3D Printing Basics : The Bed

So many issues that are posted online could be resolved by getting the 3D Printing basics right. People share their poor prints regularly and often the root cause comes down to some very basic maintenance steps that are skipped which are critical to getting a good print – each and every time. So lets take a look at the most critical 3d Printing Basic – the bed.

3D Printing Basics – Carborundum Glass Printing Bed

If you own an Ender 3 v2, you are also the lucky owner of a Carborundum Glass Platform. Some people may not think that there is a huge difference of the print quality based on the bed. Having worked with a printer which had a basic bed in the past, I can attest to the amazing quality difference that the Carborundum Glass printing platform delivers.

You might have also read articles and watched videos from people who swear by a range of short term fixes. Like hair spray, glue sticks, painters tape or some sugar water etc. However, if you’ve got the Carborundum Glass Platform and are considering one of these fixes… Let’s pause that thought and take a look at the two most common causes of the carborundum glass bed not working its magic.

3D Printing Basics – 1. Cleaning your bed

It’s as simple as some hand soap, water and a clean microfiber cloth. Soap up the bed and give it a good scrub with something you’d normally clean your dishes with (although choose something that’s new and not used for actually cleaning your dishes). Get it nice and soapy and then remove the soap with water and then dry with a microfiber cloth.

Then after it’s clean – don’t touch your bed. You don’t want to put oils from your skin or other contaminants on to the surface of the bed. As they will stop a beautiful first layer from sticking.

3D Printing Basics – 2. Leveling your bed

More difficult than cleaning but one of the most important 3D printing skills you will need.

  1. Heat up your bed to the standard printing temperature you will be using.
  2. Put a piece of paper in the home position of your printer (that’s the closest left corner for me).
  3. Chose the menu option on your screen to move your printing nozzle to home
  4. Once homed, disable the stepper motor from the screen
  5. Then, with the piece of paper, move it gently under the nozzle. (Personally I’ve seen many descriptions of how people suggest a piece of paper should move under a nozzle. I will provide you with a technique that seems to work perfectly for me.)
  6. Pull the piece of paper towards you, it should just move, without pulling the bed towards you. Then raise the bed just slightly, so that you can just push the paper past the nozzle, towards the back of the printer. Pulling forward again should not move the bed.
  7. Repeat this step for every corner of the bed, over the top of where the support springs are (rather than at the very corner of the bed).
  8. Then repeat the same step in a few random points in the middle of the bed and check that the level hasn’t significantly moved and is consistent across the platform as a whole.

3D Printing Basics – Checking the setup

Head over to the download section of the Creality website and get the latest version of the Creality slicer, available here: https://www.creality.com/download

Choose your printer and complete the basic setup. Then click on the Marketplace link at the top left hand of the screen. Scroll down in the list of plugins and install Calibration Shapes.

You’ll need to restart the slicer software after installing the plugin. Once the software restarts, go to the Extensions Menu > Part for calibration > Add a Bed Level Calibration.

You should see something like this:

Hit slice, save the GCode file and print it on your printer. It should print smoothly and consistent everywhere across the print.

Once the print is complete but before the bed has started to cool, get a folded piece of paper (think an A4 piece folded 4 or 5 times). Use the paper to try and scrape off the test print – it shouldn’t budge. Once the platform has cooled all the way down, a sheet of paper should move the print, with no problems.

This level of adhesion with heat and easy removal after cooling down, is one of the most amazing properties of the Carborundum Glass Platform. Be patient, wait the 10 minutes and you’ll love it. If just rip it off straight away, be prepared for a poor base finish and another extra round of cleaning.

Getting a first good layer, consitently, across the whole of your bed is such an important step of printing. Issues relating to poor calibration or cleaning can often be hidden with additional adhesives. However in the long run, they reduce the quality of your prints. Spending extra time tuning your printer, cleaning and re-leveling your bed will go a signifcant way to increasing your sucess.

Where to get

You can pick up a Glass Bed right here from creality3dofficial.com personally I ordered the pack with some tungsten nozzles, for my next upgrade: https://www.creality3dofficial.com/collections/cmagnet-tempered-glass/products/tempered-glass-build-plate-and-tungsten-nozzles-kits-for-ender-3-pro-3-v2-ender-5

2 thoughts on “3D Printing Basics : The Bed”

  1. Thanks for the advice here. It’s good to have community support. Immediate problem: I just did a lovely print of 16 pieces in a chess set (CR-6 SE). They absolutely will not come off the bed. Brute force method snapped one (OK, I can print another). Trying freezing bed in the fridge, method recommended elsewhere, no luck so far. Will try double-edge razor blade and small hammer. It occurs to me to heat the plate and pry models off, however I don’t see a way to do this without initiating a new print. I can try isopropanol. This is maybe the sixth model I’ve tried, hasn’t been an issue before. A dremel tool cutter at low speed doesn’t get under the edge (Dremel and 3D printing seem made for each other, especially finishing the surface and removing threads.

    Suggestions on removing prints from bed welcome.

    1. Great question. Is it possible that you’ve used an adhesive on your glass bed previously? When an adhesive is used, like a glue stick it needs to be throughy removed through cleaning, otherwise the glue will actually last a few cycles of use. Personally I had the problem you described when using a glue stick but after swapping to just the glass bed and cleaning it throughly before use, I’ve never once experienced that problem since – as long as I let the bed first cool down. I’d suggest giving it a good clean again and see how you go!

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