The first thing you should do if you have a 3D printer is learn how to clean it. 3D printers can be cleaned in many different ways depending on the type of machine you own. This article will give you tips on how to clean the 3D Printing bed and the most commonly used methods.
Tools and Materials Required
- Adhesive tape (the kind you use for printing).
- Scraper, plastic ruler, or metal spatula.
- A concentration of 70% or more isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Concentration is the key.
- Non-abrasive detergent soap.
- A brand new sponge.
- Cotton, paper towels, or a microfiber cloth
PEI (Polyetherimide) Sheets
Polyetherimide (PEI) sheets are gaining popularity as a means of improving bed stickiness. They have a good hold on a range of surfaces and release most prints when cool. There is no need for more adhesives such as glue or tape to use or apply the sheets.
PEI sheets need frequent cleaning to maintain adhesion. A sheet’s hold is reduced when it is repeatedly touched, as it leaves oil on the surface. Sheets that have rough edges may degrade and lose adhesion if scraped. Prints will stay in place if they are cleaned and maintained frequently.
Liquid detergent and concentrated acetone work well for cleaning PEI sheets on 3D printer beds. It can be used as a spray bottle, applied with a rag, and wiped clean with another clean rag. Don’t leave any residue behind when wiping the wrinkles and crevices.
To clean the print head, rinse it off with water, and it should come out clean without any residue. Alternatively, you can remove the old bed liner from the machine. After the print head is cleaned with detergent, use a soft cloth to wipe it dry.
Wipe the bed’s surface with a damp cloth soaked in acetone. You may also use Acetone to dissolve any remaining plastic on the bed. Acetone is flammable, so keep the area well ventilated to prevent fumes from getting into the electronics of the printer.
Using sandpaper, you can remove minor scratches and gouges from your printer sheet if you’ve had it for a while. Make smooth, uniform circles with the sandpaper over the sheet. Polyetherimide sheets of 3D printer beds can be cleaned in minutes. All you need is a little patience.
Trying this is worthwhile since it is the cheapest solution to available cleaning printers. It is beneficial to practice it first at home if you’ve never done it before. A little gentle detergent and some patience often results in better results than expected.
Glass is also a popular material for beds. A glass bottom creates a uniform, smooth surface. As a result, it is more durable than PEI and others. Glue sticks and hairspray are commonly used with these beds to enhance adherence.
Glass alone usually is not sufficient to ensure a print adheres to a mattress, particularly one that is not heated. Consequently, adhesive accumulation can be avoided by frequent cleaning. It is worth noting that some of the steps are relevant to beds other than glass beds, although the section is devoted to glass beds.
You must, once again, consider your printing habits to determine the right time to clean your bed. After each print, scrub the bed to prevent residue accumulation.
A dry cotton cloth is one of the best ways to ensure your glass remains clean and clear. Adding a small amount of water to the glass and scrubbing it will remove any remaining dust specks.
If you want the image to be crisp and clear, do not let any water touch your printer. You will also need to wipe any excess cleaner off your glass once it has been cleaned. Ideally, you should only clean the top area of the glass where the prints are placed.
It is possible to stain a print if you lean too hard on the bottom of the glass. This will require you to replace your printer’s glass. Whenever you have finished a project, you should let the printer dry completely before re-inserting it.
A layer of adhesive adheres to the top of the printable material to keep things neat and tight. Adhesives are sticky substances. In addition to the adhesive on the print surface, there is also a sticky string at the top of the print material that helps keep everything in place.
A continual stream of ink is sprayed onto the print surface when the printing head is first activated. Eventually, the image appears to bloat and look like it’s been sprayed out of a huge spray nozzle.
Adhesive tape is another tried-and-true method of improving bed stickiness. It’s most prevalent on printers with non-heated beds nowadays (such as the M3D Micro). Besides masking tape and painter’s tape, Kapton and other tapes are also used.
Sticky tapes are popular because of their simplicity of use. Most hardware stores carry them, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. Adhesive tapes have several disadvantages, such as ripping when removing prints. Therefore, it should be replaced regularly.
An alcohol-based cleaner, which you can find at most craft or office supply stores, would work well for cleaning the adhesive tape of a 3D printer bed. After the print surface has been completely dried, move on to the next step.
To remove any remaining dirt or residue, wipe down the print surface. This is important so that you do not accidentally spray or otherwise end up dribbling the cleaner all over the print material.
Observe that the printhead can be damaged while cleaning a 3D printer bed. So when working on your project be sure to use the right cleaner and follow the instructions.
For filaments to adhere long-term, abrasive compounds should not be used. This will destroy the print bed of your device. Scratches will remain on the surface, indicating the filaments do not adhere to it anymore.
The use of sponges with rough surfaces is therefore discouraged. As a consequence, the print bed may also be scratched. You should also be cautious when using acetone. Due to its harsh impact, it isn’t suitable for use on coated beds. After cleaning the 3D printer bed, remember to air the room. As a result, toxic gases will be expelled from the room.
Keeping your 3D printer bed clean is essential to extending its lifespan. When you are using your printer for long periods, keep the bed clean to prevent damage to the external parts of the device. As a bonus, you’ll also save money on possible repairs and replacements. Cleaning your printer bed will also keep your printer free from dust and dirt. This will prevent your device from slowing down. In fact, we have a detailed guide to buying Best 3D Printer for Miniatures.