Troubleshooting PLA Adhesion Problems

Adhesion problems (prints not sticking) are very frustrating, but one you figure out how to make your prints stick... it's awesome. This checklist can help you ensure that your prints will stick.

Adhesion Checklist

1. Dial in your printer for a perfect first-layer height.

Good: A clean bead of plastic with a bit of "squish"

Good: Infill beads overlapping and contacting each other.

Bad: Beads that are smashed into the build plate.

While this won't cause adhesion issues, it will cause the first several layers to be wider than they should, and the print will be difficult to remove from the build plate. It can also damage your printer. The nozzle is too close to the build plate.

Bad: Beads that are thin and don't stick to the build plate.

If the first layer aheres at all, the print will probably curl or pop off the build plate mid-print. The nozzle is too far away from the build plate.

2. Use blue 3M #2090 painters tape, or Print Bed Tape Squares available at printrbot.com. These tapes have been tested for good results. Other tapes (even just other brands) may not work as well, but feel free to experiment.

3. Use a higher temperature for your first layer, and then back off to cooler temperatures for the rest of the print. 195-205 C for layer 1, and about 185 C for all other layers.

4. Wipe the tape with Isopropyl Alcohol before you start the print. Instead of prints peeling up from the tape, the tape might end up peeling up from the bed!

5. Leave the fan off for the first 15-20 layers. You don't want the print to cool too rapidly. If there are small details, overhangs, or bridges within the first 15-20 layers, you may have to make a compromise.

6. Use the hairdryer trick. Get the bed pretty warm (uncomfortable to hold your fingers on) with a hairdryer while your hotend heats up to start the print. Every 2 or 3 layers, warm up the print with the hairdryer until your fan turns on after layer 15-20.

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6 Comments

  • 0
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    Tamer

    i tried this tips but no good, the hot end is the closest to the bed and the printing is not good if i do print a larger design than the test cube.
    the test cube is printing fine

  • 0
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    Paul C

    #7? This may sound funny but while dealing with the same problem on my new (assembled) Play so I put down some Scotch double sided tape on top of the painters tape and it works great. I do about 8 to 10 prints on the Play before replacing the double sided tape but I've not had any problems. I'll upgrade to a heated bed soon but found the tape to work in the meantime.

    Edited by Paul C
  • 0
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    Addi Cis

    I am using HVAC Foil Tape ( on bed ) with Blue tape ( on top of foil tape ) that has eliminated lifting. Clean each surface with denatured alcohol.Take air bubbles out as much as possible. I don't have heated bed.

    Edited by Addi Cis
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    Tim von Holten

    Can you share how to make the fan and temp adjustments?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Tim von Holten

    "Leave the fan off for the first 15-20 layers. You don't want the print to cool too rapidly. If there are small details, overhangs, or bridges within the first 15-20 layers, you may have to make a compromise."

     

    How do I do this?

  • 0
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    Dave - PB Support Team

    Hi Tim, if you have not recently flashed your firmware, you can adjust when the fan turns on by going to Cura>Advanced>Cool>Click the ellipses to open the "Expert Config" window.  To leave the fan off for the first 15-20 layers, you would set "Fan full on at height: ~3mm ...assuming you are printing at 0.2mm layer height.

     

    If you do have the most current firmware, you may find that you are unable to control your cooling fan.  This due to some pinout changes that we had to make to cool the Ubis 13S hot end.  You can "hack" around this by either blocking your fan (printable plate for the Play here) or enabling the "pause at height" plugin in Cura.  If you wanted cooling in layers after the first 15-20, you could try unplugging your fan for the beginning of the print and once the print pauses at the set height, you could take a moment to plug the fan back in before resuming the print.  ...If you try this, let me know how it goes.  I haven't actually tried it myself, but the theory is sound :).

    Edited by Dave - PB Support Team
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