First layer does not stick

Updated 4 weeks ago ​by Tomáš Chvalina

This is by far the most common 3D printing problem, and probably the first one you may encounter. The first layer is the essential one as it is the base of the printed object. Therefore, if it isn’t perfect, the chance of print failure increases.

What happens when the first layer isn’t perfect? Most of the time you will not be able to start the printing process, or the printed objects may continue to constantly detach from the print surface.

Indication

There are a couple of indications which will tell you that your first layer is not set properly.

  • Printed objects detaching from the print surface at the start or in the middle of the printing process.
  • Wide gaps between the printed lines in the first layer (nozzle is "Too high").
  • A visible sight of the nozzle going through the first layer (nozzle is "Too low").

Troubleshooting

  1. Proper calibration of the first layer – First, you must perform the First layer calibration. Once you are happy with the result, you can start printing. Later on, you may apply small adjustments to the nozzle height through the Live Adjust Z option when the printer is creating the initial three layers. Just press the Knob and go to the Live Adjust Z. If you are not sure how the proper first layer looks, check out the photo above and First layer calibration and Live adjust Z.
  2. Prepare the print surface – Keep the surface free of grease. Otherwise, your first layer will have a difficulty sticking to the print bed. Before starting any of your prints from ABS, PLA and many other materials, simply wipe the print surface clean with IPA 90%+. Also, you should use Acetone from time to time, when prints stop sticking. PETG is an exception, so do not use IPA 90%+ and Acetone when you are printing with this material. For PETG, we recommend using a separating agent (e.g. a glue stick). A complete guide how to prepare the print surface can be found at PEI print surface preparation
  3. Use proper printing temperatures – Make sure to use the proper nozzle and especially the correct heatbed temperatures. If you are experimenting with new materials that don’t adhere well, you can try to bump up the heatbed temperature by 5-10°C. This way the plastic will stick a bit better.
  4. Decrease the printing speed – If everything above failed, then try decreasing the printing speed. The easiest way how to do it is by rotating the knob during the printing process. Anti-clockwise = decrease speed, Clockwise = increase speed. We suggest decreasing the speed to about 75% for first three layers, then return it to normal.




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