How to Clean a 3D Printer Bed

How to Clean a 3D Printer Bed? – PEI, Glass, Adhesive | Complete Guide

As printing needs are growing daily and there are various prints out there in the printer world, 3D printers are one of the best among all. 3-D images can fail for many reasons, and one of the most commonly seen is a part detaching from the bed mid-print. So it is essential to ensure the bed adhesion is crucial for successful printing requirements. 

However, there are many ways to avoid the parts being stuck; one of the easy methods is to ensure the print bed is clean. Regular bed cleaning is not only crucial for the improvement of part adhesion but also for the look of printers to be better. The best way to clean any 3D printing bed is with isopropyl or alcohol, or you can also wash with dishwashing soap and water. 

So for your ease, we will guide you on the best ways to clean a 3D printer bed, so if you are interested, keep reading the informative post.

Importance of 3D Printer Bed Cleaning

The 3-D printer bed plays an important role and works as a base on which your model is printed. The printing process can leave a residue of filament when the process of Printing is completed. Generally, handling the printer bed gets dirt and debris like skin oils, fingerprints, and many other elements from its surroundings. These contaminants play a significant role in the printer’s performance and prints and damage the printer over time.

In addition, if you ignore the repair and maintenance of the printer, it can lead to irreversible damage, and you do not have the option to replace them with the new one. 

Polyetherimide Printing Beds

PEI sheets are most common in use as printer beds, need little maintenance, and are ideal for all processes. They are a good option as they are resistant to wear under extreme radiation and temperature, a great and regular feature in 3D Printing. 

If appropriately maintained, PI sheets come with more bed adhesion and don’t get stuck with the printer bed. Consequently, there are many examples where tapes and adhesives are required while using them. However, PEI sheets do not need care and maintenance to keep the quality prints upgraded. When the bed is continuously subjected to temperature, printing radiations, and 3D Printing inks environmental contaminants and regular handling, the adhesion becomes weaker over time. 

This can lead to the accumulation of dirt, printing inks, glue, and filaments on the bed’s surface. Sample cleaning processes like scraping, scratching, and wiping with the cleaner can damage the mattress.

How to clean PEI Printing Bed

The Things you will Need:

  • Acetone or propane
  • Isopropyl Alcohol with 70 to 90 % concentration depends on cleaning strength
  • Paper towels, microfiber cloth, or cotton rag
  • Sandpaper

Process

to clean the IPA 3D printing beds. The use of 70 % concentration is a good option. It is volatile means it evaporates, so you should not worry that it will create a mess. If oils, grease, and dirt have been layered considerably, the higher purity of IPA can be used. 

Therefore, you should do the whole process in a highly ventilated area. Before starting the cleaning process, let the 3-D printer bed cool down. Apply the IPA and clean it with the dry and clean microfiber, towel or cotton rag. The higher concentration of IPA will break the organic oils and make it easy for you to clean them thoroughly. 

If there is an accumulation of plastics strongly bonded with the 3D beds, use acetone to remove the 3D ink. Pour the acetone indirectly on the bed with a cloth to dampen it. As PEI is insoluble in acetone, pouring too small an amount on the printer bed can significantly damage it for extended periods. 

To remove the plastic compounds, wipe the bed in circular strokes, as you can pour some amount of acetone on the surface directly to soften the stubborn and inflexible strains.

Time for Maintenance

For different brands of 3D printing beds, the time for maintenance is additional, especially for the PEI sheets. It also depends on how often they are being used and the available time. To prevent the model from sticking to the bed can be hacked with the use of glue and hair spray. 

Therefore, you should use acetone and sandpaper for the restoration after regular use in a month or two. So to avoid damage, it is better to wipe the standard after a few prints and follow the instructions carefully. 

Glass

The glass comes with longer serviceable life compared to PEI and is a ubiquitous material for 3D Printing. It is also easy to use the hair spray and adhesives for the 3D Printing needs the surface cannot react with any other material. Glass surfaces come with easy and smooth cleaning processes are easy. 

The glass itself does not come with good surface adhesion, so it is used with adhesives like glue sticks and hair sprays. For the first layer of prints, they increase the surface adhesion to set the stable base for the rest of the model. 

How to Clean Glass Printing Bed

Things you will need:

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Sponge
  • Scraper
  • Isopropyl alcohol with 70 to 90% depends on the need for cleaning
  • Paper towels or microfiber cloth

Process

Working with the heated 3D printing bed is easy because the surface is not sensitive to heat. The heat makes cleaning easy by making them easy to scrap. In the beginning, the traces of hair spray and glue should be cleaned from the surface of glass 3D printing beds. You can do it with smooth and levelled objects like a plastic ruler or metal spatula, but be careful with the metal as it can create scratches on the surface of the glass. After removing the glue, you can easily remove the printing material stuck from the bed. 

The scraper or blade is very sharp, so apply the reasonable and downward force with one hand and have a good grip on the edge or in the centre of the glass bed with the other hand. Clean it with disposable paper. 

This way, you can remove the residue material properly and stop your hand from slipping. Do not forget to clean the bed later because your hand can leave the residual oils and dirt on the bed’s surface. 

Moreover, soap and water are perfect for removing the hair spray and glue. You have to check the product’s composition to determine water’s solubility. In many cases, the alcohol and acetones are the best solvents to remove them. Clean with the disposable paper or cotton rag because microfiber is a tough once used for this objective. 

Time of Maintenance

The time of cleaning with the soap and water every week if the beed is used for many weeks; otherwise, monthly maintenance is an excellent option to keep the prints well adhered to. Using IPA and acetone is a great option when the build-up is very high. 

Adhesive Tape

Adhesive tape is cheap and easy to replace in the 3D printer bed. So it is a reliable option for anyone to dive into 3D Printing or if you are looking for a cheap option yet reliable as a 3D printing bed. Adhesive tape is mainly used with the non-heated beds as it is sensitive to heat. 

How to Clean Adhesive Tape 3D Printing Bed

Things you will need:

  • More tape of the similar kind
  • Metal spatula
  • Scaper or plastic ruler
  • Isopropyl alcohol with 70 to 90 %
  • Sponge
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Paper towels or cotton rag

Process

Although the process of adhesive tape is easy, it comes with equally hard clean-up steps. A spatula is a good option for cleaning and scraping the residual filament with the metal. 

Clean the base of the bed and remove all the tapes with soap, water or IPA. Allow it to dry, and then apply the fresh layer. Sometimes the bed is used for extended periods and does not have an even level; this is to be replaced for must. 

Time for Maintenance

The life span of the adhesive tape 3D printing bed is concise and should be maintained and replaced more frequently. Replace the tape entirely after one or two weeks and scrap the surface lightly, depending on the frequency of usage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Acetone will dissolve if you are printing with an ABS or PLA. Pour a few drops on the bed and clean it off. Heating the bed back up will make the plastic softer and easy to remove.

Yes, isopropyl is an effective and popular agent for cleaning printer beds. Highly concentrated isopropyl alcohol can clean the oil compared to water and soap. 

You can clean the 3-D printer bed by lightly scraping the surface after every print and replacing the entire tape after one or two weeks.  

Conclusion

So if you do not want to get frustrated with your quality prints, you should clean and maintain your 3-D printing beds more often. In the above section, I have explained the cleaning process of three types of 3D printing beds in detail, along with the maintenance time. 

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