Today I’m going to talk about bed adhesion and the most common issues, the reason why I’ve chosen ABS and PETG as my materials is that they are very diverse and they manifest different problems in terms of adhesion,them as an example will allow me to cover most of the issues.
After picking our materials it is very essential to take into consideration also the build plate. Most of the people uses the standard sticker sheet that can work great but aren’t very long-lasting, and they scratch very quickly losing adherence. I usually use it for the first 2 weeks and substitute it with a glass sheet to avoid ulterior damage and also to increase my print quality(it is known that printing on glass produces a nice glossy finish.)
Another popular material used
is PEI which stands for Polyetherimide, a material that has great properties. It can withstand heat, chemicals, and especially it is scratch-resistant, which involves more durability and zero burn marks. It can be used with any material and improves bed adhesion a lot. In some cases even too much! It comes in thin sheets that can be applied to the bed.
So after this short introduction lets start to analyze each material.
PETG bed adhesion important parameters
Usually, Petg doesn’t give too many issues, it is rather easy to print with, but there are some factors that people don’t consider and are very significant to achieve good adhesion and a perfect first layer.
The one thing I’ve noticed is that bed leveling is very important when printing with PETG! Avoid squishing too much the plastic on the bed. If you print too close to the build plate the plastic will get pulled all around, it has to be a little higher than normal.
The second significant factor when printing with PETG is that it needs slower speeds than PLA, particularly for the first layer. So a slow printing velocity combined with a precise bed leveling leads to a successful print.
I think these 2 factors count to 70% of importance.
Temperature is another important factor, Printing PETG needs a rather high bed temperature around 60-70 degrees, and also it is encouraged not to use any type of cooling as it can cause delamination and warping reducing bed adhesion.
Most common issues
Some people have difficulties making PETG stick on the heated bed, but the largest issue in my opinion and the most prevalent is warping.
Warping happens mainly because of temperature, every sort of plastic when extruded goes through a process of expansion and shrinkage. PETG shrinks a lot when it cools very fast so it will be susceptible to warping in some conditions.
One way to avoid that is to use an enclosed chamber or to pay attention to your room temperature.
Also, avoid using any external cooling.
Prints stick too well
There are some cases when PETG stick too well, and this can be an issue because it can literally rip your build plate sticker or worse rip pieces of glass. I will go much more in detail in every section below.
PETG bed adhesion problems on glass
Printing PETG on glass has some upsides and downsides. Usually, PETG sticks strongly to glass and it is the best printing material advised.
The most common problem printing on glass is that sometimes it sticks so well that it rips pieces of the glass. This happens especially with borosilicate glass.
The best way of dealing with this is just cleaning the glass with dish soap so it’s nice and clean and reduces adhesion a little bit. On the opposite side, if you have problems with holding your print on the bed you should try cleaning the bed with some alcohol, or even acetone. Good advice would be to increase the temperature of the hotend to the maximum value of the filament and get a very thin glass so it heats evenly and faster.
PETG bed adhesion problems on PEI SHEET
Using PEI Sheet with PETG is almost an overkill, using a PEI sheet can be problematic as it will be difficult to remove the printed parts.
The most reliable way of avoiding too much adhesion is by using Windex. It cleans the bed and decreases the adhesion allowing us to remove the parts easily, on the contrary, if you have too little adhesion there is another reason why it’s happening, control your speed or temperature.PEI sheet is low maintenance, so the basic cleaning routine is using dishwasher soap and water.
ABS bed adhesion important parameters
Temperature is the most important factor here. As I said avoiding temperature fluctuations is crucial. ABS is printed using a build plate temperature of around 100 – 100 degrees. If your printer doesn’t go that far, then you can try using ABS+ which has a build plate temperature of 90C, This is my choice as I’ve seen that this kind of material is less susceptible to warping and easier to use with entry-level printers like Tevo Tarantula Pro or the Ender 3 from Creality
After heating the bed, wait for another 10 minutes before you actually start the print, it takes time to heat the whole bed evenly, this is a big mistake that people make, you need to have your bed evenly heated before you start.
Remember that ABS is printed without cooling and you should have it turned off.
Using a low speed to print ABS is the right compromise if you don’t have an enclosed chamber, high speeds mean that the plastic cools much faster and will increase warping. So use a very low speed when printing ABS and you will see that it will improve adhesion and also you will reduce the risk of delamination.
Build plate material
This is another important aspect, printing ABS without any help to improve adhesion is tricky. I will go through the most commonly used solutions to improve ABS adhesion and explain all the most important elements.
Most common issue
The biggest problem printing with ABS is warping, ABS loves high temperatures and hates heat fluctuations. So maintaining a high environment temperature is crucial, that means it is almost obligatory using an enclosed chamber, if not, it is very challenging to obtain a good print, but in some cases, it is possible(printing small parts, not bigger than half of the build plate and using the correct parameters to make it stick perfectly to the bed), due to warping, prints can unstick after a short time, getting correct that first layer makes everything much easier afterward.
So let’s analyze each parameter to learn what we need to get right.
ABS bed adhesion problems on a regular sheet
If you’re trying to print without a special surface then you will have a hard time doing so, but it’s not impossible. I myself printed on my Tarantula Pro using these tricks:
Blue tape and glue
Blue tape works particularly well if your bed doesn’t reach high temperatures, it can be used at around 60 degrees and combined with some glue stick works wonderful, but in some cases, the tape can lift off the bed and the printed part will most probably warp.
This is the best solution in my opinion. Heat your bed at the required temperature and apply 4 layers of hair spray, it will work as an adhesive and works wonderfully. I find that this is the only reliable solution.
ABS bed adhesion problems on glass
ABS won’t adhere too well on glass, it is not very common using it. But if you prefer using glass as your build plate material then you will be happy to know that there is a way of doing it.
The trick is preparing a mixture of 2 parts acetone and 1 part ABS and apply it on the surface every time you need it. This will form a thin layer of abs on the glass that will greatly improve adhesion. After printing just clean with acetone and restart the process.
ABS bed adhesion problems on PEI SHEET
ABS doesn’t really cause any problems with PEI Sheets, some people struggle using PEI but this can be resolved easily by sanding very lightly the PEI sheet, this will recover some adhesion. Use rubbing alcohol after every print and you will be good to go! If you still have problems with adhesion then check other parameters, the reason could easily be another.
I hope this guide will help you avoid headaches with bed adhesion, this article goes in-depth with only 2 materials but the concepts described can be applied with other materials and situations. Also, I hope that you now know more about build plate materials and know when to use them correctly.
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