Can You 3D Print Without a Heated Bed?

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: April 23, 2021

Yes, you can 3D print without a heated bed! Some 3D printers don’t have a heated bed. However, if you don’t have a heated bed, you may not have benefits such as reducing model warping at the bottom layer and ease of object removal.

3D Printer Heated Bed

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Most filaments can’t be 3D printed without a heated bed, but PLA works without a heated print bed surface. Thus, it gives you limited options with filament type usage causing a less pleasant 3D printing experience.

If you don’t have experience with 3D printers, you will find valuable information that will serve as a guide on a heated 3D printer bed in this article.

The information presented will help you as you engage in a menu search for a 3D printer.

How Do You 3D Print Without a Heated Bed?

3D printing without a heated bed works though you may experience 3D printed models not sticking to the print platform. However, you can use several ways to ensure that you effectively 3D print without a heated printer bed.

PLA Filament

The use of PLA filament or 3D printers manufactured without the heated bed enables you to print 3D models bypassing the heated bed function.

Check Price at Amazon

It is a cheaper way of manufacturing 3D models though you will miss out on the heated bed’s benefits.

Tape Usage for Part Adhesion in 3D Printers

You may use tape as a less messy way to 3D Print without using a heated bed and with good results. The heating processes in a 3D printer surface allow the model to stick to the platform. If you 3D print without a heated bed, you may opt to use tape to compensate for these issues.

In addition, using masking tape enables the 3D model to stick to the printer surface but leaves many residues on the plate. The masking tape also tears easily hence the need to be careful with its usage.

The blue tape is highly recommended for use rather than the masking tape because it guarantees a neat job.

Kapton tape users suggest that the tape highly compensates for a 3D heated bed as 3D objects stick easily on it. However, you may need to apply it carefully to avoid air bubbles trapped in the 3D objects.

Glue Stick Usage in a 3D Printer

Most people in the 3D printing industry use thin layers of glue sticks or hair spray on the glass print surface. It serves you well as an alternative to the use of a heated bed.

Keep the Build Plate Warm

Keeping the build plate (see on Amazon) warm is a good idea as a cold climate affects heated beds negatively. The remedy to it may be to keep your printer in the warmest room in your house.

Alternatively, you may consider buying a 3D printer with an enclosure or still construct it by yourself. The chamber traps the heat that helps maintain a build plate temperature for better print quality.

Design Surface Area For Ease of Model Removal

You may design the base plate surface area in a way that makes it easy to remove the 3D model from the glass bed surface after 3D printing.

A design that helps you remove the 3D model from the bed surface ensures the tape doesn’t rip off, causing damage and tape wastage.

Make the base narrow, thus reducing the surface area coming into contact with the tape. Such a design weakens the bond between the part and the tape, making removing the 3D models easy.

Do I Need a Heated Bed 3D Printer?

You can 3D print models without a heated bed. However, that doesn’t render a heated bed surface a luxury. It can be considered a low-cost budget 3D printers come with that is worth paying extra money.

Check Price at Amazon

So, yes, you need a heated bed 3D printer!

A heated 3D printer bed helps the 3D printer maintain a warm environment for the print surface during the printing time. It helps keep plastic like ABS, Nylon, and PLA from cooling too quickly, therefore, preventing warping that may cause damage to 3D models.

Warping causes the prints to peel off too soon off the build platform base, leading to low-quality products or total failure of the process.

You, therefore need to get it right with your print settings.

A heated 3D printer bed helps in 3D printing because 3D models adhere to the build surface. Their conformity to the build platform temperatures makes for high-quality 3D models.

The problem with 3D printers that don’t have the heated bed is that they may only 3D Print from PLA filament. In contrast, the heated bed 3D printers give you the luxury of using numerous plastic filaments such as ABS, Nylon, PETG. Also, it guarantees quality prints due to the layer adhesion present in parts of the build platform.

Removal of 3D prints after the manufacturing process is complete becomes easy with the heated bed surface.

