Build plate adhesion: How to get your print to stick to the build plate

When 3D printing, it’s vital to ensure good adhesion of your print to the build plate. If the print does not stick well to the build plate, there’s a chance that it will become loose and that the print will fail.

This page contains several tips for improving the adhesion of your print to the build plate.  Good adhesion will also minimise the amount of warping (the corners of the material curling up at the bottom layer of a print). For further advice about warping problems, we recommend reading this page in our troubleshooting section.

Build plate leveling

Good adhesion starts with a well-calibrated build plate. The distance between the nozzle and build plate should be set correctly. Too wide a gap will result in a loose first layer, which may cause your print to separate from the build plate while printing. Equally, the calibration should not be too tight, as this may stop the filament from extruding correctly.

The Ultimaker S5 and Ultimaker S3 use multipoint active build plate calibration to compensate for any inaccuracies on the build surface. More information on how to level the Ultimaker S5 build plate can be found here.

To see an example of a successful first layer, click here. If necessary, you can adjust the build plate on the Ultimaker 2+ Connect, Ultimaker 2 (Extended), Ultimaker 2+, and Ultimaker 3 before starting a new print.

Build_plate_adhesion_Build_plate_calibration.jpg Build_plate_adhesion_Using_the_calibration_card.jpg

Heated build plate temperature

Most Ultimaker printers have a heated build plate. When using a heated build plate, you need to check that the correct temperature is used. This ensures that the first layer(s) of the print stay warm and don’t contract due to cooling. Using the correct build plate temperature starts with selecting the right material profile on the printer and in Cura. To find out which temperature you need for your material, please refer to the print profiles in Ultimaker Cura.

When experiencing adhesion problems it sometimes helps to slightly increase the build plate temperature, but this shouldn’t be necessary in most cases. Please note, for non-Ultimaker materials, you may have to use different temperatures than the default values.

Print surface

To achieve good adhesion, the print surface needs to be smooth and clean. There should be no traces of oil, grease, or fingerprints on the build plate. Some materials may require an adhesive on the build plate (e.g. glue). Refer to our material guides to find out what the recommended adhesion method is for the material you’re using or find an overview on this page.

It’s also important to regularly clean the build plate. Without this, the print surface may become uneven, which could cause adhesion problems. Please note, when using tape or an adhesion sheet on the build plate, you must replace it regularly. If you use glue on the build plate, make sure you clean it afterwards. Excessive glue can be removed with water (and soap), and alcohol cleaner is effective for getting rid of greasy fingerprints.


Printing environment

Materials that require a high build plate temperature (e.g. PC and CPE+) benefit from a stable printing environment. If the maximum build plate temperature of 110 °C is used, cooler airflows from the environment can cause adhesion problems, and in extreme cases, may cause the print to separate from the build plate.

To create a controlled environment inside the 3D printer, it is recommended that you enclose the printer as much as possible. The Ultimaker S5 and the Ultimaker S3 already feature a door. The Ultimaker 2+ Connect has an optional Air Manager including a front enclosure. For the Ultimaker 3 and the Ultimaker 2+, a separate front enclosure is also available in the Advanced 3D printing kit to assist in printing these materials. This ensures a stable temperature of around 45 °C inside the printer, leading to a higher success rate and better print quality.

Ultimaker Cura settings

In addition to the physical adjustments detailed above, our software Ultimaker Cura also offers some settings that help improve adhesion. More information on improving adhesion using Ultimaker Cura settings here.

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