Cleaning a 3D printer surface seems like such a simple task but it can be a little tougher than it seems. I’ve had trouble cleaning glass surfaces myself and searched high and low for the best solutions to do it properly, which I’ll be sharing in this post.
How do you clean a glass 3D printer bed? The best way to clean a glass bed is to slightly heat it then apply a cleaning solution, whether it be warm soapy water, window cleaner or acetone to your printer bed, leave it to work for a minute then cleaning with a paper towel or scraping it with a tool. A second wipe down is a good measure to take.
A common occurrence with 3D printer beds is having filament residue left over after removing a print. The worst part about it is how thin and strongly stuck down this residue is, making it very difficult to remove.
You should remove it because it can affect the quality of future prints. Residue can mix up with new filament preventing adhesion in places, thus potentially ruining your next print.
So keep reading for some great solutions to cleaning your 3D printer bed whether it’s adhesive residue or material left over from a previous print.
If you are interested in seeing some of the best tools and accessories for your 3D printers, you can find them easily by clicking here (Amazon).
How to Clean Your Ender 3 Bed
The simplest method of cleaning your Ender 3 bed is to use a scraper of some sort to remove the residue from a previous print or from an adhesive that you have used.
This usually works by itself with enough force, but definitely be careful where you put your hands because you don’t want to accidentally push the scraper into your fingers!
A good practice is to use one hand on the scraper handle and the other hand pushing down in the middle of the scraper to apply more force downwards.
With enough force and technique most beds can be cleaned to a good standard. Most 3D printers come with a scraper so this is a convenient fix.
One of the better scrapers out there is the Reptor Print Removal Kit which comes with a premium knife and spatula set. These tools slide comfortably underneath prints so your bed surface is protected and works well with all sizes.
It has a smooth ergonomic grip and it made of hardened stainless steel to do the job every time.
You want to remember to avoid using massive amounts of pressure and force on your printer’s bed because over time it can lead to unnecessary damage and scratches on the surface.
If this manual scraper method isn’t enough, you want to figure out the best cleaning solution for what material or residue is left over.
A lot of 3D printer users have gone for the sponge and warm water with soap method and this works pretty well for them. I’ve tried it a few times and I can say it’s a good solution.
You don’t want your sponge to be dripping because there are many electrical parts which can be damaged like the heating unit or the power supply.
Get some of the soapy water mix and gently rub it on the residue with your sponge or a paper towel until it softens and is removed. It can take some effort to get it to work.
This problem usually arises when residue is left overtime and builds up, some printers can be worse than others. A good practice when removing residue is to heat your bed up so the material is in it’s softened form.
It will allow you to clean off the residue a lot easier than it being hardened and cold which is why warm water works so well.
So to summarize:
- Use a Scraper and some force to remove residue
- Apply a cleaning solution of warm soapy water, isopropyl alcohol, window cleaner or other
- Let it sit and work to breakdown the material
- Use the scraper again and it should work just fine
Getting Rid of Glue on a Glass Bed/Build Plate
Many 3D printer users use 3D Printer Original Adhesive and apply a thin layer of this to their print bed to help objects stick to the bed and reduce warping.
People simply apply some glue to the general area where their print will be layered down. After the print is finished, you’ll find that there is glue residue on the glass or printing surface which has to be cleaned before starting another print.
It’s a good idea to remove the glass plate for thorough cleaning and use a reputable glass cleaning solution or window cleaner to get through the residue.
Rather than just using water, these cleaning solutions actually break down and tackle the residue, allowing for easy and simple cleaning.
- The first step is making sure your hands are washed, clean and dry before getting started.
- Now you want to simply use a dry cloth or normal paper towels to wipe down the glass.
- Take one paper towel sheet and fold it twice into a thicker, smaller square.
- Apply your cleaning solution directly on the glass bed, a few sprays should be enough (2-3 sprays).
- Let the solution sit on the glass bed for a minute to let it work and slowly break down the residue.
- Now take your folded paper towel and wipe the surface of the glass thoroughly, with medium pressure so all the residue is removed from the surface.
- After the first wipe down, you can add a few more sprays and a second wipe down to properly clean the surface.
- Remember to wipe down all around the surface including the edges.
Once you’ve properly cleaned your surface, there should be a clean, shiny surface with no residue left over.
Use your hands to feel over the glass bed to make sure it’s clear.
Now you just want to make sure your 3D printer bed surface is clean and level before placing the glass bed back onto your printer.
Cleaning PLA off a Glass Bed
PLA has got to be the most popular material used in 3D printing, which I can definitely agree with myself. The methods I’ve described above should do a great job cleaning PLA off a glass bed. This won’t be much different to the information above.
If the piece stuck down on your glass bed is the same color as your next print, some people will just print over it and remove it with the next object in one go.
This can work if your first layer adhesion isn’t too negatively affected so the print can form a solid foundation and actually finish.
My usual solution for cleaning the glass bed on my printer is a glass scraper (basically just a razor blade with a handle on it):
Cleaning ABS off a Glass Bed
ABS can be cleaned quite well by using acetone because it does a good job breaking down and dissolving it. Once you’ve applied acetone to your bed, leave it for a minute then wipe the residue off with a paper towel or clean cloth. You shouldn’t need to heat up your bed or use much force here.
If you aren’t already using a glass printer bed check out the links below and the reviews as to why they are so good. They do the job you need it to do with ease, at a competitive price and gives a lovely finish on the bottom of your prints.
Borosilicate glass for the following printers (Amazon links):
- Creality CR-10, CR-10S, CRX, Ultimaker S3, Tevo Tornado – 310 x 310 x 3mm (thickness)
- Creality Ender 3/X,Ender 3 Pro, Ender 5, CR- 20, CR-20 Pro, Geeetech A10 – 235 x 235 x 4mm
- Monoprice Select Mini V1, V2 – 130 x 160 x 3mm
- Prusa i3 MK2, MK3, Anet A8 – 220 x 220 x 4mm
- Monoprice Mini Delta – 120mm round x 3mm
If you love great quality 3D prints, you’ll love the AMX3d Pro Grade 3D Printer Tool Kit from Amazon. It is a staple set of 3D printing tools that gives you everything you need to remove, clean & finish your 3D prints.
It gives you the ability to:
- Easily clean your 3D prints – 25-piece kit with 13 knife blades and 3 handles, long tweezers, needle nose pliers, and glue stick.
- Simply remove 3D prints – stop damaging your 3D prints by using one of the 3 specialized removal tools
- Perfectly finish your 3D prints – the 3-piece, 6-tool precision scraper/pick/knife blade combo can get into small crevices to get a great finish
- Become a 3D printing pro!