It is very important that you carry out regular cleaning and maintenance on your 3D printer to ensure that it continues to work smoothly and that it is safe to use.
Most manufacturers will include information on how to clean the 3D printer with the instruction manual, so this is usually a good place to start.
However, if you want a more detailed guide of how to clean the bed of your 3D printer then you have come to the right place. Keep reading to find out more.
Step 1 – Use A Flat Blade Scraper To Remove Any Thermoplastic Filaments
Thermoplastic filaments tend to accumulate in the bed of the 3D printer. A flat blade scraper is a simple handheld tool that you can use to remove these filaments.
First you will need to wait for the printer bed to cool, then you can use the scraper to remove the filament residue.
Scrape horizontally but without pushing the sharp edge of the flat blade directly onto the print bed as this could cause damage. Use both hands to maintain a firm but controlled pressure.
If the residue is too hard and won’t come off then you can try using a cleaning agent to loosen it.
Step 2 – Use Low-Grit Sandpaper To Remove Residue
Sandpaper is another effective tool that you can use to remove unwanted residue from the print bed. Make sure you use a fine sandpaper, as the coarse sandpaper will be too abrasive and could cause damage.
Wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands and make sure you wait until the print bed is cool enough to touch. Use an even amount of pressure, but not so much force that you scratch the printer bed and cause permanent damage.
Step 3 – Use A Microfiber Cloth To Clean Of The Debris
This step is more gentle than the previous two as it targets smaller particles of dust, dirt and grime without causing any damage to the print bed.
Microfibre material is soft but very absorbent and the texture helps the cloth to pick up dirt.
Make sure you wait for the print bed to cool before you begin. Please note that microfibre does not give off lint, but if you cut the cloth into a smaller size then it will.
It is better to fold the cloth to the desired size rather than cut it.
Step 4 – Use Hot Water To Soften The Residue
If you have a detachable or removable print bed on your 3D printer then you can use hot water to soften the residue left by the thermoplastic filaments which makes them much easier to clean.
Once you have washed the print bed with hot water you can use a scraper, sandpaper or a lint-free cloth to clean the residue.
You can even use hot soapy water to remove glue residue.
If your print bed is not removable then this method is not recommended, as water could come into contact with other parts of the 3D printer and risk causing damage to the electrical or mechanical parts.
You can use a cloth soaked in hot water or hot soapy water to scrub at the residue rather than using large amounts of water to soak the residue, but you should still be very careful.
Microfibre cloths are ideal for drying the print bed afterwards as they are very absorbent and don’t leave any lint behind.
An alternative to using soap in the above method is to use a non-abrasive detergent instead. Make sure you check that the detergent you use is not going to leave stains on the print bed, and does not contain oils.
Most kitchen or dishwasher detergents work well – you do not need to buy an expensive product,
Step 5 – Use Glass Cleaner To Remove Grime From The Printer Bed
Glass or window cleaner is a great product to use to get a really clean finish for your printer bed once you have removed the thermoplastic filaments and residue.
Make sure the print bed is at room temperature before you start.
Follow the instructions on the label of the glass cleaner- they will usually advise to sprinkle the product on the desired surface and leave it to work for a certain amount of time.
After that time has passed- usually a few minutes, you can use a lint free cloth or a hand scraper to remove the glass cleaner and the dirt along with it.
You can repeat this process as many times you like until you have a clean surface. If your printer bed is not detachable or removable then make sure you are careful when sprinkling the product to make sure it does not come into contact with electrical or mechanical parts.
Step 6 – Use Isopropyl For More Heavy-Duty Cleaning Of The Print Bed
Isopropyl is a type of alcohol that is very effective when it comes to heavy duty cleaning. This makes it a popular choice for cleaning 3D printer beds. In a concentrated dose, it will clean oil much quicker than water and soap.
You can use 70% to 99.99% isopropyl alcohol to clean your printer, but you must adhere to the safety instructions.
This includes wearing protective gloves and eyewear, and ensuring there is adequate ventilation in the room so the fumes don’t build up. Make sure the 3D printer is at room temperature before you begin.
Apply a generous amount of isopropyl to a microfibre cloth and rub it over the entire surface of the printer bed, rubbing more vigorously over the particularly soiled areas. You can repeat this process as many times as is necessary to achieve the desired results.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you check the labels of any products you use to ensure that you are using them safely- for example, acetone is toxic so you will need to wear protective goggles, gloves, and a mask and ensure there is proper ventilation in the room.
These products are best used with a lint free cloth like a microfibre cloth.