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The Root of the Problem

PLA Not Sticking to Print Bed / Build Plate – Easy Fixes

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The beginning is a wonderful place to start. In 3D printing, however, it is often the most frustrating. Sometimes, PLA prints simply won't stick. Other times, they'll pop right off the platform, mid-print! Here are some easy fixes to eliminate the problem.

Fix #1: Printed Build Plate Adhesion

A Benchy with a brim.
A Benchy with a brim. Source: All3DP

Especially if you’re printing a model with a small base, build plate adhesion can be difficult. Thankfully, most slicer software has fixed this problem with “printable” build plate adhesion.

In your slicer, simply select to print a brim or a raft. A brim is like the brim of a hat. It circles the part as many times as you would like to create more surface area to stick to the bed. A raft is simply a thin platform underneath the object, which creates a great base on which to print.

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Fix #2: Glue or Hairspray

Glue stick being applied to the print bed.
Glue stick being applied to the print bed. Source: Ultimaker

If you’re having trouble with adhesion, you can always use the most obvious solution: adhesive. Glue and hairspray work wonders! You don’t need much — a thin layer will help ensure a successful print. Some glues and hairsprays are sold specifically for 3D printing, but your standard office glue or your wife’s hairspray will work just fine.

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Fix #3: Leveling and Z Offset

Leveling the print bed is crucial.
Leveling the print bed is crucial. Source: Ultimaker

If the above methods aren’t working, you might want to inspect your print bed itself. An unlevel build plate results in an unbalanced print, eventually resulting in the part warping or even popping off the bed.

When the bed is perfectly level, an even amount of material is deposited throughout the first layer. It may take a while to level the axes on your printer, but the result is well worth it.

The distance between your print head and build plate is also extremely important! If you’re having trouble with adhesion after trying all of these solutions, try to move the print head closer to the bed. This decreased distance will better squish the first layer onto the bed, creating a wider line width for better adhesion. Just note that, if the nozzle is too close to the bed, the filament will not extrude. Be careful when finding the perfect offset for your printer. 

License: The text of "PLA Not Sticking to Print Bed / Build Plate – Easy Fixes" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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