3D printer comes with a cooling fan, turn it off for the first two or three layers of your print. Again, the objective is to slow down cooling.

Once you convince the base layer has stuck adequately to the print bed, feel free to turn on the cooling fan at the maximum setting.

There isn’t a single guide that can tell you the perfect 3D printer settings to solve your bed adhesion problems. The truth is that are just too many factors involved.

Getting the perfect settings for your specific setup will involve a lot of trial and error. PLA is a very forgiving material, though, and getting it to perform as you expect should not be very difficult.

9. Change The Build Plate

heated bed

If you’ve done all the steps so far but are yet to solve the adhesion problem, then it might have something to do with your print bed. Tiny dents or scratches, even barely visible ones, can mess up with your bed’s leveling. Build plates made of metal are particularly prone to warping after heavy use.

For a build plate that will last longer than metal, you may want to consider getting a replacement made of borosilicate glass. Unlike metal, glass does not warp and heats up more evenly. The perfectly smooth surface of a glass build plate transfers well to the bottom side of your finished 3D printing projects. However, glass is prone to abrasion, so be very careful when using sharp tools to pry off finished prints from the bed.

10. Use An Enclosure To Balance Temperature

3d printer enclosure

Another method is to print inside an enclosure. Some 3D printers already have built-in chambers, so this might already be a given if you’re lucky.

If your printer does not have one, you can buy it as a third-party accessory or build your essential materials. Even plastic sheets draped on a frame made of plastic tubing will do just fine.

The entire point of an enclosure is to isolate the build chamber from the environment’s cooling effects. This means that heat loss to the surroundings will keep to a minimum.

Printing in an enclosure may not be necessary for PLA, it’s always an available option if you’re having bed adhesion troubles. However, high-temperature filaments like ABS or Polycarbonate are almost impossible to use without an enclosure.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope this post showed you how to make PLA stick to the bed using easy, utility tips.

Now I’d like to know which method in the post are you use frequently?

Let me know the comment if you take action in the post or have another way.