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Ways to Fight Warping

    What is warping?

    Sometimes you may see edges or corners of your print peeling away from the build plate. We call this warping or curling, and it happens because plastic expands when it’s heated and shrinks when it cools. As the hotter layers of your print closer to the extruder cool, they create a strain on the lower layers, pulling them inwards and causing them to curl away from the build plate.

    Warping can be a big problem, especially on larger prints. Fortunately, there are a number of adjustments you can make to fight warping.

    What you can do

    1. Replace damaged build plate tape.

    Wrinkles, rips or visible wear on the build plate tape will decrease your print’s adhesion to the build plate, making it easier for the plastic to peel up.

    2. Clean the build surface.

    Dust and oil from your hands can make it harder for plastic to adhere to the build surface. To clean the build surface, wipe it down with acetone or isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

    3. Make sure the build plate is level.

    Inconsistent plate height leads to inconsistent adhesion. If any one part of your object does not adhere well to the build plate, the whole object could peel off the plate. If your entire build plate seems to be too far from the extruder during printing, try adjusting the Z-axis offset (click here for the MakerBot Replicator and here for the MakerBot Replicator Z18).

    4. Try helper disks.

    Helper disks are thin, flat disks you can add to your print in MakerBot Print. They pin down problem areas, like corners, by creating more surface to adhere to the build plate, and they’re easy to remove when the print is completed. For more on helper disks, click here.

    5. Use a raft.

    If you aren’t already printing with a raft, give it a try. Your print will often stick better to the raft’s printed plastic surface than to your regular build surface.

    6. Print in a warmer environment.

    The colder your printing environment, the bigger the difference in temperature between the plastic coming out of the extruder and the parts of your print that have already cooled. Uneven heating can also cause problems, so don’t put your printer next to a fan or an open window.

    7. Print slower.

    Slower extruder speeds will help your print adhere to the build plate and give it time to cool more evenly. You can change your extrusion speeds in the Add a Custom Setting section of MakerBot Print.


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