You’ve spent weeks designing it, and it feels like as long printing it – but now the printer has finally stopped moving, the part is nice and cool, and – horror of horrors – you just can’t get it free from the print bed!
You’re so close to making use out of your new 3D printed part, or looking forward to painting and playing with your new model – and you can’t get the thing off the printer bed! No matter what you’re printing, it’s far from ideal.
Everybody who uses 3D printers knows this story – it happens to everyone at some point! And everyone [probably has their own tips and tricks for getting a stuck print free.
We’ve collected the best ones in this article – showing you the easiest and safest ways to remove a stuck 3D print! Read on to find out how you can safely remove these annoying stuck parts – without damaging either your print, or your printer!
Push, Pull, Tap, & Twist
If your print is a little bit stuck, the first thing to check might be – are you sure you’re tried to use enough force to move it, and used the force in the right direction? Simply put, give your print a little bit of a wiggle!
Don’t try to move it with too much force – as that’s a surefire way to cause damage – but do try pushing and pulling in a few different directions to see if you can safely dislodge your stuck 3D print.
You can also try twisting the part a little if possible – as long as your print is sturdy enough to take it, of course. And if you know your part is tough enough, then you can use a rubber mallet to give it a gentle tap. Not too hard, of course – but just enough to give the piece some reason to move!
If your print isn’t meant to be very sturdy, then you’re of course going to be limited in terms of how much force you can safely apply. AFter all, there’s no point getting your print free from the bed only to destroy it in the process.
However, it’s normal for a 3D print to need a little bit of force to dislodge it. Only a little bit, mind!
Spray It Away
This is a great and easy way to free a stuck 3D print – and if it works for you, and your plastics, could be the easiest method – although be careful with what plastics you allow to be touched by alcohol.
Take a solution of alcohol and water in a 1:1 ratio – that is, half alcohol and half water – and put it in a spray bottle.
Spray over the printed part – within a few seconds, the 3D print should pop itself right off! Aim to only get the connection points wet if possible – if a spray bottle is too inaccurate for your print, then use a dropper instead.
This works well if your build plate is very smooth – made out of glass, for instance. If you’ve got the right type of plastic, then it can be a great way to free your prints.
However, some plastics used for 3D printing don’t react all that nicely with isopropyl alcohol – such as plastics commonly used in tapes, and PEI sheets – so if you’re using things that are made of those plastics then you should avoid this method.
You can use a thin spatula to scrape underneath the 3D printed part – between the print and the print bed/surface. Be VERY careful if you’re using a metal spatula.
It can do a great job of freeing yourprint, but it can also work wonders at scratching up your print bed if you’re not taking care – so use caution.
This method can also be used with a screwdriver – again, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL. Place the blade of the screwdriver on a connection point – where the 3D print is stuck to the printing surface.
Lightly tap the screwdriver with a mallet, just enough to dislodge the 3D print. If you do either of these methods correctly, you probably won’t cause any damage to your print bed or printing surface – but it can definitely happen, so be careful, and be aware.
Floss Is Boss
For a much safer alternative to using a spatula to scrape your 3D print off, you could consider using ordinary dental floss! Simply unspool a length of it, and wrap around your fingers on each hand.
Slide the floss underneath the 3D printed part, pulling gently – but with just enough force to separate the 3D print from the surface that it’s stuck to.
If you find you’re having to pull so hard that it hurts your fingers, then of course stop – the print is likely too firmly attached for this method to be easy for you to use.
You could try wrapping the floss around some sticks or pencils and holding it on them with some tape or your fingers too. Or, of course, 3D print a part for the job – but then, of course, we might be back to square one!
Keep It Cool
You should wait until your part has cooled before trying to remove it anyway in most circumstances. That way, you know it’ll be ready to be moved safely when you do come to take it off the printer – it won’t be weak, or at all pliable.
However, did you know that cooling your print can actually help to remove it too? If your print is stuck, you can try cooling it and the print bed down.
It’#s best to remove the print bed form the rest of the printer first. Once you’ve done this, there are two ways you can go about this. Firstly, you can try spraying the print and the bed with a can of compressed air or freeze spray.
Don’t over do it – and make sure to only ever do this with breathing protection, and in a well ventilated environment.
Secondly, you can place the print and the entire print bed (once detached from the rest of the printer, of course) into the fridge or freezer.
This will take some time, but as the print and the print bed will cool at different rates, due to being made of different materials, the connections between the two will naturally be put under stress, and should break quite easily, allowing you to remove the print with ease.
Heat It Up
You can also heat the print bed up a little to help remove the stuck print!
You probably don’t want to put your print bed in the oven, of course – imagine the mess – but heating up some water to no more than around 160 Fahrenheit and gently pouring this over your print can work wonders for freeing it if it’s stuck to the print bed.
Just as with cooling the print and print bed, the differing materials will heat up at different rates, meaning that they won’t expand at exactly the same rate. This means that the joins between the print and the print bed will be weakened – hopefully enough that you can easily remove your 3D printed part.
A stuck 3D print is a frustration – it stops you using the piece you just printed, and can stop you printing your next one until you’ve got this part free! Luckily, it’s usually just a minor annoyance. Most 3D printed parts should come away from the print bed with relatively little effort.
However, if your part is stuck, then hopefully the methods in this article will help you to get your print off the bed safely!