3D printers can print tiny parts and miniatures with astounding accuracy, but sometimes, these smaller prints are hard to stick to the print bed since they have so little surface area. However, there are some tips and tricks to tacking down tiny prints, and using them can usually assure you a successful print job.
Here’s how to get small 3D printed parts to stick to the bed:
- Level the print bed.
- Adjust the nozzle distance and speed.
- Raise the print bed temperature.
- Use bed adhesives.
- Add brims and rafts.
In this article, I’ll teach you some quick fixes to ensure that even the smallest 3D printed parts stick and stay stuck to your print bed. So, let’s walk through the steps and make a small, successful 3D print together!
1. Level The Print Bed
When you encounter issues with your printed parts not sticking to the bed, you should first check if the print bed is flat and even.
If the build platform is uneven, one side will be closer to the nozzle while the other will be farther. The filament printed on the area farther away from the nozzle will likely not stick to the bed.
An even surface is a requirement for successful 3D printing, and no matter the size of the print, a tipping bed will raise your chances of print failures. So, make sure that yours is even, and ensure the nozzle is level with each corner of your print bed.
2. Adjust the Nozzle Distance and Speed
If the 3D printer bed is level, but the problem persists, the nozzle distance or nozzle speed might need adjustment.
When the nozzle is too far from the printer bed, the filament extruded cools faster and often does so before it’s able to stick onto the surface. If your nozzle is too close to the bed, it might scratch through your first layers, damaging them and unsticking them from the print surface.
The optimal distance depends on the printer and the type of filament used. However, in general, having the nozzle close enough to the bed to squish the filament onto it slightly encourages better adhesion. You may need to try a few test prints to find the optimal height.
The speed at which the nozzle extrudes filament also determines how well the printed parts stick to the bed. Faster printing limits the time for the filament to adhere to the surface properly. So, you should generally use a slower speed since it will allow the filament sufficient time to effectively bond to the platform.
The distance and the speed adjustments aren’t one-size-fits-all, and you’ll have to determine the sweet spot for each of these on your 3D printer. So, run some tiny test prints to find the correct settings for you!
3. Raise the Print Bed Temperature
The temperature of the print bed is an essential factor affecting adhesion. For example, if you are printing with a filament that requires hot temperatures and do not heat your print bed, the material will cool faster and shrink or warp. As it does so, it separates from the bed.
Most 3D printers have a heated bed that prevents the filament from cooling too fast and shrinking. It allows ample time for the filament to properly bond onto the platform.
If your printed parts aren’t sticking to the bed, raise the temperature in increments of 9° F (5° C), beginning at 131°F (55°C) and going up only until 158°F (70°C).
If the printed parts still separate from the surface of a printer bed heated to 158°F (70°C), the temperature isn’t the issue.
4. Use Bed Adhesives
A nozzle extruding at the perfect distance and speed onto a level and heated 3D printer bed may not be enough to make the filament stick to the platform, in which case, a bed adhesive may do the trick for you.
Alternatively, you can use painter’s tape or glue sticks. Some have even tested and proven hairspray. Placing something sticky on the print bed in the area where your 3D parts will sit is always a fantastic idea since they can only increase your chances of success.
Note that every filament behaves differently at various temperatures, and the way different filaments bond to the adhesive will also differ. Again, you should determine what works best for your specific printer and filament.
5. Add Brims and Rafts
Some people prefer adhesion assistants and support over adhesives.
In particular, brims and rafts are a go-to option, especially when you attempt to stick tiny printed parts to the bed. That is because brims and rafts increase the surface area of these small parts and enable them to adhere to the bed’s surface.
A brim is an extra layer of filament likened to the brim of a hat that’s attached to the edges of the printed part to keep them down, preventing them from warping and allowing the print to adhere to the surface of the bed.
On the other hand, a raft is a layer of filament that serves as a base. Rafts keep your print very stable, but they can use up a bit of filament and might be challenging to remove later.
Both the brim and the raft are extensions that aid the print in adhering to the print bed, so if you experience toppling, tearing, warping, or any other small-print adhesion error, just add a bit of support.
Small 3D printed parts separating from the bed is a common issue encountered in 3D printing.
There are common mechanical factors behind this occurrence, such as an uneven printer bed, the nozzle being too far from the bed’s surface, and extruding filament too fast. The bed temp might also cause your smaller parts to snap off.
If none of these fixes help and the issue persists, the use of aids such as bed adhesives or brims and rafts may solve the problem.