If your involved in 3D Printing then you know there are many different methods, techniques and solutions makers use to get their 3D prints to adhere to their build plates. BuildTak is a peel & stick sheet that makers can put directly on their build plate and with the right settings can get consistent print adhesion. Here are some tips for new and old users to help get BuildTak working optimally:
Applying BuildTak to your print bed
BuildTak can be applied to the print bed of almost all FDM/FFF printers. It works on glass, metal, plastic, perfboard and pretty much any other print bed type you’d come across. Below is a quick instructional video for how to install BuildTak on your print bed. The main point to take away from the video is you want to avoid getting air bubbles stuck under the BuildTak sheet. Take your time when installing it, it’s not hard but mistakes can happen if you rush.
The first layer of a print is usually the most important. Getting your print bed flat and level is KEY. If your print bed isn’t flat with respect to your nozzle your likely to end up with inconsistent prints. We’ve all had prints we walk away from for an hour or two that end up a stringy mess because the first layer didn’t adhere correctly.
After applying the BuildTak sheet to your print bed, re-level using the leveling process recommended by the manufacturer of your printer. If you’ve built your own printer try using a 3 point leveling method where you set the nozzle height to a consistent distance at 3 points on your build plate to create a level plane.
When you level your print bed, you do so relative to your nozzle. Ideally you want your nozzle the same distance away from the print bed at every point. For many people who are used to printing on painters tape, glue on glass, hairspray etc. they set the nozzle height very close in order to smoosh in the first layer and force adhesion. DO NOT do this with BuildTak, your prints will end up sticking too well!
Set your nozzle height further away than you normally would and run a test print where you watch the first layer closely. If your not getting good adhesion, make an incremental adjustment closer and run another test print. If your prints are sticking too well, increase your nozzle height. Continue this process until you find a height that works for you. Level with 1-3 pieces of office paper, or a business card between the BuildTak sheet and your nozzle, or .2-.27mm. The exact distance is different for every printer, filament material and group of settings so it can be slightly different for everyone.
Check out the Graphic below for a visual of what your looking for in a first layer (#4):
(Thanks to Matthew Gorton & PrintedSolid for the graphic. Matthews “Get your prints to stick” Guide is a great resource)
Try using a spatula or palette knife like tool that’s thin with rounded corners and doesn’t have sharp edges. Something pointy or sharp (or both) has the potential to cut into and damage the BuildTak sheet.
For some prints you may be able to pull or pop them off with your hands. For prints that you can’t do this with, use a tool similar to what’s mentioned above.
Be patient. Sometimes it takes a little time to find the correct angle and side of the print to get the tool under it but If you have your nozzle height set correctly, you should only need to get under a small part of the print with the tool and the print will come off easily.
You shouldn’t need to clean or treat your BuildTak sheet but if you choose to, wipe it down with a low % Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. 70% would be recommended. DO NOT use acetone.
There are no “perfect” settings to print and the key to a good print is experimentation. If you want to share your knowledge or get help, drop a comment below.