Keep Your 3D Printer Bed Clean

“While there are many ways to ensure that your parts stay stuck, one of the easiest methods is keeping the print bed clean. Not only will regular bed cleaning improve part adhesion, but it may make your prints look better as well!”

Depending on the type of bed your printer has, there are different tips and tricks for cleaning your bed plate.

“In this article, we’ll take a look at the best techniques to clean some of the most common bed adhesives: PEI, glass, and tape. Remember to exercise caution when applying these techniques, as spilled liquid can severely damage a printer. We also recommend removing your bed from the printer (if possible) before beginning to clean.” Let’s break it down by bed type.

PEI Sheet

“PEI (polyetherimide) sheets are becoming a popular option for improving bed adhesion. They provide an excellent grip on a variety of materials, and they easily release most prints when cool. The sheets are also easy to use and to apply, and they don’t normally require extra adhesives such as glue or tape.”

It is important to clean your PEI sheet frequently. Things like oil build up from frequently touching the sheet, to rough scraping can severely decrease print adhesion. Don’t worry, these things are not difficult to fix with a simple and regular cleaning practice.

“We recommend using an unscented IPA in a concentration over 70% to clean your sheet. Wait until the bed is cool, then liberally apply the IPA to a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe the surface. This will clean the vast majority of oils on the sheet.

Acetone also works well for dissolving any leftover plastic on the bed. Simply pour the acetone into a cloth until damp, then carefully wipe the cloth across the bed’s surface. We strongly recommend performing this in a well-ventilated area, as acetone is highly flammable and the vapors may creep into the printer’s electronics.

If you’ve had your PEI sheet for a while, we also recommend applying a fine-grit (1,500+) sandpaper. Gently rub the sandpaper across the sheet in smooth, even circles to remove light scratches and gouges.”

Glass

“Much more durable than PEI and other applied adhesives, glass beds are known for providing a smooth, even surface across the bottom of a print.

These beds are typically used in conjunction with other adhesives such as glue sticks and hairspray to increase adhesion. Especially on non-heated beds, glass alone is rarely enough to ensure that a print sticks. As such, regular cleaning is necessary to prevent buildup from these adhesives.”

Scrapers are the best for cleaning your glass bed plate. Do be careful though, as the blade can be very sharp and damage the printer. “We recommend putting one hand on the handle of the scraper and the other in the middle to apply more downward force. This will also reduce the chances that you lose control of the blade.”

Adhesive Tape

“Adhesive tape is another tried-and-true method for increasing bed adhesion. Today, it’s most commonly seen on printers with non-heated beds (such as the M3D Micro). Masking tape and painter’s tape are the most common varieties of tape, although kapton and other tapes are prevalent as well.”

Unfortunately, adhesive tape is one of the hardest surfaces to clean. Be sure to be gently as to not scrape away the tape. A great method for that is using a spatula as it is not too sharp but can get the job done.

To keep reading and learn more about cleaning your bed plate, grab the full article here.

Categories: Design & Process