There are many 3d printer users, from beginners to experienced user, who have problems with 3D Print Not Sticking to Bed. The poor connection between the first layer and the build surface is the main cause of this problem.
If you continue to print while having problems with adhesion => There’s a high chance that your print will be wrapped, or fall off the build plate during the printing process.
In this article, we will summarize the best methods to fix first 3D Print Not Sticking to Bed. Keep on reading to find the best solution for you.
- Reason 1: Nozzle starts too far away from bed (Wrong Z-offset setting)
- Reason 2: Build platform wrapped or uneven
- Reason 3: Bed surface is worn out or unclean
- Reason 4: Slicer settings are not optimal – especially first layer
- Reason 5: Using low-quality or wet filament
- Reason 6: Build surface is not optimized for filament
- Wrapping up
Reason 1: Nozzle starts too far away from bed (Wrong Z-offset setting)
The most important setting that directly affects the adhesion between the filament and the printer bed surface is the Z-Offset value.
Z offset is the distance between the nozzle and the Z home position on 3D printers.
If the nozzle is too far from the Z home position of the printer, the extruded material will not make close contact with the build plate surface => Reduce first layer adhesion with printer bed.
Conversely, if the nozzle is too close to the surface, it can damage the nozzle or the build surface.
To change the Z-offset parameter, you can use slicer software or use Gcode. Some printers like Ender 3 support you to change the Z-Offset directly through the control screen.
Here’s a quick guide to changing the Z-offset using Cura:
Change Z-Offset using slicer software (Cura)
By default, Cura doesn’t include Z-offset setting, you can enable this setting by installing Cura Z-offset plugin:
On Cura, open Marketplace and look for Z Offset Setting plugin
After installing the plugin, restart Cura to enable the plugin. Now re-open Cura and you will see Z Offset setting in Build Plate Adhesion section
Set a positive value if you want to increase the distance between nozzle and surface.
Set a negative value if you want to lower the nozzle near the printer bed
Change Z-Offset Onboard Display (Ender 3)
Some printer models support changing the Z-Offset via the control screen. With Ender 3, for example, you can change the Z-Offset with just a few taps.
On the Onboard Display, select Motion
Next select Move Axis and choose Move Z
Now just change the value and you will see the nozzle rise or fall accordingly
Change Z-Offset using Gcode
Changing Z-Offset using Gcode is a bit more complicated, I will write a dedicated tutorial about this next time. You can follow this video to learn how to change Z-Offset using Gcode.
Reason 2: Build platform wrapped or uneven
One of the most common causes of 3d print not sticking to bed is an uneven or wrapped build plate.
When the bed is uneven or wrapped, one side of the bed will be closer to the nozzle than the other side, resulting in the filament flowing from the nozzle not having the best contact with the build surface, which results in reducing the first layer quality.
When the adhesion of the first layer to the build plate is poor, obviously 3d print will not stick to the bed. If the unevenness is more severe, your print will warp, break, and detach from the build plate.
For Wrapped bed
Step 1: Find the wrapped part
Use a straight metal ruler placed perpendicular to the build plate surface. Next, use a flat metal bar half the thickness of the layer height.
Thread the flat metal rod into the contact area of the ruler and the build plate.
If the build plate is not warped, the flat metal bar will not be able to pass through the contact area.
If the build plate is warped, the metal bar will pass through the contact area in the wrapped part of the build plate.
Video for your reference
Step 2: Fix the wrapped part
For wrapped bed, the best solution to deal with it is to replace a new build surface because the process of handling the warped area is very complicated, laborious, costly, and time-consuming.
However, for some reason, you still want to keep the wrapped bed, follow these steps to smooth out the warped area of the build plate
Use a flat surface (a surface plate is recommended) and clip over it with a large sheet of sandpaper.
Now, you can check the warping area (the protruding part) by lightly grinding the surface of the printer bed into sandpaper. The part with scratches is the warping part that we need to deal with
Next, proceed to grind the build surface onto sandpaper
After grinding for a while, try inserting a thin flat metal bar under the contact area between the printer bed and the surface plate.
If the metal bar does not pass through the contact area => The printer bed surface has been ground flat.
If the metal bar passes through the contact area => The printer bed surface is still warped and you must continue to grind
This video explain the whole process on how to fix wrapped printer bed
For uneven bed
For uneven beds, the fix is much simpler.
First move the nozzle closer to the printer bed by adjusting the Z-axis, with a distance of only about 5mm.
Next, move the printer head to the 4 corners of the build plate in turn. Keep raising the printer bed until the nozzle drags against the paper.
Do the same with the remaining corners of the 3d printer.
