Getting Parts to Stick - Proper Bed Preparation
Modified on: Wed, 12 Jan, 2022 at 9:59 AM
Good bed adhesion is one of the most important factors to getting a great-looking part. It is especially important when printing higher-temperature materials. Without proper bed adhesion, parts can warp, come off the bed, and even cause complete print failures. Good bed adhesion requires a flat, rigid build plate and something to create a bond between the printed filament and the build surface. Throughout the years, a complete, turnkey solution has been hard to achieve by most manufacturers, forcing professionals to use DIY methods. These methods are usually not a good solution and are either messy or they don’t create a great enough bond.
This part is lifting due to the lack of Wolfbite on the bed.
Airwolf 3D knew early on that bed adhesion was important, especially since these machines were made to print with numerous materials. Developing a turnkey solution required years of testing and a lot of patience. Out of the need to create something for every 3D printing professional, Wolfbite was born. This brought a turnkey solution not only to the professional market, but to hobbyists as well.
The various types of Wolfbites for different 3D printing filament.
Hairspray, glue sticks, etc were now a thing of the past. Wolfbite for ABS handles several materials, and provides a way to easily start prints without having to constantly re-apply anything to the build surface. This solution allows the user to print several parts throughout a workday with little mess and is also affordable compared to other professional methods that are
Not only is Wolfbite easy to use, affordable and versatile, it also eliminates one of the biggest problems for users when they start using higher-temperature materials. Some of the materials shrink quite a bit, and keeping a good bond to the bed throughout the print is extremely important. There is now a way to get a great bond to the Airwolf 3D glass build plate, and only requires the user to wait a few minutes for it to cool down for the part to release.
With the bed still hot, this pint will not lift off the bed due to the Wolfbite’s chemical bond between the plastic and the glass. Once cool, it will lift off easily.
Most of the Wolfbite solutions are similar in the way they work, but are specialized for different groups of materials. For example, the original Wolfbite for ABS is also great for PETG and TPE/TPU. The solution is heat reactive, meaning the part will bond to the plate when hot but will release easily when cool. One dip of the brush into the bottle will usually cover the entire build plate, which will last for several prints.
The user should first make sure that the current glass plate they have is clean and free of any residue or debris. It is also important NOT to use any soap or cleaning detergents on the glass itself, as it can cause bonding issues when using the Wolfbite solution on the glass. If you are using a non-Airwolf 3D printer, make sure you are using a glass plate, as other materials such as aluminum will not work with Wolfbite.
The image on the left shows a piece of glass after several prints using Wolfbite. The glass on the right shows the same piece of glass after being rinsed with warm water.
Since each Wolfbite may cover a different range of materials, it is important to choose the correct type of Wolfbite for the filament you are using. The bottle will list all compatible materials. Apply Wolfbite to a clean glass build plate using the supplied foam brush. Cover the area where you will be printing and then insert the glass into the machine.
The first layer needs to be at the proper height, so it is also important to pay close attention to the auto-leveling system. If this system is malfunctioning, you will most likely not get a good first layer and you can even run into jamming issues. The brass brush should be clean and free of debris, and the nozzle should touch down on all four corners of the metal bed brackets. If you notice that the nozzle is pressing down too much, you will need to take a razor blade to scrape off filament residue from the surface of the brackets. Run the print again to verify this system is working properly.
Using improper settings for the filament type you are using can also cause significant print malfunctions. For example, if the bed is too cool the print will not stick. First layer print speed, retraction speed/distance, and temperature are some common settings that can cause first layer failures. This layer should be printed slowly and should be using temperatures that are intended for use with the loaded material.
DIY solutions to bed adhesion can leave a user frustrated, as the machine should be used as a tool and not a testing device. As long as you are using the correct print settings, cleaning the glass plate properly with water, and paying close attention to the auto-leveling system, bed adhesion should never be an issue.