You’ve finished your 3D print and come back to a lovely looking model, but there’s one problem, it’s stuck down a little too well. Many people have faced this problem, including myself.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help remove 3D prints from your print bed, whether made of PLA, ABS, PETG or Nylon.
The easiest way to remove 3D prints stuck on your 3D print bed is to heat up the bed temperature to 70°C then use a good quality scraper to get under the print and lift it off. You can use liquid solutions to weaken the bond between the print bed and the plastic to help remove 3D prints.
There are some details that I will describe in the rest of this article to help you remove 3D prints from your bed, as well as help you prevent it happening in the future. Keep on reading to get clued-up on some useful info.
Easiest Ways to Remove Finished 3D Prints Stuck to Bed
The method in the video below works for several people, which is a simple combination of 50% water & 50% alcohol sprayed on the troublesome 3D print.
If it doesn’t work, rest assured, there are many other methods and techniques that will solve your issue, as well as preventative measures so it doesn’t happen again.
When 3D prints stick down to the bed too much, you run the risk of actually ruining your build platform.
I remember watching one video of Joel Telling (3D Printing Nerd) breaking the glass bed of a $38,000 3D printer because the PETG literally bonded with the glass and couldn’t be separated.
There are several ways to remove stuck 3D prints, but we will list down some for you which we find the easiest and most convenient.
Apply Some Force
The most tried method of removing 3D prints from the build surface is to just use a little force, whether that is slightly pulling, twisting, bending, or just grabbing the 3D print.
In most situations, if you have a respectable setup, this should work fine, but if you are reading this article, it might not have worked so well!
Firstly, before trying to remove the print, let the print bed cool down for a considerable amount of time then try removing it manually by applying some force.
You can also use some kind of rubber mallet to dislodge the 3D print, just enough to weaken the adhesion. After it has weakened, you should be able to apply that same force and remove your print from the print bed.
Use a Scraping Tool
Next up would be using some tools, such as the spatula that usually comes with your 3D printer.
A little bit of pressure set underneath your 3D print, with additional force in multiple directions is usually enough to remove a 3D print from your print bed.
I’d use my spatula, with my hand on the 3D model itself, then wiggle it side-to-side, diagonally, then up and down, until the adhesion weakens and the part pops off.
Disclaimer: With any sharp print removal tool, watch where you put your hands! If you slip, you want to make sure your hand is not in the direction of force.
Now, not all scraping tools and spatulas are created equal, so that stock one that comes with the 3D printer isn’t always the best.
Getting yourself a proper print removal kit from Amazon is a great idea if you are having issues removing prints. I’d recommend the Reptor Premium 3D Print Removal Tool Kit.
It comes with long knife with a beveled front edge, allowing for gentle sliding underneath prints, as well as a smaller offset spatula with a black ergonomic rubber grip and safe rounded edges.
They are made of stiff, hardened stainless steel blades which are flexible, but not flimsy. It can remove larger prints with ease and is very highly rated on Amazon at 4.8/5.0 stars at time of writing.
Reviews show amazing customer service and top functionality to remove prints smoothly without scraping your bed surface, the perfect tool for 3D printer users.
Use Dental Floss
Usually, a small force is sufficient to dislodge it however if that’s not possible, use a piece of dental floss.
Simply hold the dental floss between your hands and place it at the back of your print, close to the bottom, then slowly pull it towards you. Many people have had success using this method.
Heat your Print Bed
You can also reheat your print bed to about 70°C, at times heat can also make the print pop off. Using temperature changes to manipulate the print is a great method since we know these print materials react to heat.
Higher heat can soften the material enough to decrease adhesion to the print bed.
Freeze the Print Bed Along With Your Stuck Print
By spraying compressed air onto your stuck prints, you can make them easily pop off due to temperature changes also.
Placing your print and bed in the freezer also causes the plastic to contract a bit resulting in the print bed loosening its grip on the print.
This isn’t a common method because once you do the proper preparation, prints should come off fairly easily in the future.
Dissolve the Adhesive Using Alcohol
Another way of removing stuck prints from the base is to dissolve adhesive with the help of isopropyl alcohol. Put the solution near the print’s base and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
Using a putty knife you can then easily pop the stuck print off the edges.
You can also use hot water to melt the adhesive as an alternative, but make sure it’s not boiling so it doesn’t bring the print material to its glass transition temperature, which could deform the print.
How Do You Remove a Stuck PLA Print?
To allow the easy removal of a stuck PLA print, it’s best to heat the heat bed around 70°C which results in PLA getting soft. As the adhesive will be weakened, you can remove your prints off the glass bed.
Since PLA has a low level of heat resistance, heat is going to be one of the better methods to remove a stuck PLA print.
You may also use a high quality spatula or a putty knife to help twist the print from the sides and allow it to detach completely.
Dissolving adhesive using alcohol won’t work for PLA. PLA has a lower glass temperature, and hence it is best to heat it up and remove prints.
This method has been popular among users because of its effectiveness and speed.
Check out my article on How to 3D Print PLA Successfully.
How to Remove ABS Prints on a 3D Print Bed?
Many people have trouble removing ABS prints due to reasons such as a glass print bed expanding and shrinking which creates tension on the interface layer.
If your ABS print is really stuck down to the print bed, an ideal way to detach ABS prints is by refrigerating or freezing them.
Place your print bed along with the prints in the freezer for some time. The freezing air will cause plastic to contract and this result will loosen the grip on your stuck print.
The glass surface expands and shrinks according to the ABS under specific temperature.
Allowing the glass bed to cool will shrink it, and create tension on interface layer that can then be exploited using a thin scraper.
