Best 3D Printer Build Surface

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: September 21, 2021

Producing a partly-shapeless thermoplastic blob due to the reduced adhesion on the print bed surface can be frustrating and disappointing, especially when you see your design warp or break apart after taking much time to create it.

Best 3D Printer Build Surface

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You need to ensure that your 3D printing surface adhesion is good to produce excellent 3D prints.

Here, you will get the necessary information you need, from the various types to the factors to consider when purchasing a 3D printer build surface.

1. 3D Printer Glass Bed [Industry-leading Build Surface]

Do you need a super-flat and non-sticky bed?

A glass bed is an ideal option. It is stiff. Thus, it offers you a perfectly flat surface that is precise. Furthermore, it does not distort with time. Therefore, it provides you with a solid and level surface for you to continue with your 3D printing operation.

Glass has low thermal conductivity. This quality makes it heat at a slow rate, therefore distributing heat uniformly around the print bed.

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To best utilize this option, apply an adhesive for the optimal outcome with your first layer 3D print. You can use hairspray, painter’s tape, or glue sticks. Hairspray’s role is to provide you with a fine first layer.

Also, you can easily wipe off hairspray using water.

Nevertheless, you must handle the glass surface with great care when removing the prints manually from the bed.

Pros

Cons

2. Polyetherimide (PEI) Sheet: Maintenance-Free Build Surface

PEI sheet is thermoplastic in nature, and it offers exceptional adhesion. Thus, they don’t usually require the addition of extra adhesives. However, the quality of your prints depends on the printer bed leveling.

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Furthermore, it is relatively inexpensive and provides adhesion solutions to vast 3D printing materials. They include nylon, ABS, and PLA. PEI sheet is heat resistant hence performs normally up to a temperature 170C.

Better still, you can reuse it. Also, it requires little or no maintenance in your subsequent prints. However, you’ll have to regularly clean your PEI printing sheet to ensure maximum adhesion on your build surface.

Additionally, you can clean the print surface using water or an isopropyl alcohol solution. If you plan to do 3D printing for a while, you should consider a PEI sheet. It will ensure your prints stick well to the surface of your panting bed, hence saving you from disappointments and future frustrations.

Pros

Cons

3. BuildTak: All-Purpose Build Surface

It’s a popular 3D printing build surface and a multipurpose sheet that has an adhesive back. And you can strip it off and stick it on your printer bed.

It’s easy to install, and you can print all types of materials. Hence, you will not have to change the printing surfaces from side-to-side. BuildTak is durable and easy to remove prints and clean the surface.

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To run your 3D printing process smoothly on your Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printer, consider buying a BuildTak build surface. Better still, you can attach a magnetic base to the print bed. The BuildTak sheet is attached to make it easy for you to connect the magnetic base.

You also have the Flex-plate system, which makes it simple to slide the two sheets and move the build plate to remove the print bed parts. That helps you avoid the frustration of prints getting stuck to your print bed.

Pros

Cons

4. Garolite Build Surface: Best for Hard-To-Stick Filaments

Are you using hard-to-stick printing materials like Nylon?

Well, the Garolite plate offers you an excellent solution because it adheres well to nylon (a hard-to-stick filament). Besides, it is compatible with the normal filaments (PETG, TPU, and PLA) and the build plates come with a 3M tape that is temperature resistant that you apply on your build surface.

Garolite 3D Printer Build Plate

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Do you have a nonstandard printing bed size?

Worry not.

Garolite surface is easy to cut using a razor blade. Hence you can resize it to fit your printer bed.

Pros

Cons

Your 3D Models Do Not Stick to Bed?

Well, sometimes everything is set, but your 3D print refuses to stick. The solutions to that include adhesives, leveling your printer bed, adjusting the bed-nozzle distance, and checking bed temperature.

a. Temperature

Check your bed temperature, especially if you are printing on a heated bed. Ensure that you use the right temperature for a particular filament.

b. Level Your Printer Bed

A non-uniform bed disrupts the even distance of the nozzle to the bed. Hence, making printing difficult resulting in the warping of your print. Therefore, for a printer with an adjustable bed, make it level.

c. Adjust Nozzle-Bed distance

There’s always a perfect distance between the nozzle and the printer bed. Not too small, not too large. Put the nozzle too close, and the filament won’t come out.

And if there’s a larger distance between the nozzle and the bed, the filament won’t adhere. So, carry out tests to figure out the most suitable range.

d. Nozzle Speed

Nozzle speed is also a crucial factor in determining if your print will adhere to the bed. Find the appropriate nozzle speed, mostly in your first couple of layers when printing.

e. Apply Adhesives

After checking the nozzle and bed settings, but there’s no change in adhesion, consider applying adhesives directly on your printer bed where your filament lands.

Wrapping Up

From the above comprehensive review on the best 3D printer surface, you can now make the best choice depending on the type of 3D printer and the filament you use.

Each one has its merits and limitations. For a super-smooth build surface, pick a glass build; for stronger adhesion without the need for adhesives, a PEI sheet will suit you best.

Do you handle a variety of filaments? Then BuildTak is the best option for you.

Finally, if you’re using nylon or other filaments that are hard-to-stick on the printer bed, Garilite Build Plate is a perfect choice.

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.