Let's Talk Bed Adhesion.  

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charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

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.  

This topic was modified 1 month ago by charles.h13
Posted : 07/07/2020 11:27 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

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.  

Posted : 07/07/2020 11:56 pm
clemens.m
(@clemens-m)
Estimable Member

@charles-h13

When I have poor adhesion on a not textured sheet I don´t use acetone but I use a very fine sand paper (1000) and go over the sheet in small circles - whole surface. After that washing with warm / hot water and dish liquid, drying and finaly IPA. I still use the first side of the sheet and it is now more than 3 years in use.

Best regards, Clemens

Posted : 08/07/2020 12:19 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@clemens-m

I do the same on both textured and smooth.  

Posted : 08/07/2020 12:30 am
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Reputable Member

LOL, my biggest problem with bed adhesion has been forgetting to switch the sheet profile from smooth to textured.

Posted : 08/07/2020 6:24 am
clemens.m
(@clemens-m)
Estimable Member

@jsw

Be happy - the other way around would have meant a destroyed PEI sheet - or at least a scrached PEI sheet.

Best regards, Clemens

Posted : 08/07/2020 9:02 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@jsw

I had a similar problem when I would forget to switch the filament in the slicer.  ABS does not stick well on PLA settings.  

Posted : 08/07/2020 10:11 am
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Reputable Member
Posted by: @charles-h13

@jsw

I had a similar problem when I would forget to switch the filament in the slicer.  ABS does not stick well on PLA settings.  

One thing that kind of happens instinctively after so many mistakes is that I notice the target nozzle/bed temperature is not what I expected, and I know something is wrong.  In my case it's usually slicing a PLA print with PETg setting or v/v.

Posted : 08/07/2020 6:39 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

If you are looking for a good alternative to the Prusa Textrued Bed, try TheKKIINNGG for MK3S or TheKKIINNGG for the Mini.  These links are in the US but this bed is a good alternative.  With some filaments, it out performs Prusa’s.  

Posted : 08/07/2020 7:48 pm
Karl Herbert
(@karl-herbert)
Famed Member

@clemens-m

Me too. Since 21/2 years i have been working with the foil coated PEI Prusa printing plate, but only coated on one side. I occasionally brush it up with a 600'er sandpaper and clean it afterwards with fat dissolving dishsoap and warm water. Occasionally I use ipa. At higher bed temperatures (105 degrees and more) i use a thin DuPont Kapton (polymide) foil to protect the PEI coating (ABS, ASA, PC, PA6...). Acetone destroys the PEI film (cracks) when used over a longer period of time.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Karl Herbert
Statt zu klagen, dass wir nicht alles haben, was wir wollen, sollten wir lieber dankbar sein, dass wir nicht alles bekommen, was wir verdienen....
Posted : 08/07/2020 8:29 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

2 years of print on the same bed on a single printer with ABS.  It was extremely over adhesive at this time.  Zero damage.   It failed to stick twice.  I used acetone both times and it regained adhesion and there are zero cracks.  I use Windex or glue stick to reduce adhesion and this works very well.  I washed it in a dish washer and it appears to have reduced but acceptable adhesion.  

I will keep you updated.  

Posted : 08/07/2020 8:35 pm
Karl Herbert
(@karl-herbert)
Famed Member

@charles-h13

In the beginning I often used acetone for post cleaning (acetone is very suitable for removing ASA and ABS rests). But in the course of time cracks had formed on the PEI foil. For this reason I removed the foil after about 2 years of use (small holes and cracks) and have been printing with the one-side coated printing plate since then (without using acetone). Currently I am testing other materials, such as GFK, Pertinax and a thicker PEI foil (0.3mm instead of Prusa 0.175mm), also Buildtakfoil (where acetone is absolutely harmful) , Nylonfoil, Kaptonfoil and some chinese plates and of course the Prusa textured plate.

https://www.muellerbestellung.de/3D-Druck-Dauerdruckplatten-und-Folien

Statt zu klagen, dass wir nicht alles haben, was wir wollen, sollten wir lieber dankbar sein, dass wir nicht alles bekommen, was wir verdienen....
Posted : 08/07/2020 9:17 pm
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Reputable Member

Here's another anecdote and data point from just a few minutes ago.

