Fix PLA Not Sticking to Bed [11 Proven Ways]

PLA is the most popular type of filament for 3D printing. It usually prints easily, but sometimes people have trouble getting it to stick to the bed.

The bed might be made of glass, PEI, or a magnetic surface. This article lists 11 proven ways to fix PLA not sticking to bed.

Check it out:

Common Problems To Diagnose Immediately

You can make PLA stick to the print bed better by checking the following:

  • Leveling your bed and using a good printing temperature
  • Use a raft or brim to give your model a stronger foundation
  • Ensure nozzle isn't clogged or damaged (clean print bed regularly helps alot)

Other than that, here are commons problems PLA materials starting with poor 1st layer setup:

If there are any problems with it, the whole print will be messed up anyway. The user needs to make sure that the first layer sticks well to the printer bed so it will be strong.

  • Low bed temperature 
  • Low printing temperature
  • Warped print bed 
  • Wrong Z-Offset value
  • Undetected filament moisture
  • Not using bed adhesives
  • Low initial layer flow rate
  • High first layer printing speed
  • Poor print bed material
  • Cooling rate is too fast

11 Proven Ways To Get PLA Materials To Stick To Bed When Printing

Level The Print Bed

3d printer bed leveling

Level the bed ensures that the extruded filament is close to the print bed and has some pressure on it during the printing process. The usual distance is around 0.1mm or the thickness of an A4 piece of paper.

Manual leveling takes time to adjust, and it's not always the most accurate when leveling a big print bed.

Try these tips:

  • Heat up your bed to the around 50°C print temperature
  • The thickness of paper underneath the nozzle should be just enough to wiggle the paper (must not be pinned across the entire print bed)
  • If the paper is showing signs of friction at one angle, move to next corner and readjust
  • Adjust the screws on the aluminum bed or move the Z-endstop

Thus, we highly recommend moving to a printer with automatic leveling feature for time saving and accuracy:

Benefits of auto leveling:

  • Time saving
  • Bed leveling sensor that has a predefined setting (just click and go)
  • Precision instead of eye balling things especially for an important print project

Check out printers with auto leveling feature here

Tips: Users can also use a auto leveling sensor with a precision of around 0.005mm. Check it out here

Increase Your Printing Temperature

Increasing the printing temperature can make your filament softer, which enables it to stick to the bed better.

This step only applies when the material doesn't have any moisture. If you have trouble with adhesion after adjusting the print temperature, please read about material filament moisture removal

Apply Raft Or Brim To 1st Layer

3d printing raft

Raft, Brim or Skirt are 3 different types of layer format users can apply to the first layer. They are NOT features of the print, but part of the print to ensure it sticks to the bed.

Their main job is to support the print and to help a stronger foundation. A raft setup provides a larger floor while the brim provides a layer around the model.

Read more about Raft, Brim or Skirt for more details

Replace Filament

You can do everything right, but the material you're using just suck. Yes, it is a thing. 

There are different tiers of filament quality, and some are just so not worth to test. The best thing to do is to stick with high quality materials to avoid all these unnecessary fixes.

Another problem is moisture. Yes! filament like PLA can absorb moisture, and the best thing to do is store them correctly by using a filament dryer or in a place with humidity monitoring.

Unclog Nozzle Or Get Replacement

3d printer nozzle oozing

Any clogged nozzle will ruin the print. So cleaning it is a must! no exception!

The "cold pull" can unclog the filament to clean out the nozzle to prevent oozing and all sort of printing problems.

Clean Your Print Bed

cleaning 3d printer plate

Left over print residues or poor bed surface maintenance can affect bed adhesion. Cleaning is easy, just make sure you do it often if you're in a frequent print routine.

Oily hands, dirt or smear can often be the subtle things people ignore, and then end up causing problems.

Please use 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe the surface gently. You don't have to go crazy with it, and just let it air dry.

It's also recommended to place a printer in a less dusty room to avoid collecting dust.

Apply Bed Adhesives

Always start the print with some type of bed adhesives. Use the following:

  • Hair spray
  • Glue sticks
  • Painter's tape or Kapton tape
  • Use glass bed

Swap Out Factory Print Bed

Users can of course swap out the factory print bed with something better. There are aftermarket build surfaces built with optimized material properties to work with your print.

These include:

  • Better bed temperature heat retention 
  • Less likely to flex or warp
  • Textured surfaces for better adhesion

Highly recommend checking out magnetic bed, PEI bed or PC spring steel sheet.

Manage Cooling Setting

Cooling rate directly affects the print quality. You want to give the printing process coordinated time to print and time to cool down before the material solidifies.

Increasing the height difference between the fan and print bed. Yes it is a thing to set variable fan speed at different stages of the print to optimize print performance.

Increase Initial Layer Flow Rate

3d pirnting bed surface layer

The first layer also requires a little extra material extrusion to improve be adhesion on top of all the things we have discussed above.

The initial layer flow can differ based on how close is between the nozzle and the bed. So please adjust accordingly.

Adjust Initial Layer Printing Speed

The first layer print should never be done too fast. The main goal is to get the material to stick to the bed nicely before moving on. 

20mm/s is a good start. Reducing the speed typically solve the problem among many other things. If you have done everything right, and the material is still not sticking. Please check the speed! Guarantee it's something people forget to check.

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