When it comes to cleaning PLA off a 3D printer bed, people wonder what the best options are out there. Removing PLA from the printer bed can be a bit tricky, so I decided to write an article detailing how to fix this problem.
To clean PLA off a 3D printer bed, there are a few methods you can try from using a scraper or a spatula and applying isopropyl alcohol or acetone to using a printer bed adhesive and heat gun. Before employing any method to get PLA off, let the bed cool down to room temperature to make it easier to remove residue.
This is just the basic answer, so keep on reading to learn more about different methods of cleaning 3D printer bed PLA to finally solve this problem.
How to Clean PLA off a 3D Printer Bed
Here’s how to clean a 3D printer bed that has PLA residue:
- Apply water or isopropyl alcohol (IPA) then scrub
- Print a few layers over it
- Apply glue stick or adhesive before printing
1. Apply Water or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) then Scrub
The first method you can try to clean PLA residue from a 3D printer bed is simply to apply water or IPA to the bed, heat up the bed to around 60°C, then scrub or scrape it.
Some people say that even just spraying some IPA around the outer edges of the print and letting capillary action suck the IPA between the bed and PLA.
A good IPA you can buy from Amazon is the ForPro 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
Your 3D printer should have come with a metal spatula to help with print removal, so you can also use this to help remove the PLA residue from the bed. You can also use something like paper towels or a microfiber cloth to clean the bed up.
This method should work on all types of 3D printer surfaces like magnetic beds or glass beds. The combination of a liquid and heat helps to weaken the bond between the bed and PLA.
One user said he’s always been able to get PLA off his 3D printer bed by just using water and scrubbing with a paper towel. He mentioned that if he doesn’t wipe it down carefully afterwards, he might get some fibers left on the bed.
Some people also use sponges to clean up their bed. Another user said he scrubs the bed with a sponge after soaking it in warm soapy water, then drying it thoroughly.
Try to use an IPA concentration of 90% or higher since it has better cleaning properties and helps to break down the PLA.
Check out the video below for a nice visual of the process.
One user who checked out the video said he just finished a 50+ hour print and all of the supports were stuck to the bed. This video helped him solve the issue. Another user said it helped him with his Ender 3.
If the residue is really stubborn, you can try heating your bed even higher since it can help soften the PLA even more.
2. Print a Few Layers Over It
Another simple method you can try is to print a few layers of PLA on top of the affected area and peel those up. This can help to bond the residue with this the new layers, so the stuff will eventually come up altogether.
One user said that all you need to do is print one or two large squares of PLA on top, and this will make it easier for you to peel it off. It works well for him with his Ender 3 Pro.
Here’s a First Layer Test Square that you can use to 3D print over the PLA residue.
If you want to print the same model again, you could even do that to remove the PLA residue.
Another user confirmed that this works well, since he had a lot of PLA residue on his bed in the early days of 3D printing. It would be removed when he just continued printing other objects.
3. Apply Glue Stick or Adhesive Before Printing
The adhesion directly to the bed can be too strong, so using an adhesive separates that adhesion and makes it easier to remove PLA models and residue.
Many people have seen success in using this glue stick to improve bed adhesion and to make their beds easier to clean. It lasts a long time and doesn’t need to be reapplied each time, maybe after 6-10 3D prints.