Buy 3 or More Spools and Save - Click Here to Shop Now! FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $49!



How to clean a 3D printer bed

Posted by Thomas Brooks on

There are a variety of 3D printing bed (build plate) materials, and each material has its own unique properties that affect how the print bed should be cleaned. Some of the most common 3D printer bed materials include glass, PEI, BuildTak, and Garolite. To maintain excellent adhesion between the print bed and the 3D print and to extend the life of the bed material, it's necessary to regularly clean the print bed. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to clean 3D printer beds based upon the material they are made of:

Glass Bed: Glass beds are known for their flat and smooth surfaces. At the start of the rep rap revolution in the late 2000s, mirrors were retrofitted to become glass beds, so glass beds were immediately readily available. To clean a glass 3D printer bed, follow these steps:

Step 1: Let the bed cool down to room temperature before cleaning. Attempting to clean a hot bed can cause the cleaning solution to evaporate too quickly and produce a high concentration of potentially toxic or flammable gas.

Step 2: Use a scrapper to remove as much hardened plastic as possible from the bed.

Step 3: Mix together water and isopropyl alcohol (IPA) in a spray bottle. You can use 70% to 91% IPA for this solution.

Step 4: Spray the solution evenly onto the bed surface and make sure that the entire bed is covered.

Step 5: Wipe the bed surface with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to wipe in a single direction and avoid circular strokes to get the cleanest bed.

Step 6: Repeat the cleaning process if necessary, but avoid using too much force or pressure when wiping the bed, because this can crack the glass or loosen the structure underneath the bed.

 

PEI (Polyetherimide) Bed: PEI is a thermoplastic material that is known for its excellent adhesion properties. It’s closely related to the ULTEM thermoplastic often used in high temperature, industrial 3D printers. Here's how to clean a PEI 3D printer bed:

Step 1: Let the bed cool down to room temperature before cleaning. Attempting to clean a hot bed can cause the cleaning solution to evaporate too quickly and produce a high concentration of potentially toxic or flammable gas.

Step 2: Use a scrapper to remove as much hardened plastic as possible from the bed. Be careful that you do not scrap so hard that it scratches the bed.

Step 3: Mix a solution of warm water and a small amount of dish soap in a spray bottle.

Step 4: Spray the solution evenly on the entire build plate.

Step 5: Gently wipe the bed surface with a soft cloth, making sure to avoid applying too much pressure or using abrasive materials that could damage the surface.

Step 6: Wipe a wet towel across the bed to remove any soap residue.

Step 7: Allow the bed to dry completely before using it again.

BuildTak Bed: BuildTak is a thin, durable material that offers excellent adhesion for 3D printing. Here's how to clean a BuildTak 3D printer bed:

Step 1: Let the bed cool down to room temperature before cleaning. Attempting to clean a hot bed can cause the cleaning solution to evaporate too quickly and produce a high concentration of potentially toxic or flammable gas.

Step 2: Use a scraper or spatula to remove any residual material from the bed surface. Be careful to not use the corner of the scraper as that can easily scratch into the BuildTak bed.

Step 3: Dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water and gently wipe the bed surface. Avoid using acetone or other harsh chemicals, as they can damage the BuildTak surface.

Step 4: Allow the bed to air dry completely before using it again.

Garolite Bed: Garolite (also known as G-10 or FR4) is a fiberglass composite that is durable and exhibits excellent bed adhesion (very good), and has a low coefficient of thermal expansion (good), but also a very low thermal conductivity (bad). Here’s how you can clean a garolite 3D printer bed.

Step 1: Let the bed cool down completely before cleaning. Attempting to clean a hot bed can cause the cleaning solution to evaporate too quickly and potentially cause injury.

Step 2: Use a scraper or spatula to remove any residual material from the bed surface, and then wipe the debris away with your hand or a dry cloth.

Step 3: Dampen a microfiber cloth with IPA and gently wipe the bed surface. Avoid using acetone or other harsh chemicals. Continue wiping until the bed is clean.

In conclusion, there are many types of 3D print bed materials, and they all need to be clean differently. Also, they all need to be periodically cleaned so that the beds maintain good adhesion to the 3D prints, and your printer provides a reliable, repeatable 3D printing process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments! Oh, and make sure to buy some of our high quality PLA filament made in the USA using American supply chains to ensure availability even in the most extreme of circumstances!

0 comments

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published