A 3D printer's bed, also known as a build plate, is a flat surface on which printers place 3D objects created by the print head. And it is a heated platform that provides adhesion and stability for the prints. The bed can be made of materials such as glass, metal(e.g. PEI), and others. For example, Anycubic Kobra Max's bed is carborundum glass, while Anycubic Kobra 2, and Anycubic Kobra 2 Max uses a spring steel magnetic platform with a PEI coat.
Cleaning the printer bed is a simple yet crucial routine maintenance task that can prolong the lifespan of the printer. Generally, it is necessary to clean the printer bed after each print, so as to remove adhesive residues like glue or PLA filament residue. Otherwise, it can easily lead to poor bed adhesion issues like warping or PLA not sticking to the bed. This article provides useful 3D printer maintenance tips on how to clean your 3D printer bed.
Tools You Needs
- Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
- Metal scraper
- Cleaning cloth
The required tools mentioned above are easily available in daily life. It is important to note that IPA should be at least 90% to achieve good cleaning results. Alternatively, warm water or soapy water can be used as a cleaning solvent. Additionally, the scraper should be made of metal rather than silicone or plastic material, so as to effectively remove stubborn residues. And your cleaning cloth can be a lint-free wiper to minimize potential damage to the bed.
Step 1: Remove Failed Prints and Debris
Any plastic residue that is not cleaned properly from the build area, can reduce bed adhesion. Therefore, it is crucial to clean the bed after each print, especially when dealing with failed prints and debris. To start, remove the 3D print stuck to the bed by gently inserting a flat blade at the print bottom and lifting it off the print bed. Take caution while scraping to avoid scratches on the bed using sharp tools. Next, use a brush to sweep away any debris left on the surface of the bed. Keeping the Y-axis tracks clean is equally important, and make sure that no PLA residue remains on them. Otherwise, it can affect the movement of the heated bed during printing and impact the quality of the prints.
Step 2: Apply IPA to Cleaning Cloth
Before cleaning your print bed, home all printer's axes and then power off the machine for safety. Pour a small amount of IPA at least 90% onto a cleaning cloth and use it to wipe your printer bed. This helps to soften the plastic residue. If IPA is not available, you also can use warm water or soapy water. It is important to note that you should avoid directly spraying the liquid onto the bed, as it may seep into and ruin other components of the printer.
Step 3: Clean and Wipe Print Bed
After softening the PLA residue with IPA, begin cleaning your printer bed. Use one hand to hold the heated bed to prevent slipping, while the other hand wipes the bed in one direction. Ensure that you wipe the entire bed surface to effectively remove contaminants such as skin oils, fingerprints, and dirt. For stubborn residues, wipe them multiple times. Finally, pour water onto a fresh cloth and wipe the bed once more. This helps to reduce any potential damage to the bed coating caused by IPA. You should confirm the print bed is completely dry, before turning on your 3D printer.
How to Protect the Platform Coating When Cleaning
- Do not repeatedly wipe the platform or wiping in a random order, as it may still leave oil stains and dust on the platform. Instead, wipe in one direction.
- Do not scrub your platform hard as it can damage the coating.
- Do not soak the plate in cleaning solution or directly spray liquid onto it.