3D printers are life-changing tools that are becoming popular all around the world. Whether they are used by hobbyists or professional makers, they have become crucial for many people. A common problem with all 3D printers is the lack of print adhesion due to a dirty 3D printer bed. Cleaning a 3D printer bed can be tricky, leading many to wonder how to clean a 3D printer bed.
To clean a 3D printer bed of adhesives, oils, and dirt from handling the bed surface, use a solvent such as an isopropyl alcohol solution to remove the dirt and oils. To clean a printing bed from residual print materials, scrape the material off the bed, and dissolve the plastic with heat and acetone.
3D printers are amazing machines, but they do require regular maintenance to function well. The most important part of the printer to keep clean is the printing bed. A common cause of failed 3D prints is lack of bed adhesion, and this can be avoided by cleaning the bed of the printer. Let’s take a look at how to clean a 3D printer bed from regular dirt and oils, as well as how to clean a 3D printer bed that has residual filament stuck to it from previous prints.
Cleaning A 3D Printer Bed
Cleaning a 3D printer bed is very important.
When a 3D printer is used, it is very common for there to be a build-up of oils and dirt from handling the bed of the printer. The bed is often removed and handled to remove 3D prints from the bed and to maintain the rest of the machine.
This handling leaves behind oils from your hands, and dirt naturally accumulates on the printer bed if it is left uncovered.
Adhesives that are often used to ensure good adhesion for the filament tend to leave a layer of glue behind, and this attracts dirt and oils even more quickly.
It is essential to clean and maintain the bed of a 3D printer to ensure that all prints adhere well to the surface of the bed, lowering the risk of failed prints.
Removing left-over plastic from 3D prints is important as well. A build-up of left-over filament will make the surface of the 3D printer bed uneven, leading to misprints, and prevent the filament from adhering to the bed surface, resulting in failed prints.
The most simple way to ensure that your 3D prints go well and that your printer functions properly is to maintain the printer bed well and to keep it clean.
How To Clean A 3D Printer Bed Of Adhesives, Oils, And Grime
There are some items you will need and a few steps to follow in cleaning a 3D printer bed that has become dirty from normal use, from handling the bed, or from applying adhesive to the printer bed.
You will need:
- Isopropyl Alcohol Solution(at least 70%) or Acetone
- Paper Towels
- Baby Wipes
- A Nylon Scraper Tool
- Rubber Gloves (optional)
After you have collected these items, follow these steps to clean your 3D printer bed:
Step One: Remove The Printer Bed (If Possible)
This step is to ensure the protection of the printer, as any liquid that is spilled on the machine is likely to cause irreparable damage.
Remove the printing bed from the printer by following the manufacturer’s instructions, and take the bed away from the printer, and set it down on a flat surface.
Taking the printing bed off also allows easier access to clean the bed.
Removing the bed of the 3D printer is an important step if the bed is able to be removed. If the bed can not be removed, be extra careful when cleaning the bed.
Step Two: Use A Nylon Scraping Tool
Using the nylon scraper tool, lightly scrape the surface of the printing bed.
This step will remove the dry top layer of any adhesives that were applied to the bed, as well as scraping off the majority of bigger particles, filament residue, dirt, and oil from the printing bed.
The scraping tool should be made from nylon, as this material is highly unlikely to damage the bed of the printer, regardless of what material the bed is made from.
Step Three: Baby Wipes
Use baby wipes to firmly wipe the surface of the printer bed.
Go over the surface of the bed multiple times with the baby wipes, being sure to cover every area of the printer bed.
The baby wipes are tough enough that you can press hard onto the surface of the bed, and they will not tear or break easily; and the mild cleaning agents that are in the wipes do a good job of removing oils and dirt.
Step Four: Isopropyl Alcohol/Acetone
Apply some isopropyl alcohol solution or acetone to a paper towel.
Moving quickly, wipe the surface of the 3D printer bed with the solvent-soaked paper towel.
This will break down any residual 3D printing filament that is left of the printer bed but will not damage the bed itself.
The alcohol or acetone will evaporate quickly, but the broken-down residue from the filament will remain as a layer on the bed. Wipe this layer of residue off of the printer bed with a baby wipe.
Let the printer bed dry completely before continuing.
Step Five: Replace The 3D Printer Bed
Following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, reinstall the printing bed into the 3D printer.
For this step, the use of rubber gloves is recommended, as to not transfer any oils from your skin on the printer bed, undoing some of your hard work.
Once the printing bed is reaffixed firmly into the printer, be sure that the bed is level and you are ready to start printing!
How To Clean A Printer Bed Of Residual Print Materials
A prevalent problem for many 3D printers is residual 3D printer filament that is melted onto the printer bed and left behind from previous printing projects.
To clean the 3D printer bed of residual plastic filament, the steps are similar to standard printer bed cleaning; the difference is that you will have to somehow remove the residual filament before you can undergo the cleaning process.
To remove any left-over filament, the first step is to heat the printer bed if possible.
If your 3D printer lacks the ability to heat the printing bed, then a few passes with a hot hairdryer can be made over the unwanted filament, but be very careful when doing this.
If a 3D printer does not have a heated printer bed, it is not meant to withstand heat, and so using the hairdryer for too long will damage or warm the printer bed, depending on the material.
Once the printer bed is heated, use the scraper tool to try to scrape and lift the filament from the bed, loosening the filament as much as possible.
Once the scraper tool has been scraped over the filament and lifted up any part of it possible, use the isopropyl alcohol or acetone to dissolve and soften the filament.
The liquid solvent can be applied directly to the printer bed. There are other household cleaning products that do well here, such as window cleaner, but these solvents work best.
After applying the solvent liberally to the filament, you should notice a difference in the appearance of the filament as it begins to soften and dissolve.
Once the filament has been sufficiently weakened and broken down by the solvent, use the scraping tool to scrape the filament off of the printer bed.
After removing as much of the filament as possible with the scraping tool, follow the steps above to thoroughly clean the 3D printer bed.
Cleaning the 3D printer bed properly is an essential part of 3D printing.
Without a clean, flat surface to print on, no print will come out as it should, and without a good surface to adhere to, the 3D printer filament will not have a good start, and the print will surely fail.
Clean the printer bed of any dirt, grime, oils, and adhesive regularly. At least every week to ensure the best printing surface possible.
A build-up of 3D printer filament is expected when a printer is used often, and removing this residual filament is important as well. Keep your printer bed clean and flat, and you will give yourself the best chance of successful prints every time!