Note: This how to clean your 3d printer heated bed applies to all print beds. Heated, unheated, glass or tape covered.
The excitement builds
You download the object of your desires to print.
You pass it through your favourite slicer program.
The sliced model is then loaded onto the card.
You navigate down to print from card and watch as the bed heats, then the nozzle heats.
The excitement builds as the nozzle starts to move, closer to the bed, closer.
It’s about to start, the plastic is coming out and ?? following the nozzle.
Hang on a minute it should be sticking to the bed!!
What the *?$!
Oh no! What a mess on the nozzle!!!
Your hand navigates up to the knob to stop the print. Deflated, you scroll down and stop the print. Setting the printer to auto-home you get out the paper tissue and wipe the printers nose.
You sigh, with a ‘ now what !!’ in your mind.
The excitement fades
Well when was the last time you cleaned the print bed?
Ok I’m guilty of this.
I put the tape on and forgot, in my excitement to get the first print, of not wiping it down. And I expected it to work properly!
Wiping your hand over the tape will deposit your natural oils from your hand, wiping the bed down with paper towel will deposit the oils used in manufacturer onto the surface. Flament is less likely to stick to oils.
So what can you do to clean your 3d printer heated bed?
You need to use a cleaner that removes oils, but doesn’t remove or damage the tape or print surface.
There are a few options.
You can use a lint free cloth ( one that doesn’t leave fibres, so no dusters please) with rubbing alcohol or ipa (isopropyl alcohol), Which every body has around!!
Other products which also have ipa included are witch hazel, glasses cleaner or nail varnish remover (acetone).
The other cleaner for getting rid of grease is distilled vinegar (white vinegar), available at most supermarkets very cheap 5% solution or soapy water.
A plastic spatula – definitely not metal will remove stubborn bits of plastic. The other tool is a fishtank cleaner. One side is a plastic scraper, the other can have a single sided razor blade fitted.
So cleaning the bed starts with the plastic spatula, or fishtank cleaner. Pushing this over the whole bed will remove any loose bits of plastic. Any bits of plastic stuck to the tape on the bed will be removed without damaging the tape. Be careful of the edges of the tape if it is not one piece.
Examine the edges of the tape to ensure that they are still stuck down. Use the razor blade if it proves impossible to remove the plastic with the other edge. Beware of digging in with the blade or you will be replacing the tape.
Using a cloth, apply some rubbing alcohol, vinegar or soapy water and wipe over the surface of the tape.
You will now have a clean bed ready for the plastic to adhere to.
After every print make sure that all of the bits of plastic from the print are removed.
Ensure that you wipe the bed over every two or three prints to keep it clean.
Watch out for the edges of the tape lifting, and if you normally print in one area, replace the tape after 10 or 12 prints. Move the positioning of the print around to extend the life of the tape.
You now have the cleanest bed, allowing you to download and print more models with the surety that they will stick and the foundations will be solid.
Print still not sticking see my post on first layer not sticking
I hope this has helped, if you have other ways to clean your 3d printer heated bed please share them with us in the comments box below.
Thanks for reading