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Getting your parts stuck to the build plate is the basis for all good prints. Tom and Tracy Hazzard share some tips for getting your parts stuck and discuss some tools used, such as the blue tape. They also dive deeper into breaking down the layers of the build plate, discuss the functions of each part, and the factors that may affect each of the layers. By understanding these details, we can dissect the reasons for the parts not sticking to each other properly.
Listen to the podcast here:
Sticking Parts To The Build Plate
This is Ask Us Anything segment.
Almost anything. This episode is about the technical side of physically printing.
It’s important especially for new users to understand.
This is foundational. The question is, how do you get your parts to stick to the build plate? It’s important. It’s the foundation of your print. If you don’t get it to stick, nothing works.
The first layer is key. It is critical. If you get that first layer to lay down and stick properly, you’re fighting a downhill battle from there. There can be other major things that could go wrong with the print, but most things go wrong in that first layer.
It’s a two-part question. The first part is how we make it stick, but also what you do to your first layer sometimes are different.
Let’s start with the materials on the build plate. Some printers come with a Teflon type of material. It has a little texture and non-stick to it and maybe you don’t need to put any other material down on that depending on what material you’re printing, but a lot of printers have a glass build plate.
Especially the ones that heat up.
You need to usually put some other material on top of that build plate in order to get your material to stick. Let’s talk about PLA first and we’re going to talk about PLA and ABS. Beyond that, there are many different materials you may need to experiment. For PLA, we find Blue Tape works the best and this is generic blue painters’ tape you can use that you find in your local hardware store.
Some manufacturers sell it to you on a sheet. We think that it’s pricey and it doesn’t always fill to build plate anyway. We use it on a roll. We buy a six-inch-wide roll and it’s 60 meters long. Usually, you can cover any build plate with two strips.
It’s the least expensive way to buy it in a big roll like that. The cost per print is insignificant if you do that.
We also reuse it.
In general, and that gets into maybe a future question, it’s about removing parts from the build plate. For getting them to stick, Blue Tape for PLA is the best. We don’t replace it every time we print. There are some new different kinds of tapes that have been developed, there’s a red one that Airwolf has come out with. There are also a lot of different materials that are liquid that you can brush onto a build plate.
I’m not a big fan of the liquids, the glue sticks and stuff like that. It’s messy. Do you get all the residue off when you’re trying to clean your plate? Is there a little leftover or did you get it even? There are a lot of problems with that. At least with the sheets and the films, it’s much more consistent and you’re not going to complicate your life by not being detailed in your consistency of laying it down.
I personally don’t like the glue sticks or the liquids too, but a lot of people do use them and have good luck with them. You have to wash your build plate when you’re done. There are lots of different materials out there, but we’re more fans of the films and the tapes out there. In addition to what material is down there, how do you get that first layer to stick? The most critical advice that we can give you is making sure that your build plate is calibrated properly for being level. The distance between your nozzle and the build plate is specific and consistent. I’m not going to give you a recommendation for how far away to set that because it varies significantly depending on what nozzle diameter you’re using and the material and what temperature you might have your build plate at. Temperature can play a big role as well.
The key things are the material that you’re putting on the build plate, the distance the nozzle is from the build plate and making sure that the build plate is level. Those are the most critical things. One other tip I would say is getting that first layer build properly, especially when you’re using an open source slicing software. It’s slowing down that first layer to usually about half the speed of what you’re going to print the rest of your layers. Slowing down a little bit in the beginning is going to save you a lot of trouble later. If you get that first layer to go and stick well, everything else is going to go a lot smoother from there.
We hope that helps. This is part of our technical week, our tools and accessory week, questions that might surround that. It’s critical to make sure that you dial these foundational things in and you stay comfortable with them. It’s going to make your life much easier. We hope we answered your question and try out some things. Thanks again.
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