There have been many times when I’ve been 3D printing and my resin prints start sticking to the FEP or resin tank rather than the build plate. It can be frustrating, especially since you have to do the whole wash and cure process.
This led me to do some research and testing to figure out how to fix resin prints sticking to your FEP film, and make sure it sticks to the build plate.
To stop your resin 3D prints sticking to the FEP, you should make sure you have enough bottom layers and bottom layer curing time, so it has enough time to harden. Use PTFE spray on your FEP film, let it dry, and this should create a lubricant to stop the resin from sticking to the resin tank.
This article should help you overcome this issue, and provide even more tips to assist you in your resin printing journey, keep reading for more in-depth details on how to fix this problem.
Why Did My Resin Print Fail & Not Stick to the Build Plate?
Issues with your build plate and the first layer are the most common reasons behind the failure of an SLA/resin print. If the first layer has bad adhesion to your build plate, or the build plate isn’t flat, the chances of a printing failure is increased, especially with larger prints.
Bad supports is another key reason that your resin print may fail on you. This usually comes down to the rafts, or the flat surfaces below the supports not being printed properly due to bad settings or design.
Check out my articled called 13 Ways How to Fix Resin 3D Print Supports that Fail (Separation) for more details.
Since the supports are the foundation of each resin print, it needs to be strong enough to hold up through the whole printing process, or you’ll be likely to get a printing failure.
One of the major issues behind resin/SLA print failures is the distance between the build plate and the actual screen. A large distance means that the print has a hard time sticking to the build plate properly, ending up with a failed resin print.
The first layer is the most important part in any 3D print.
If the first layers are too thin, not cured enough, or you have printed the model at a fast speed, then the first layer may not get enough time to stick to the build plate properly.
It may even cause an issue while peeling off the 3D print from the FEP film.
Check out my article about 3 Best FEP Film for Anycubic Photon, Mono (X), Elegoo Mars & More for a few of the best FEP films out there.
No doubt 3D printing is an amazing activity and resin 3D printing has added charm to this.
Before you start your journey of 3D printing, it is extremely important to make sure that your 3D printer and its settings are calibrated according to the requirements of your model. This way, you can get the best results and can prevent the print from failure.
You should always take the time to try and get to know your 3D printer before setting off on your full journey of creating 3D prints.
How to Remove a Failed Print From Your FEP Film
To remove a failed print from my FEP film, I’ll go through a few steps to make sure things are done properly.
The first thing I make sure of is that my build plate doesn’t have uncured resin dropping off down into the resin vat.
You should unscrew your build plate and turn it at a downwards angle so that all the uncured resin drops off the build plate and back into the resin vat.
Once you have most of it off, you can give it a quick wipe with a paper towel, so you know it won’t drip on the LCD screen.
Now it’s time to remove your resin vat by unscrewing the thumb screws that hold it into place. It’s a good idea to filter the uncured resin back into the bottle first before removing the print.
You can do it without, but since we are dealing with resin which is liquid, the risk of it spilling increases as we are handling it.
Once most of the resin is filtered back into the bottle, you want to use your fingers through your gloves, to lightly push the bottom of the FEP where your print is.
Pressing around the edges of where the print is sticking down is the best practice. You should start to see the print slowly detaching from the FEP film, meaning you should be able to now get it off with your fingers or your plastic scraper
You definitely don’t want to be digging into your FEP film trying to get underneath the stuck print because it can scratch or even dent your film.
Now that the failed print has been removed from the FEP, you should check if there is any residue of cured prints in the vat because these can disrupt future prints if left in there.
If you decide to clean out the resin vat fully, some people advise not to use isopropyl alcohol or acetone since they can have negative effects on the resin vat, FEP film, and the 3D printer as well. Usually just gently wiping the FEP film with paper towels is enough.
I wrote an article about How to Properly Clean Resin Vat & FEP Film on Your 3D Printer.
How to Fix Resin Print Sticking to FEP & Not Build Plate
Make sure that all the 3D printer’s components are perfectly skewed and balanced. Set the best suitable settings for the printing process according to the resin type and model, and you will be able to fix this problem. Below are some of the best suggestions that can help you out in this regard.
I wrote a more detailed article called 8 Ways How to Fix Resin 3D Prints That Fails Halfway.
As previously mentioned, we want to try and prevent this happening in the future, and it can be done with the help of PTFE lubricant spray.
I’d recommend spray this outside since it is quite smelly stuff. You don’t have to go overboard with how much you are spraying. Learning how to lubricate your FEP is fairly simple.
Just a few sprays to cover the FEP film, so it can dry and work as a lubricant to stop resin sticking there.
A good PTFE spray you can get to prevent resin prints sticking to the FEP film is the CRC Dry PTFE Lubricating Spray from Amazon.
Once it dries up, you can take a paper towel and give it a final light wipe to get any excess that might be left over.
Now let’s look into some other tips that work for fixing your resin prints sticking to the resin vat.
- Use a good number of bottom layers, 4-8 should work pretty well for most situations
- Make sure your bottom layer curing time is high enough to harden the resin to the build plate
- Ensure that the build plate is level and is actually flat – some build plates have come bent from manufacturers
Matter Hackers created a great video showing you how to check that your build plate is actually flat through sanding.
- Properly tighten the build plate and bed screws, so they aren’t wobbling or moving around
- Take notice of the temperature of the room and the resin because cold resin can lead to printing issues – you can heat your resin beforehand using a heater of some kind (some even put it on their radiator)
- Shake your resin or mix the resin within the resin vat with a plastic spatula gently
- Make sure your FEP sheet has a good amount of tension and isn’t too loose or tight. Do this by adjusting the tightness of the screws around the resin vat.
Once you go through these troubleshooting solutions, you should have a resin 3D printer that creates prints that actually stick to the build plate.
In terms of priority you want to follow through with:
- Leveling the bed
- Increasing number of bottom layers, along with bottom curing times
- Making sure the FEP sheet has the ideal tension and has some slack so that the cured resin can peel off the FEP sheet and onto the build plate.
- Warming up your resin and printing in a warmer environment – space heaters can work well for this. Shaking up resin for around 20-30 seconds can help mix and even heat up the resin.
TrueEliteGeek on YouTube has a really detailed video on installing your FEP sheet properly and with the right amount of tension.
When you do use a small object like a bottle cap to create the slight angle in your FEP film, try to cover it with something soft like a cloth, so it doesn’t scratch the film.
How to Fix Resin 3D Print Stuck to Build Plate – Mars, Photon
If you have been in a situation where your resin 3D prints stick to the build plate too well, whether that’s your Elegoo Mars, Anycubic Photon, or other printer, you are not alone.
Luckily, there are some pretty creative and useful ways to easily remove your 3D prints from the build plate.
The basic and effective method that most people use is by using a thin razor tool to get between the build plate and the printed part, then gently lift it up in directions. Once you do this, your print should come off pretty nicely.
The video below shows an illustration of how it works.
There are some good razor tools to use, but if you haven’t got one already I’d recommend the Titan 2-Piece Multi-Purpose & Mini Razor Scraper Set from Amazon. It is a great addition that you can use to help remove those resin 3D prints stuck to the build plate.
The razor is thin and strong enough to get a good holding underneath any print on the build plate, allowing you to loosen the adhesion and finally remove the print with ease.
It comes with two holders which are specially made with ergonomic, tough polypropylene handles that increase grip and control of the razors.
On top of this, it has plenty of other uses such as cleaning gunk of a stove top, scraping off sealant or caulk from your bathroom, removing window paint and wallpaper from a room and much more.
Another method that one user said worked really well is to use a can of air. When you turn a can of air upside down, it releases a really cold liquid spray that works well to break the bond of your resin 3D print to the build plate.
What it does it actually shrink the plastic, and it then expands after being put into your cleaning solution
You can get a can of Falcon Dust Off Compressed Gas from Amazon to get the job done.
Some people have also had great results just by putting the build plate in the freezer, but you’d want to first wipe off the excess resin on the build plate.
For resin 3D prints that are really stubborn that don’t come off with the tricks above, you can resort to using a rubber mallet to knock the print if it is quite sturdy. Some people have even had success with a hammer and chisel to really get into the print.
To prevent your models sticking too well to the build plate, you’ll want to reduce your bottom exposure times so it doesn’t harden so much and stick down strongly to the surface.
If your resin prints are sticking down strongly, using a bottom exposure time of around 50-70% of your current setting should work to make it easier to remove from the build plate.
Uncle Jessy did a great video on exactly this and showed how much easier it was to remove a resin print from the Elegoo Jupiter by reducing the bottom exposure or initial exposure time from 40 seconds to 30 seconds.
I wrote an article called How to Get the Perfect 3D Printer Resin Settings – Quality which goes through much more detail.