Once the alignment is done, try to print a Bed leveling squares calibration test to make sure the printer bed is balanced. Here’s the download link: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2789086
Here are the results with every height of the printer bed
If you do it correctly, you will have an even bed and your 3d print now should stick to bed properly
Here’s the video for your reference
Reason 3: Bed surface is worn out or unclean
If the printer bed surface is dirty, the contact area between the first layer and the printer bed surface will have adhesion problems. If you do not clean the build plate surface before proceeding to print the next model, it is very likely that your 3d print will not stick to the printer bed.
In case the bed surface is worn, it will reduce the friction between the 3d print and the printer bed. The best solution, in this case, is to replace a new printer bed.
Some common things such as filaments leftover from previous printing, glue on the surface, dust, oils/sweat from your hands, etc… are common causes of poor adhesion of the first layer with the printer bed surface
Cleaning the surface of the printer bed is obviously an effective way to fix the problem of 3d prints not sticking to the printer bed surface.
However, for each type of filament as well as each type of printer bed, there are different cleaning methods. You must find out carefully before proceeding to clean so as not to damage your 3d printer bed.
I wrote a very detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to clean 3D printer bed here (applies to the most common filament and printer beds).
Within the framework of this article, I will summarize the most effective and popular cleaning methods
Clean glue off the printer bed
|Things to prepare:
– Window Cleaner Spray Bottle
– Microfiber cloth
– 3D printer scraper
Step 1: Spray the window cleaner you prepared into the glue area.
Step 2: Wait 3-4 minutes and use a microfiber cloth to clean the glued area.
Clean filaments leftover from previous printing
|Things to prepare:
– Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) at 70% to 99.99% concentration
– Disk soap
– An empty spray bottle
To clean common filaments such as PLA, ABS, and PETG, we will use appropriate solvents.
- PLA: Isopropyl Alcohol
- ABS: Acetone
- PETG: Isopropyl Alcohol
Step 1: Spray solvent on the area to be cleaned and wait a few minutes.
Step 2: clean with a microfiber cloth if the material does not adhere too much to the surface. If it is not possible to clean with a microfiber cloth, now use a scraper to clean the remaining plastic.
Clean oil/sweat from previous printing
|Things to prepare:
– Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) at 70% to 99.99% concentration
– Dry cloth
– An empty spray bottle
Oil or sweat from your hands can also stain the printer bed surface and reduce grip. Unlike glue or filament, it is not easy to see whether oil or sweat adheres to the surface of the printer bed.
The most effective way to clean oil and sweat from the surface of the printer bed is to use Isopropyl Alcohol
Just spray Isopropyl Alcohol on a dry cloth and wipe the surface. Isopropyl Alcohol solution will quickly clean oil and sweat, thereby increasing the adhesion of 3d print to the printer bed
Reason 4: Slicer settings are not optimal – especially first layer
In addition to physical factors, Slicer settings greatly affect the adhesion of 3d print to the printer bed.
There are many slicer settings that affect the adhesion of a 3d print to the printer bed, but the settings below are the ones that have the biggest impact.
- First layer printing speeds
- Support structure (brim or a raft)
- Flow Rate (Extrusion speed)
- Bed temperature
First layer printing speeds
If you have problems with the 3d print’s adhesion to the printer bed, try reducing the print speed of the first layer.
For different types of filaments, there will be different optimal printing speeds. From my experience, you should set the first layer print speed around 20-30mm/s. This printing speed will ensure that the fused filament has enough time to adhere to the surface
Also, refer to the table below to choose good printing speeds for some of the most commonly used filaments:
|ASA||20 / 40mm/s|
|ABS||40 / 70mm/s|
|PETG||40 / 80mm/s|
|PLA||30 / 80mm/s|
|NYLON||40 / 55mm/s|
|HIPS||25 / 60mm/s|
|TPU||10 / 35mm/s|
Support structure (brim or a raft)
The support structure is also an extremely effective method to increase the adhesion of 3d print to the printer bed
There are 3 types of support settings to increase stickiness: Skirt, Brim, and Raft. These 3 settings are great ways to prevent prints from warping or popping off the bed, I will explain in detail each type of setting and how they affect adhesion for 3d print
Skirt: Skirt is the outline that surrounds your print. Skirt is always printed before printing the model and the skirt does not come into direct contact with the 3d printed object.
Don’t think that a skirt is simply a border around an object, in fact skirts have many benefits.
Skirt acts as a sort of material purge, making sure that the filament is well extruded and free from clogging or fouling. If you notice anything wrong with the skirt layer, you can immediately stop the printer and make adjustments before the actual model begins printing.
Skirt also helps you to check if the printer bed is level, and if there is any problem of filament adhesion to the printer bed.
