So your prints are warping on your build plate? This problem page will go through all the possible reasons why your prints are warping off your bed and some diagnostic tips for fixing the issue.
In most cases, warping is caused by the material shrinking while 3D printing which will cause the corners of your print to lift and detach from the build plate. When plastics are printed, they expand as they are heated and contrast as they are cooled.
The best method for combating warping is ensuring that your prints adhere to your build plate properly. If your prints aren't adhering properly, then your prints can become loose and cause warping in the corners. There are a few different methods for making sure your prints are adhering to your build plate.
Dirty build surface
Good adhesion is typically achieved when the print surface is smooth and clean. Ideally, there should be no traces of oil, grease, or fingerprints on the print surface. Other bits of debris can cause your build surface to become uneven, so it is important to regularly clean your build surface.
*If you have a glass build surface, wipe it down with 90% rubbing alcohol. Or, if you use glue on your build surface, make sure you clean it afterward with soap, water, and an alcohol-based cleaner.
Uneven build surface
The first print layer of your print must be adequately pressed onto the build surface. If the distance between the nozzle and build plate is too great, then your material will be too loose, and your build won't adhere to your build surface properly. You also want to take care that your leveling is not too tight, as this can cause issues when your extruding materials.
*If you are experiencing issues with your first print layer, try re-level your print bed.
Bad first layer
The most important layer of your print is the very first layer. This layer will greatly influence how your 3D print will adhere to your printer's build surface. If your first layer is too thin, then you won't have enough material to adhere to your build surface. In addition, if the first layer is finished too fast, then the print material can stick to your printer nozzle and get dragged around the bed instead of sticking to the build plate.
*Check in the Slicer settings that you have a thick first layer, and make sure that you start at a low speed when on your first layer.
No adhesion assistance
In addition to your physical printer adjustments, you can adjust your slicer software to improve your adhesion. Some slicers include an adhesion assistant to prevent your prints from warping by automatically generating a small structure at the first layer.
- Skirt: A Skirt is a detached perimeter of material that outlines a print. While this provides no real adhesion assistance for a print, it helps prime your material by having it flow through the nozzle before the first layer of your print starts. It is also useful for making any adjustments to your bed's calibration. Most slicers will automatically generate a skit for every print by default.
- Brim: A Brim is similar to a Skirt, however, the perimeter is attached to the print. For example, if you were to print a calendar, then the brim would look like the brim of a top hat. Typically when adjusting your slicer settings for adhesion issues, this would be the first thing you should try using in your prints.
- Raft: A Raft is a completed base that your print builds on. Depending on the slicer you use there may be space between the adjacent lines to save material. This is often the best option since the print never has to touch the build surface.
*If your prints are warping, try seeing if your slicer has adhesion assistance. Most slicers should have the options listed above.
If you're using a glass print bed try applying an adhesive to your build surface. This is typically only used when your printer has a heated build surface and depends on the material you're printing with.
*While there are many different brands of adhesive for 3D printing, you can often use hairspray or a glue stick.
Problems with your heated build surface
The best way to combat warping is to use a heated build plate. This keeps your print material at a consistence temperature just below the point where it solidifies (also known as the glass transition temperature), which ensures it stays flat and adheres to the build plate. When using a heated build surface it is important to use the correct temperature, to ensure that you achieve the proper glass transition temperature.
*If your prints are warping off your build surface, try increasing the temperature of your build surface slightly. This can often vary among different materials. Otherwise, make sure that your print surface has a consistent temperature across the area of the build plate with an Infrared Thermometer.
Heating & Cooling
3D Prints can also warp when the object is cooling unevenly. Whenever an object cools the material will contract, which causes stress along the lateral surface causing warping. The severity of the warping can also depend on the material that you are printing with. Therefore, keeping the print at an overall constant temperature is important to prevent warping. But, you may ask, "what causes a temperature difference". Well, there are a few things that can cause this, and things that you can change.
Problems with your heated build surface
That's right, it's on here twice. As previously stated, a heated build surface keeps your print material at a consistent temperature. Not only does this help with adhesion, but it also helps to keep your print at a consistent temperature during the duration of the print.
*In addition to making sure that your build surface is maintaining a consistent temperature throughout, make sure that the build plate's temperature is consistent throughout the print.
Fan speed on at layer one
Along with elements for heating, your pinter head has fans for cooling. Typically, these fans are used during the later parts of your print to cool the material once it is deposited so it won't become deformed. These fans should not be used during the first initial layers of your print. This will keep the bottom layer of print at its intended temperature and avoids any excessive cooling.
*Make sure that your fan is off during the first layer of your print, and slowly increase the speed of your fan over a set amount of layers.
Change your printers environment
Keeping your printers environment as sustainable and consistent as possible is very important. If the environment is too cool then it could result in your prints having inconsistent temperatures when printing. Simple changes in ambient room temperature can result in your prints becoming affected.
*Keep your printer away from open windows, or environments that can fluctuate in temperatures. Some 3D printer enthusiasts will keep their printers in a full enclosure to keep as much heat from the printer as possible, which results in more consistent prints.