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troubleshooting , 3d-printing-problems

Print doesn’t stick to the bed

Print doesn’t stick to the bed, when the first layer does not adhere properly to the bed.

The first layer is essential because it is the base of the object. Any imperfections increase the chance of printing errors later. There are several possible causes for this problem (and fortunately also solutions).

Unleveled bed

If the bed is uneven, the nozzle might be too far away on the side of the print, while the nozzle might be too close on the other side. This means the first layer does not adhere properly enough.

Tractus3D printers are equipped with automatic Delta Calibration to solve this problem. Please make sure the 3D printer has reached the bed temperature and the bed is clean!

Use Bed Level icon on the lcd screen, or in the web interface click on the Auto Delta Calibration button. Please keep in mind that you should install the probe unit on the large format series.

The printhead will go down and perform some calibration points on the bed. This will take around 1 minute to complete. When the calibration is done the printhead will go up and calibration is done. Please use the M500 command in the console to store the calibration. You can use the M502 command to reset previous calibrations.

To make the calibration more accurate you can redo this procedure multiple times. The machine will try to get better each try. If you want to view the results you can click on the console button and look for the results.

Printing too fast

If the first layer is printed too fast, the filament may not adhere to the bed. Therefore, it is advisable to print the first layer at a lower speed to allow the filament to stick to the bed properly.
Simplify3D provides a setting for this feature. If you click on “Edit Process Settings” and go to the Layer tab, you will notice a setting labeled “First Layer Speed”. For example, if you set a first layer speed of 50%, it means that your first layer will print 50% slower than the rest of your part. If you feel that your printer is moving too fast on the first layer, try reducing this setting.

Temperature not right

Filament (plastic) shrinks when it cools down from a warm to a cool temperature. And after leaving the hot nozzle, the filament will quickly cool down. Especially when it hits a cold build platform. Tractus3D printers are all equipped with a heated bed to ensure that the first layer of the print doesn’t cool too much and decrease the amount of shrinkage.

In general, PLA tends to adhere well to a bed that is heated to 50-65C, while ABS generally works better if the bed is heated to 80-110C. You can adjust these settings in Simplify3D by clicking on “Edit Process Settings” and then selecting the Temperature tab. Choose the heated build platform from the list on the left-hand side and then edit the temperature setpoint for the first layer. You can just double-click on the value to change it.

You may try disabling the cooling fan for the first few layers of your print to prevent the initial layers to cool down too quickly. You can do this by clicking “Edit Process Settings” and going to the Cooling tab. Fan speed setpoints can be on the left-hand side. For example, the first layer start with the fan disabled and then the fan turns to full power once the 5th layer is reached. In this case, you will need to add two setpoints into that list: Layer 1 at 0% fan speed, and Layer 5 at 100% fan speed.

When you use ABS filament, it is recommended to disable the cooling fan for the entire print, so entering a single setpoint would suffice (Layer 1 at 0% fan speed). If you are working in a breezy environment, shield the printer form the wind.

The print surface

To increase the chances that filament will stick to the build plate you need to add another material to add texture. We recommend using an adhesion product like spray (3DLac) or hairspray (make sure it’s sticky). In some cases, using glue sticks (Elmer’s Washable School Glue) will work great too. Make sure you do not use too much of the adhesion product as this will make the adhesion to the bed worse.

Keep your build plate clean, especially if you frequently apply an adhesion product. The grease from your fingerprints and the excessive build-up of these products can all contribute to the non-stickiness of the build plate. Clean the plate with some hand warm water and a towel. In case of some remaining grease, use some Isopropanol.

Tractus3D DESK series printers come with a PEI sheet. This is a “relatively maintenance free” build surface that can be used for all types of filament on a heated or unheated print bed. Additional adhesive is not required, and it does not need preparation before use, which makes it very convenient to work with.

Build plate adhesion

Some objects will print perfectly without a brim, but small objects or objects with a large flat surface area might require some type of build plate adhesion. Simplify3D offers different options that can help increase this surface area. One of these options is called a “brim.” The brim adds a single layer thick flat area around your object to create a bigger adhesion surface.

To use this option, go to the “Additions” tab end enable the “Use Skirt/Brim” option. To make a proper skirt, the “skirt offset” should be set to zero, the outline count can be pretty high.

Use a heated chamber

Our Pro Series have the option to heat up the build chamber. This will heat up the air around the model, thus reducing the amount of shrinking that will occur. Temperatures of 95 °C for the chamber should be easy to reach. Please try if these temperatures are actually needed for your specific part