Brim: The brim setting adds a thin flat surface layer below the first layer of the 3d print. Thus, instead of being in direct contact with the bed surface, the print will be on the layer created by the brim. This helps to reduce warping and increase adhesion.
If your model has sharp corners, or the area in contact with the printer bed is small, then Brim is very useful and sometimes, a must-use layer.
Raft: The raft setting will add below your actual print a 3d printed base, this base is made up of many overlapping layers. A correct raft setting will greatly increase the adhesion of 3d print to the printer bed because plastic always has a higher adhesion to plastic than other materials.
The difference between raft and brim is that brim usually has only one layer, while Raft is made up of many layers. Also, rafts go underneath the printed object, whereas brims go around the printed object.
The downside to raft is that it will be harder for you to remove this support structure from the model after printing is complete. Plus, using raft will significantly increase print time.
After enabling Raft or Brim, read this article if you have trouble removing 3d print from printer bed.
You can choose to use Brim/Raft or Skirt here in Cura (Build Plate Adhesion section)
Flow Rate (Extrusion speed)
Flow rate determines how much filament will be extruded from the nozzle. A higher flowrate setting will result in a stronger first layer and better adhesion. If you have problems with adhesion, this is a setting not to be missed.
Here is an example of how different levels of flow rate affect the first layer
Since more filaments are extruded, the filament lines will also be thicker. By default, the Flow rate is set at 100%. However, if your first layer has poor adhesion, try setting the flow rate to 110-120% and see if adhesion improves.
If you use Cura, this setting is in the Material section
If your printer supports a heated bed, this is also a must-have setting to improve adhesion. At higher temperatures, the plastic will soften, leading to increased adhesion to the printer bed surface.
Below are the recommended printer bed temperatures for each type of filament.
In case your 3d print does not adhere well to the build surface, increase the temperature of the printer bed to about 5-10 degrees Celsius higher to improve adhesion.
Be careful not to set the printer bed temperature too high than recommended. This can lead to material melting and sticking too tightly to the printer bed surface, making it difficult to remove the 3d print from the printer bed.
If the temperature is too high, the material will melt and lead to the failure of the entire print.
In Cura, you can change printer bed temperature at Material section
Reason 5: Using low-quality or wet filament
Low-quality filament is one of the often overlooked causes of surface adhesion problems.
Low-quality filament can be either a filament produced with poor quality, a lot of impurities, or a filament that has not been stored properly leading to wet filament.
There are several reasons why low-quality filament causes reduced surface adhesion with 3d print
Low quality filament
Low quality filament is a filament manufactured with an unsatisfactory quality leading to impurities affecting the fused filament. Filament that is melted when melted from the hot-end will not be uniform, leading to a decrease in surface adhesion.
If it is found that the filament in use is of low quality (or counterfeit) immediately stop using it to avoid damaging your printer and 3d prints.
The best solution is to find filaments from reputable manufacturers like Hatchbox, Polymaker, Sunlu, MatterHackers or Makerbot.
Moistured (wet) filament has water trapped inside, so when melted in the hot end, the steam will evaporate and create bubbles mixed in the filament. These bubbles reduce the seamlessness of the extruded filament resulting in a reduced adhesion of the melted plastic to the printer bed surface.
If the filament is found to be damp, stop printing and spend a whole day to dry the filament. Refer to this article to learn the most effective way to dry filaments.
In addition, always store the filament properly to prevent the filament from getting wet for later use. If the filament has become too wet and cannot be used after drying, consider purchasing a replacement filament.
Reason 6: Build surface is not optimized for filament
Different types of filament tend to stick better to different type of build surface. Thus, if you have determined the type of filament you want to use, then you can choose an appropriate build surface to increase adhesion.
Below is a list of printer beds and suitable filament types for your reference
|Type of 3d printer bed||Compatible materials|
|GLASS||PLA, ABS, PETG|
|Spring Steel Smooth PEI||PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, nylon|
|Spring Steel Textured PEI||PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, nylon|
|Polypropylene||PLA, ABS, PETG, PC, TPU, nylon, polypropylene|
|Blue painter’s tape||PLA|
If you are using a compatible printer bed but the adhesion is still not improved, consider using external methods to increase adhesion such as hair spray, glue sticks, and other sticky substances.
Many users have also had great success using a glue or hair spray on the top of their build platforms.
I hope the above information has helped you understand the causes as well as methods to deal with 3d print not sticking to printer bed.
Try mixing methods together if one doesn’t work at all. Sometimes, a seemingly simple method like using glue or hairspray improves adhesion dramatically.
If you have ever encountered this problem and know how to effectively fix it, do not hesitate to share it with the community through the comment section below.