How To Succeed with LayerLock Garolite Build Surfaces
Successfully achieve strong bed adhesion for NylonX, NylonG, and standard filaments using LayerLock Garolite Build Surfaces.
One of 3D printer users’ greatest challenges is warping. Whether it’s due to poor bed adhesion, moisture-filled filament, unstable environment temperature, or some combination of all three, every user has had their parts lift during the printing process. Nylon and nylon-based filament, for example, are materials notoriously known for their susceptibility to warping during printing due to nylon having lack of rigidity, relatively high shrink rate, and high hygroscopicity (absorbing water from the air).
We have a solution for that. Introducing our LayerLock Garolite Build Surfaces—your one stop solution to achieving strong bed adhesion for advanced-material printing. You'll achieve better bed adhesion that is designed for nylon and nylon-based filaments such as NylonX and NylonG, as well as standard filaments such as PLA, PETG, TPU, and more!
Installation for Various Printers/Methods
Installation of LayerLock Garolite Build Surfaces are fairly easy, but also critical for successful 3D printing. Check out the steps below on how to properly install this garolite sheet onto your printer.
Don’t own one of our garolite build surfaces? Check out the sizes we have in stock for various 3D printers here.
Prepare Build Surface for Successful Printing
Step 1 - Confirm Garolite Placement on Build Plate
- Before attempting to attach the garolite sheet onto the bed, we recommend you place the garolite on whatever build plate you will be attaching it.
- This is so you can confirm how you will place the garolite onto the bed, if you are satisfied with how it will look, and that it is compatible with your printer.
Step 2 - Prep Build Plate
- Once you confirm compatibility, placement and satisfaction, grab a paper towel and dab some isopropyl alcohol (ideally with an IPA of 90%+) on it.
- Use that paper towel to wipe down the surface of the build plate you will be attaching your garolite sheet to.
- LayerLock Garolite Build Surfaces can be attached to flexplates, glass beds, print beds, and any other solid surface your normally print on. Before attaching these garolite build surfaces on your build plate, make sure it is on a surface you don’t intend to remove from later on. While these sheets aren’t permanently stuck to a build plate and are not difficult to remove, the sheet can not be reattached once removed.
Step 3 - Remove Tan Adhesive Liner
- Now that your build plate is clean of debris, remove the tan adhesive liner on the back of the garolite sheet half way.
- Note: The adhesive is super sticky so please take extra time and care in the next step when placing the garolite sheet onto your build plate.
Step 4 - Attach Garolite
- Starting from one edge, carefully apply the sheet to the bare build plate by using one hand to smooth down the Garolite sheet firmly onto the build plate.
Slowly continue smoothing the garolite down onto the print bed with your hand or a squeegee as you make your way to the half-point. Make sure to smooth down the entire surface to prevent any air bubbles between the build plate and garolite sheet.
- Note: You can start with any edge on your build plate that you feel is easiest for you to apply the garolite on. We tend to start with the left edge on our Pulse 3D printers as we find that the easiest and most practical method.
- Note: Thin garolite sheets have some flexibility. Be careful to not over flex garolite sheets as this can cause the garolite sheet to possibly crack.
- Once at the half-point, slowly remove the rest of the tan adhesive liner while also smoothing down the rest of the garolite onto the build plate until it is completely attached.
Step 5 - Heat Print Bed and Nozzle
- Heat your print bed and nozzle to the temperature you plan on printing with.
- Note: Whenever you print at a different bed and/or nozzle temperature, we recommend releveling your bed and nozzle height because optimal heights may vary with different temperatures.
Step 6 - Calibrate Nozzle Height and Bed Leveling
- Set the Z-height of your nozzle to about .25mm (typically the size of a business card) to start.
- To set your printer’s Z-height, please refer to your specific printer's instruction manual.
- Re-level your print bed according to your specific printer’s instructions.
Step 7 - Prep Build Surface
- To make sure you’re getting maximum bed adhesion strength, wipe down the surface of your build plate with isopropyl alcohol that has an IPA of at least 90%+ using a paper towel.
- We recommend you do this before and after a print not only for maximum adhesion, but also as proper maintenance to extend your print bed’s longevity.
Step 8 - Load Your Model
- Choose any model you want for your test print. We recommend something that’s small and quick such as a thin rectangle so you can adjust your first layer properly.
Step 9 - Print and Adjust (Babystepping)
- Start your print and pay attention to the skirt outside of the print.
- Note how the filament is adhering to the bed and compare it to the graphic below.
Once you’ve determined which of the 3 examples above matches how your printer is currently extruding filament, refer to the following:
- Too High. If your filament looks like a string rather than a slightly smushed line on your build surface, then your nozzle is too far. Slowly move the Z-height down in micro steps until you achieve the “Ideal “ example.
- Ideal. If your filament looks like a slightly smushed line on your build surface, then you have achieved optimal Z-height. The width of the line should look about the size of 1mm. No adjustment should be necessary.
- Too Low. If your filament looks extremely flat and is extruding filament in pieces, then you are printing way too low. Raise your Z-height until it matches the “Ideal” example.
- Note: Avoid printing too low as this can cause many problems such as pressure build up in the nozzle, filament grinding, heat creep, or other extrusion related issues. This can also cause the print to infuse with the bed surface making it extremely difficult (sometimes even impossible) to remove a print. If you are able to remove a print from the build surface after printing too low, it may cause damage to the surface. This is why we recommend starting higher than you normally would as it is safer to start too high than too low.
Step 10 - Repeat Until Satisfied (Optional)
- If you are unable to achieve the ideal nozzle height the first time around. Don’t sweat it! It can take a few tries to accurately achieve an optimal nozzle height.
- Repeat Steps 4 and 6 until you see your nozzle extruding at an ideal height.
That’s it for installation! Your new build surface is attached, everything is properly calibrated and you’re now ready to start successfully printing.
Final Maintenance Tips
- Remember to always re-calibrate your z-height and re-level your bed whenever you make large changes to your print settings such as print speed, bed and nozzle temperature, etc. A general good rule of thumb: if you switch between printing different types of filament, you should re-calibrate your nozzle height and re-level your bed.
- We also recommend recalibrating your nozzle if you ever move your printer, make physical adjustments to the nozzle/hotend, or there is a firmware upgrade.
- As with other build surfaces, be careful when using sharp objects to remove prints from the build surface to avoid knicks, scratches, and grooves in the surface.
- If you do have light scratches on your garolite build surface, use 220 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the entire top surface of the garolite bed for an even surface.
- Remember to wear a mask while sanding to avoid inhaling any particles.
- Using 220 grit sandpaper on this build surface renews its strong bed adhesion qualities so we recommend sanding the surface if warping occurs.
- Some filaments such as PLA and PETG may need PVA glue.
- Clean the surface before and after a print using 90%+ IPA isopropyl alcohol, especially if you've used PVA glue.
- If you used PVA glue, add some water to a paper towel and wipe the glue off. Then go back in with isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel for a final clean wipe.
As always, we've got your back.
With this knowledge under your belt, we don't expect you to run into any problems; but if you do, please do not hesitate to contact a MatterHackers Technician at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (949) 613-5838. We're here to help!