Introduction: Prevent 3D Prints From Warping - No Mess!

Picture of Prevent 3D Prints From Warping - No Mess!

Ever since I started experimenting with my UP! 3D Printer, I have had issues with part warping. The warping is especially bad when the parts are made with solid fill and take up a lot of room on the build platform. I was getting pretty good results using Kapton tape alone, but when a new and difficult part came around it wasn't cutting it anymore.

I found TechShopJim's great instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/100-Warp-Free-Make... about how to make an ABS slurry to help parts stick to the platform. This worked pretty well for me, but I had trouble with applying a thin layer and with storage of the slurry. This instructable details a similar technique that gives me a little better results with less effort, and an additional step to really help warp proof your printer.

Here is what you need to get started:
-Kapton tape (this method might also work with masking tape, but I haven't tried)
-Acetone
-Small squeeze bottle (http://www.mcmaster.com/#1902t14/=pmfznz)
-Scrap ABS part
-Optional: cardboard and tape for draft shield

Step 1: Fill Squeeze Bottle With Acetone

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Fill the squeeze bottle with dispensing tip with acetone. This will make it easier to apply only what is needed and prevent making a mess.  In a pinch, you could probably get away without using the squeeze bottle and just very carefully pouring, but acetone always seems to pour out a little faster than I want.

Step 2: Squirt a Small Puddle of Acetone on the Build Platform

Picture of Squirt a Small Puddle of Acetone on the Build Platform

Use the bottle to squirt a small puddle of acetone on the build platform. About a teaspoon of liquid should be enough. Make sure that the platform hasn't started pre-heating, or the acetone will evaporate right away.

Step 3: Rub Scrap ABS on Platform

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Take the scrap ABS part and use it to spread the acetone around the platform. It is a little easier to do this if the part has a flat side.

While you are spreading the acetone, a small amount of the scrap part will be dissolving.  This is what we are going for:  to dissolve a small amount of the ABS part and deposit that as a thin layer on the build platform.  You only need to spread this around in the area where you will be building your part.

Step 4: Preheat the Build Platform

Picture of Preheat the Build Platform

Now that there is a thin layer of ABS on the platform for our part to stick to, we need to preheat the platform before building. Preheating the platform will help insure that the first layer sticks well. I think that a large part of the reason that this helps is that the hot platform prevents the first layer of plastic from shrinking. If the first layer shrinks, then it will stop sticking to the platform and lift up.

Whatever the exact reason, preheating the platform really helps. I usually leave it on for about 10 minutes before I print.

Step 5: Print Part and Remove It From the Platform

Picture of Print Part and Remove It From the Platform

Using this method, I find it best to print without a raft. The parts stick well without it and it saves time.

Another option that helps reduce warp is interior part fill. The looser this is, the less risk of warping.

Finally, after the part has printed, it is time to remove from the platform. The parts usually stick so well after the acetone + ABS combo on the platform that this can be a challenge. I have good results with working an exacto knife blade under one corner of the part until it pops off. Another trick that helps is to let the platform fully cool down before part removal (but I usually don't have the patience!)

Step 6: BONUS ROUND: Make an Enclosure for Your Printer

Picture of BONUS ROUND: Make an Enclosure for Your Printer

At work, I also have access to a Stratasys FDM machine. The parts produced by this machine almost never warp, and I think a large part of this success comes from the heated build area (I believe a patented feature). Instead of heating just the platform, the Stratasys printer heats the entire enclosure to 100 C. I think this reduces the temperature differential in the part from the material being deposited by the head and the material that has already been laid down by the printer.

I tried to approximate this heated build area by building a cardboard enclosure around my UP! printer. The temperature inside gets quite a bit hotter than the surrounding air, and it seems to help.

Comments

mamad3pitch (author)2015-08-25

That was a briliant idea!!

I can't believe how it can be easy for me to print ABS since now!

Thank you!

mamad3pitch (author)2015-08-25

That's great!

Thanks buddy, your instruction realy helped me!

jdude6098 (author)2015-06-14

will this work for PLA prints as well?

Tincture (author)jdude60982015-07-14

In my experience PLA doesn't warp nearly as much as ABS. If it isn't adhering to your bed properly I would recommend covering your bed in blue painters tape. The tape gives a good rough surface for adhesion and is easy to remove and replace. Using that with my heated bed I have had few issues with PLA but it isn't enough for ABS, I think I will try hairspray next as others are recommending.

transistor2 (author)2013-12-27

I had the same problem with warping, and I found that hairspray is super easy and it works amazingly all you do is spray it on the build platform before you print. it can go on any platform tape or not, also I found that ideal temp is 220°c for extruder and 120°c for platform.

Whackmaster (author)2013-12-03

I have given up on slurries for bed adhesion, and now exclusively use Aqua Net hairspray. Ludicrously easy to apply, insanely easy to scrape or rinse off. I keep my slurries for filling in parts.

I've heard of this but haven't tried it, definitely sounds easy. Do you spray it on when the bed is preheated or cooled? And do you spray directly to the plate or do you tape over it first with Kapton?

1tri2god (author)2013-12-02

the other way to nearly guarantee preventing warping is to have your entire build enclosed in a uniformly temperature controlled environment...put your up printer in a clear (so you can see it working) box. Warping is a function of non-uniform cooling/shrinkage of the melted plastic back into a hard material.

loisaidagoods (author)1tri2god2013-12-03

I agree, I think controlling the temperature of the entire build is key for the reason you provided. One thing I have heard is that some 3D printers, especially ones made of acrylic, can have issues if parts of them get too hot. If I wasn't worried about this I would have added a heater to my cardboard enclosure.

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