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3D Printer Bed Adhesion - Testing Aqua Net Hair Spray and Other Tips
This is just a quick post to share our experience with Aqua Net hair spray as a print-bed adhesion enhancer for 3D Printing. We certainly didn't come up with the idea of using hairspray on a 3D Printer, but have been giving it a go and wanted to share.
"How do I get my prints to stick to the bed?"
Having trouble getting your 3D printed parts to stick well to the bed? If you haven't yet, try a few things:
- Adjust your bed temperature. If your printer manufacturer has recommended temperature settings for the material you're using, make sure you're using them.
- Level your bed. An unlevel bed can cause damage to the bed itself, or, more often, can reduce part quality or keep the part from sticking uniformly. See this post on 3-screw bed leveling.
- Adjust your first-layer height and/or trace width. Make sure your traces are making good contact with the bed. A thick first layer and wide traces can help compensate for a slightly unlevel or warped bed, but also ensures lots of surface area contact with the bed, giving you a strong hold.
- Clean your bed. If using a bed without tape, or if using polyimide (Kapton) tape, clean your bed off with acetone. This will remove dust, oils from your fingers, and other contaminates. If you're using a tape, whether polyimide, blue tape, or anything else, make sure you've got an unmarred surface to print on.
- Slow down. If traces are peeling up while laying down the first layer, try slowing that layer down, then running at faster, more reasonable speeds for subsequent layers.
- Add a brim. A brim will help keep the edges of your part from peeling up. Sometimes the brim will peel off nicely, but often this will require cleanup with a blade, so only use when you need it, and only on parts for which this kind of cleanup is acceptable.
- Try better plastic. Some cheap plastic filament suppliers carry grades that may not stick well. This can cause poor adhesion, and even delamination in cases where the traces won't stick well to the prior layer.
If you've tried these suggestions but still need an edge on getting your parts to stick, try some hairspray.
Prepare bed with tape of choice (if using tape). Spray lightly with unscented Aqua Net (or similar hair sprays) and allow to dry completely. Reapply very lightly after each print to prepare the bed for the next print.
We had a few prints that stuck very well without issue, and then we had this one...
Yep, it broke when trying to remove it.
Removal Tool Tests
- Metal scraper
- Screw Driver
- Dental Pick
Yes, we tapped it laterally with a hammer to try to loosen it up (not recommended). The printed part caved in before the aqua net would let it go. The hammer was really more for gratuitous fun to see how it would do than an honest attempt to remove the part. The other tools, however, are the tools we really used to try non-destructive removal. None of these worked.
Yes, we did end up getting the part off, actually by using bare hands to torque it off (with some discomfort).
Yes, hair spray works for improving adhesion. A very modest application can do wonders. An over-application can create a bond strong enough that the object may be very difficult to remove, especially if you're printing directly on your build surface without tape. Unfortunately, prints with a large first-layer surface area are going to benefit most from this trick, which can reduce peeling a bit, but lots of surface area will make removal more difficult. It may be worth trying hair spray in conjunction with a raft for particularly flat objects.