Do You Need a Heated Bed for PLA?

The straight answer is no, you don’t need a heated bed for PLA 3D printing.

PLA is a popular choice for many people using thermoplastic printing applications in the 3D community. Because PLA is a non-toxic, versatile, and environmentally-friendly plastic material used in 3D printing, it is easy to use and offers excellent quality prints.

As much as you may not need to use PLA in a heated bed, you can still use it provided you control the temperature settings of the bed. PLA has a low glass transition temperature of 60 degrees. Celsius and temperatures above it can cause damage to the 3D Print.

A higher bed temperature aids layer adhesion, but temperatures soaring above the glass transition temperature can be detrimental to the printing process.

The upper layer’s stress tends to warp the bottom because PLA is susceptible to above glass transition temperatures.

Can You 3D Print in a Cold Room?

3D printing in a cold or hot room works well as long as the 3D printer has the requisite conditions – one of the conditions being a constant print bed temperature and using the right plastic material.

For example, if you use ABS in a cold room, you risk encountering warping challenges. On the other hand, PLA could easily be pulled off, causing print damage.

The trick to success with 3D printing in a cold room lies in monitoring and regulating temperatures while printing.

Different plastic materials need different optimum temperatures for the glass bed to operate in a cold room. When using ABS plastic material, you may need to keep the entire build area hot enough throughout the printing duration to prevent the print from warping.

A relatively lower glass transition temperature allows you to get your end prints in a cold environment.

Success will depend on your ability to regulate the temperature of the heated bed. The trick is to control large fluctuations of power causing severe changes in temperatures.

Print layers cool down too quickly, so contracting too much due to temperature fluctuations is not good. Corners of your 3D prints may curl away from the print bed, which negatively impacts print quality.

Therefore, printing in a cold environment is possible. However, it will depend on how good your power is and how effective your heated bed can generate power to enable it to overcome the cooler space.

Why Do 3D Printers Have a Heated Bed?

Heated beds provide several advantages to the 3D printing process, and it’s something you shouldn’t ignore when buying a 3D printer.

Heated beds add great quality and layer adhesion to the printing process. It helps keep extruded plastic material at its optimal temperature. Thus, it helps stop common challenges that you may experience during 3D printing. One of the challenges is warping.

Edges of your plastic material tend to cool down at different rates compared to the rest of the material. Therefore, causing the cooled plastic to warp upwards, negatively affecting the print’s entire look.

How a Heated Bed Prevents Warping

The heated bed heats the glass bed temperature to a point where the 3D object sticks to the surface. Consequently, it prevents the print from sliding all over.

The heated bed also stops the 3D print from warping as it produces radiated heat that keeps the material warm throughout the print.

Heated beds help retain the temperature of the 3D printing space. Thus, it enables the plastic material to perform its function optimally.

Best printing results come as printed objects cool at a much slower rate, making it possible to reduce stress on the material.

Your first extruded layer forms the foundation of your 3D print. Therefore, it is critical to get it right through proper adhesion on the build plate. Without good adhesion on the glass surface, your print may not stick, increasing the risk of producing poor-quality prints.

Some 3D printers have a smooth glass surface which though durable, can be very slippery. It’s a quality that causes materials to slide instead of sticking to the surface.

A heated bed mitigates the sliding problem by giving materials an optimum level of adhesion to the surface.

A heated bed helps remove 3D objects from the glass print bed on completion of the printing process. Many 3D printers face challenges removing the prints from the print surface. Some people resort to scratching the printer bed with cutting tools, a risky endeavor as you may accidentally be injured in the process.

It would help if you let the heated bed cool down completely, and your print may even pop out of the print bed without any significant effort from yourself.

Conclusion

You may need to note the importance of the heated bed as a component of the 3D printer. Comments from satisfied 3D printer users reinforce the importance of the heated bed in the 3D printing process.

Heated beds allow you to use different plastic materials such as ABS, PET, PETG, PLA, and many more. Also, it ensures that your print quality is superior.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.