The importance of a Clean bed


Bad Bed Bad PLA




I’ve a few successful prints under my belt now…..Pics another time……..

For the past few days though, this has been happening………Zero adhesion 😦

infact, it’s been a minor / major alternating problem most of my printing life (about 6 weeks now)…to the point where I’m using rafts on all prints, just to get something useable out of the printer

Today, During a lunch break at work, I thought I’d print something great for my son…my first print after totally dismantling the print head


The Cyclone: triple lift, triple track marble machine


I could NOT get the thing to print….a quick 3/4 of an hour setup and run turned into ten minutes here, 5 there, running up and down the stairs and eight aborted attempts at a raft…some even with me and a small spatula, splatting back down any lifted lines as the extruder was pulling them up!………….something had to give, it was my patience.


so, Cue a few hours of googling, youtubing and really getting no-where rapidly…For every problem, there’s 1000’s of variations of a solution.

With tens of variables and tens of solutions for each variable, there could be 1000’s of possible reasons and fixes for my non adhesion issue..

I almost ordered some 30cm Ikea mirrors due to many youtubers waxing lyrical about their wonderful adhesion qualities . Fortunatley, the wife was out of hairspray I do have a Sainsbury’s nearby though, their budget hairspray is the dog’s danglies for PLA adhesion…

I’m an engineer, so I tend to over analyse problems and over-think solutions.

People have recommended Alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, salt, salt scrub, sugar solution, vinegar, sodium bicarb, all sorts to clean the bed

people have suggested to scrub the glass, scour the glass, coat the glass, everything to make PLA Stick

How about…………A good bath of warm soapy water and a scrub with a well used bath puff?

Good Bed, Good PLA

‘Nuff said

So, Summary, if you’re getting adhesion problems, Give the bed a good scrub with some soap (I used Shower Gel) and an abrasive thingy (I used a well used bath puff)


Till next time!


[UPDATE] Marble machine printed almost perfectly, just over 30 hours!…some under extrusion nearer the top caused by a filament jam, caught it quickly though (a good shove down on the filament sorted it)…three more pieces to print now!


Author: Bleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...5 years now we’ve been Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

2 thoughts on “The importance of a Clean bed”

  1. Honestly, I believe that a big unspoken-of aspect of first layer adhesion is static charge. I worked in a plastic manufacturing plant with rotomolding machines. The molds would come out of the oven with a huge amount of built-up static electricity which would pull dirt from a distance of at least ten feet once you open the mold lid. Basically, any time you take a plastic and push/move/extrude it you’re breaking loose valence electrons from the surface.

    So now what happens when you have a print bed with a negatively-charged print bed surface in combination with negatively-charged filament coming out of the nozzle? It’s going to repel the filament. Grab a grounding wire, connect one end to ground somewhere and then manually apply it to your print bed surface during the first layer and touch it on/off and watch the result. Assuming that the print bed surface is somewhat conductive I’m guessing that you would be able to affect the outcome.

    In fact, what if you could charge the print bed with a positive charge (during the first layer)?

    There’s this whole trend to use glass-based print bed surfaces but this is (or should be) an insulator. Sure, they use borosilicate surfaces these days and I don’t know how conductive they are.

    Check out with regards to the tiny amount of soap film that you’re likely leaving behind on your print bed. What if it’s not about a clean surface for you saving the day? What if instead you’re just changing the conductivity of the surface, allowing the incoming negative charge to be dissipated?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: