Prevent Warping - You Can Do It
8 tips against warping in 3D printing
In particular, if you frequently print with materials like ABS and HIPS, over time you will get annoyed by what is known as “warping”. This is an unsightly misprint in which part of the model bulges or warps. In the worst case, the print is completely detached from the bed.
Especially with functional parts, the accuracy of which is of great importance, warping can quickly mess up the entire print. Mostly, models with a large contact surface on the print bed are affected. In this article, you will find out what causes warping and how you can avoid the “warp effect”.
Causes of Warping
Warping occurs due to uneven temperature distribution and the resulting tension in the substrate. Since ABS or HIPS filaments warp more at uneven temperatures than PLA, for example, and tend to shrink during cooling, the warp effect can be observed more frequently with these materials.
If an ABS print is cooled down at room temperature, it can shrink by almost 1.5%. The larger the print model, the more unevenly it cools, the layers shrink unevenly and parts of the print bulge.
So the reasons for warping mostly have to do with temperature:
- Unevenly heated print bed
- Too fast printing process
- Incorrect location of the 3D printer (for example at the window)
- Incorrect slicer settings
- Contaminated print bed
Avoid warping - you can do it with these simple measures
1. Use a heated bed
A heated print bed keeps the model evenly warm during the printing process by equalising the temperature in the print object. At the same time, it also ensures better bed adhesion. If possible, the bed temperature should be just below the filament softening point, because: The higher the temperature of the bed, the lower the temperature difference in the individual filament layers and the resulting warping. However, be careful not to set the heating bed temperature too high, otherwise you risk plastic deformation of the model and intensification of the warp effect.
In addition, always preheat your heating bed and do not print immediately without waiting for a suitable temperature so that the heat can stabilise to some extent. The print bed can even be insulated for optimal heat distribution; temperature-resistant insulation from the automotive sector is very suitable for this.
2. Print in an enclosed print chamber
A closed housing keeps the temperature inside the model constant during the entire printing process. When printing with a heated chamber, you should always make sure to keep the doors closed during the printing process so that the heat inside cannot escape. You can find a suitable 3D printer cover in our shop.
3. Choose the right location for your 3D printer
A 3D printer should ideally be set up in a place where there are no drafts. A window seat, in the hallway or next to a door is therefore less ideal, as drafts of air unintentionally cool the print. Basically, you should regulate the room temperature by keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible.
4. Turn off the material fan for the first few layers
To prevent the bottom layers from becoming detached from the build bed, you can turn off or slow down the fan while the first layers are printing. Keep in mind, however, that the melted filament still needs to solidify quickly enough to allow a precise build-up of the layers.
5. Improve bed adhesion with adhesives or a suitable bed surface
As already mentioned, the lack of adhesion of the print to the bed can also lead to warping. To avoid warping your prints, use a build plate with good adhesion or improve your adhesion with adhesives, glue, blue tape, or a print bed coating.
Since most FDM printers are equipped with a glass or aluminium surface and the surfaces are often too smooth for printing thermoplastics, it can be worthwhile to use a flexible plate as a print bed upgrade.
6. Adjust your slicer settings
Not only can the temperature and print bed adhesion affect the bulging of your 3D print, but the wrong slicer settings also have an impact on your print quality.
- Reduce your printing speed
Especially if you have frequent problems with warping, you should try to reduce your printing speed. At the same time, the nozzle temperature should also be reduced accordingly as the extra heat is not heated with this lower flow.
- Use rafts and brims
A raft can help with larger and a brim with smaller components to avoid warping by building up a base layer, the edges of your model are “held” and these warp less. The raft can easily be detached from the model after printing.
7. Thoroughly clean your print bed
If you often have problems with warping or your prints do not adhere to the bed, clean it thoroughly with the cleaning agents provided. Stubborn residues such as glue can be removed with chemical solvents.
If your build platform is uneven or damaged, you should definitely replace it.
8. Use good quality filament
Last but not least, it should be said that you should always use high-quality filaments for successful 3D printing - and always adhere to the material-dependent application instructions. Only a high-quality filament that has been used correctly can achieve a beautiful print result.