Moreover, putting the bed along with the print into the refrigerator increases the tension to a certain point at which the bonding eventually breaks.
This results in the print popping free in several areas and even sometimes completely- easing the removal.
When your ABS print finishes, another good idea is to turn on the fan to cool it down quickly. This has the effect of quick contraction, resulting in prints popping off.
A good preventative measure to stop ABS prints sticking to the print bed is to use an ABS & acetone slurry mix on the print bed beforehand, along with some cheap tape. If the print is a smaller one, you probably won’t need the tape.
Simple glue stick is still widely used today because it works so well also. It’s easily cleaned and helps most prints stick to the bed, as well as with removal afterwards.
Check out my article on How to 3D Print ABS Successfully.
How to Remove PETG Print From Print Bed?
PETG prints stick too much to the print bed at times or the build surface, preventing easy removal and even at times come off in bits when removed.
You should opt in to using glue stick or hairspray to help remove PETG prints from the print bed. Another tip is to avoid printing directly on build surfaces like BuildTak, PEI, or even glass.
You would much rather 3D prints come off along with the adhesive, rather than with pieces of the build surface.
Here is the video of the glass print bed which got ripped off along with a finished 3D print!
Check out my article on How to 3D Print PETG Successfully.
How to Prevent 3D Prints Sticking to Print Bed Too Much
Rather than have to deal with the problem of a print stuck down too much to your print bed, you should take a preventative approach to tackle this problem.
Using the right build platform is one of the most essential tools you can implement to make 3D prints easy to remove from the print bed.
Flexible, magnetic build plates can easily be removed from the 3D printer, then ‘flexed’ to pop off 3D prints.
Several users who have the flexible build surfaces love just how easy it makes remove 3D prints. A great flexible build surface you can get from Amazon is the Creality Ultra Flexible Magnetic Build Surface.
If you have a glass build plate rather than the flexible one, many people will use materials such as blue painter’s tape, Kapton tape, or apply glue stick to the print bed (also prevents warping).
Borosilicate glass is a build surface designed to not shatter easily, as opposed to tempered glass, which is similar to car windshield glass.
You can get a good borosilicate glass bed on Amazon for a good price. The Dcreate Borosilicate Glass Print Platform is highly rated and gets the job done for several 3D printer users.
How to Remove 3D Print From Ender 3 Bed
When looking at removing 3D prints from an Ender 3 bed, there isn’t really much difference compared to the information above. You want to follow the process of having a good bed, good adhesive substance, high quality scraping tool, and good quality filament.
When a 3D print has finished on your Ender 3, you should be able to either pop it off with the flex build plate, or scrape it off with a print removal tool like a spatula or even a thin blade.
Larger prints can be harder to remove from the print bed, so you can also incorporate the water and alcohol spray mixture to try and weaken the bond between your print and the print bed.
If your 3D print is stuck down a little too hard, either heat up the bed and try remove it again, or put the build plate along with the print in the freezer to make use of temperature change to weaken the adhesion.
How to Remove a Resin 3D Print From Build Plate
You should use a thin, sharp razor or blade to insert underneath your resin 3D print, then insert a palette knife or spatula underneath this and wiggle it around. This method is one of the most common ways to remove a resin 3D print because it is so effective.
The video below shows this method working.
Other things you can try is when printing with rafts, to give it quite a high rim with a small angle, so a print removal tool can slide underneath and use a lever motion to remove the resin print.
Adding angles to the base of miniature prints makes removing them a lot easier.
Again, make sure your hand is not in the direction of the print removal tool so there aren’t any injuries to yourself.
A rotating motion under a resin 3D print on your build surface is usually enough to remove the print.
Some people have found luck after adjusting their base height, finding a sweet spot to where you get good adhesion, while not being a struggle to remove the print.
A good process that people follow is to clean the aluminum build surface with IPA (isopropyl alcohol) then use 220-grit sandpaper to sand the aluminum in small circles.
Wipe off the sticky gray film that comes off with a paper towel and continue this process until the gray film stop appearing. Clean the surface one more time with IPA, let it dry, then sand the surface until you only see dust coming off.
After this, do one final cleaning with IPA and your printing surface should give you amazing adhesion, while being able to remove the prints with ease after printing.
How Do You Clean a Magnetic Build Plate?
It’s best to clean your magnetic build plate with the help of 91% isopropyl alcohol. This will not only act as an effective disinfectant but also a good cleaner. Wipe the surface clean and dry preferably using a lint-free piece of cloth.
If you don’t prefer using alcohol, you can also clean the build plate using dishwashing soap/liquid and hot water.
For ease, you can make up this cleaning solution in some spray bottle. You can then spray it as per requirement and wipe the surface dry using a lint-free piece of cloth.
How Long Should I Let 3D Prints Cool Between Prints?
For some reason people think they should wait a certain amount of time to let their prints cool between prints, but realistically you don’t have to wait at all.
As soon as I notice my 3D print has finished, I work towards removing that print, doing a quick clean of the bed, and getting on with the next 3D print.
Prints are usually easier to remove when you catch the finishing moments of the print, but using the techniques in this article, you should easily be able to remove prints after they have cool down.
It may be a little harder when it cools down on a glass bed, depending on whether you used some substances on the print platform beforehand.
In other cases, prints can be removed easier when they have cooled down, so it really depends on your build platform, printing materials and adhesive substance. After you get into a routine, you can dial in your process to make life easier.
The contraction of the plastic after cooling down might be enough to pop off the print from the print bed without having you to move it.
The aforementioned hacks are quite promising when it comes to removing your stuck prints from the print bed. The tips are totally flexible and you can easily decide which one best matches your printing needs and requirements.