Learn how to get that perfect first layer in your 3D prints for when your print won’t stick, sticks too well or isn’t quite right. Learn how to adjust your first layer on the fly and you’ll be on your way to excellent completed prints.
Hi there. My name is Nils and welcome to the 3d printing zone. Today. I’m going to be sharing with you what I consider to be probably the most critical factor of a successful 3d print. We’re going to look at that first layer and how you can get it. Perfect. Also, we’re going to show you up close of what a successful first layer looks like versus one that’s too squished or maybe too high. And we’ll also show you how to adjust it on the fly. As we take a close look at this first layer here, this is what I would consider to be the perfect height of that first layer. What we’re aiming for here is a layer that sticks securely to the bed of the 3d printer, but it doesn’t squish into it. If that first layer is too high, meaning if the gap between the hot end and the bed is too great, then it’s not going to stick at all.
It’ll start to basically float there or it might just touch and just come off really easily. If it’s too low, it will ooze out of there like toothpaste being held against the countertop. It will just smush and it won’t give you a proper first layer now in some prints that doesn’t actually matter that much, but in many prints, that first layer is critical in order for you to actually have the proper tolerances for the print to be successful. In my experience, if I have to choose between squishing a little bit and keeping it too high, I’ll always lean on the side of squishing it just a bit, just so that I get proper adhesion on that first layer. This is what it looks like when a first layer is too squished. Meaning there’s not enough space between your hot end and your bed. It’s going to squish out of there.
And then the bead that it lays down is going to be much wider than your standard, 0.4 millimeter nozzle or whatever the size nozzle that you’re working with. If it’s too high, it looks like this. It’s either going to barely touch or like you can see here, it might not even stick at all. And you’ll notice this right away when you do any sort of a rounded area or bends in the print, this is exactly what it should look like. It’s sticking on there just enough, but it still has its own shape. If I touch it, then it stays in place because it’s actually just the right adhesion to the bed. So obviously the practice of bed leveling is really important here. Even if you have a self leveling bed, a lot of times you’ll need to adjust the Springs and the tension or knobs underneath to make sure that you get it just right.
And the way I recommend doing this, even on the fly is to always print a skirt or if necessary even a brim on your print. When it’s printing that skirt or brim, you can actually adjust the knobs on the fly. Just remember righty, tighty, lefty loosey, and righty tighty means it’s going to pull that bed down and give you a greater gap. Lefty-loosey means it’s going to lift it up and squish it more so as it’s printing that skirt or brim, you would adjust each of the four knobs in the corners or three. If that’s what you have to try to get that first level to be just perfect. If it didn’t work out, stop the print, try it again. Now this is intended to be just a pretty quick tip, but if you can master this one thing, it’s going to save you so much time and so much frustration with prints that just won’t stick or prints that look really bad on that bottom layer.
Now this tip also applies to virtually any type of bed and any type of hot end, as long as it’s a standard FDM printer. Now, a question I’m commonly asked is what do you do if it just won’t stick at all? So there’s a troubleshooting guide that I’m going to leave a link to in the description below that you should check out. I actually refer to it myself pretty regularly, even after years of 3d printing, because there’s a lot of good stuff in there, but usually that’s one of a few things that you want to start with. Number one, you want to check to make sure you’re using the appropriate temperature for the hot end for your filament, as well as for the bed. Number two, make sure that that bed is totally clean and free of your grease from your fingers or any other debris.
So use some alcohol wipes or some isopropyl alcohol to wipe it down and make sure that everything is clean and in good shape there. Number three is just to make sure that you’ve got the right distance between your hot end and your bed. Just like we’ve been talking about today. If those still aren’t doing the job for you, be sure to check out that link in the description and get some help there. I hope you found that tip useful. If you want to subscribe to my channel, I’m putting out regular content for 3d printers and anyone interested in 3d printing in general, you also might want to check out my video of 13 things I wish I knew before I started 3d printing, which has all kinds of tips and techniques to help you get going. Thanks for watching I’m Nils with the 3d printing zone and we’ll see you on the next one.
🔗 IMPORTANT LINKS 🔗
- 3D Printing Troubleshooting Guide: https://www.simplify3d.com/support/print-quality-troubleshooting/
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