I've had it, you've had it, we've all had it where whatever you do, the first layer just does not want to stick!  You try this and that and eventually you get it, but ...

A few minutes ago I had a case of this.  I had just switched from a silver Hatchbox ABS to an Amazon Basics translucent red PLA, on the textured sheet.  Did not want to stick.

Upon inspecting the remnants of the skirt and failed first layer that I was scraping into the scrap box, I noticed that the filament still had somewhat of a metallic sheen, and I had just used a metallic filament.  This is after the priming line and skirt attempt.  Yes, I semi-blidedly answered 'yes' to 'is the filament the correct color' as I changed filaments, but I admit I did not check it closely.

I went back, extruded filament until it was clear of the sheen, and presto! it's printing fine now.

One thing I admit I seldom check is to be sure that all of the old filament is indeed clear of the extruder and hot end when changing, particularly from one species of filament to another.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by jsw
Posted : 14/07/2020 5:07 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: @jsw

[...] A few minutes ago I had a case of this.  I had just switched from a silver Hatchbox ABS to an Amazon Basics translucent red PLA, on the textured sheet.  Did not want to stick.

I've had the same when switching from higher-temp filament (e.g. PETG) to lower-temp filament (e.g. PLA). After a few nasty jams, I learned to clear the hotend of any leftovers before switching. I find using cleaning filament works very well for this. I'm fond of eSun now that rigid.ink has ceased production. The idea is that you heat the nozzle up above the higher-temp filament range (e.g. 265C), extrude cleaning filament until it runs clear, then remove the cleaning filament or (better) do a cold pull. Set the nozzle to the lower-temp filament and load it. The cleaning filament melts over a wide range, so unlike ABS or PETG, any leftovers in the nozzle will melt out at PLA temps (e.g. 200C) and not cause partial blockages or jams.

I hadn't thought about the impact of leftovers on adhesion quality, but that makes sense, especially if heating the bed to different temps. I do try to dedicate different print surfaces (sides of the sheet) to different types of materials.

The old rigid.ink cleaning filament was great because it would absorb moisture (bad for print quality, good for cleaning) and create a foaming action as it extruded. It was basically "scrubbing bubbles" for the hotend, great for trapping old filament and gunk. eSun works well, but doesn't bubble up as much.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by bobstro
My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 14/07/2020 6:15 pm
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Reputable Member

I haven't had to use cleaning filament, but this was one case that surprised me.

Usually one iteration of 'is this the correct color' shows that all of the obvious contamination of the old filament is gone.

For some reason this particular one left more in the system that the others appear to do.  Hatchbox seems to use more pigment that most brands (and I consider it to be mostly a good thing) and I've never seen (or remember) anything like it using the Mika3d metallic filaments.  I've done several filament changes (none from the Hatchbox silver) since this happened and all of them appear to be clean and complete after one cycle of purging.

Posted : 16/07/2020 1:43 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@bobstro

Good stuff.  I wish it were still available.  

Posted : 16/07/2020 2:58 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

Scrubbing and sanding the bed:

  • Adhesion is very important.
  • Scrubbing and sanding can restore adhesion.
  • Avoid overdoing or harsh products.
  • Your process should be a stepwise escalation. Always try just cleaning.
  • Avoid harsh choices as the last resort.
  • Always scrub or sand in small circles.

Products I use:

The sandpaper can destroy the bed so it should be a last resort only.

Posted : 17/07/2020 5:52 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

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 adhesives 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 U" target="true">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.  

 

 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by charles.h13
Posted : 23/07/2020 10:55 am
robin.a
(@robin-a)
Estimable Member
  • 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.

 

 

 

A  bit more info for you here. I started with hairspray as a last resort with a clone coated steel sheet from the Land of China. There was no way to get any filament to stick to the coating, only hairspray works and only one type i thought. 

What i found out is there is an ingredient needed in the hairspray. Look for Vinyl Neodecanoate Copolymer in the hairspray. Lots will have it in but some don't. In the UK Insette extra hold has it in and its cheap.

Posted : 23/07/2020 11:29 am
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@robin-a

Thanks

Posted : 23/07/2020 11:30 am
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