One of the most common issue people experience when they first start 3D printing is that the plastic is not sticking to the printer base, so the object can not form.
While this may seem like a very serious problem, in most cases it just means you need to set up a few things correctly.
In the 3D printing world, we use phrases like ‘First Layer Adhesion’ for this.
Lets talk about the basic steps needed to ensure you get good First Layer Adhesion, in order of importance:
- Confirm the mechanics are not loose. The bed must NOT wobble. The rails on which your head is moving must also not shake. Tighten & fix as needed.
- Ensure your printer bed is levelled. Please read the Bed Levelling article to learn how to easily level your 3D printer bed. Levelling is the single most important thing to do on any 3D Printer.
- Make sure that the build surface (such as tape, glass, PEI or anything being used) is placed on the printer platform before the levelling is done.
- If you are new to 3D printing, it is best to start with PLA filament first as it is extremely easy to work with & helps mitigate other potential issues.
- If you have been having issues with the parts sticking, preferably use paper tape as the print surface as it’s the easiest to work with.
- Print SLOWLY for a start. You can always speed up once we get a handle on things.
- Print the FIRST LAYER VERY SLOWLY – only around 10-15mm/s. This is regardless of the size of the part (no matter how big or small), or the material you are using, or the print speed for the rest of the part, the very first layer of the part must be printed extremely slowly. Also regardless of whether you are turning on things like ‘Brims’ or ‘Rafts’ in your printer software, your first layer speed should be 15mm/s max.
- Regardless of what Layer Height (sometimes referred to as resolution, though it is not the same thing) you are printing – e.g. 50 micron (0.05mm), 100 micron (0.1mm) or any other layer heights – be sure to set the first layer height to be at least 200 micron (0.2mm). If you can’t control this setting, then start the whole print at 0.2mm first – you can always print finer once you conquer the initial challenges.
- Ensure your Flow Rate or Extrusion Rate is set to 1.0 or 100% – no change should be made to this. Increase the First Layer Flow Rate slightly – this is different to the standard Flow Rate or Extrusion Rate of your 3D printer.
- If the above is still not enough, consider checking that you printer head (nozzle or other parts) are not slightly blocked. Once you confirm they are not blocked, increase the First Layer Flow (or Extrusion) Rate to 115% or 1.15. But DO NOT increase the Flow Rate of the entire print from the main setting – that can create very ugly looking 3D prints.
There can be other factors that may affect you but in 99% of cases, the above steps should give you perfect First Layer Adhesion for your 3D prints time after time.
If in doubt, level your bed – its like restarting your computer – it works more often than you realise.
Thanks folks and happy 3D printing!