3D Print Not Sticking To Bed: Improve Adhesion With 5 Tricks

3D prints not sticking to the bed is one of the most common issues hobbyists have with their printers. That’s true across every filament printer.

Luckily, issues are usually the same across every filament printer as well, which means you can troubleshoot what’s going wrong with yours no matter what make and model you have. 

In most cases, 3D prints not sticking to the bed happen because of leveling issues, dirt, temperature issues, or slicer settings. You can troubleshoot each of those issues on your make and model. However, we’ll use the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) as an example for each. 

5 Reasons Why 3D Prints Won’t Stick To Bed

In most cases, 3D prints not sticking to the bed means that something is going wrong. While many people will immediately buy adhesion sprays or tapes, your filament should stick to the glass bed. That’s what it’s there for.

The following 6 fixes should help you to achieve that. 

1. Build Plate Isn’t Level 

If the build plate isn’t level, it could mean some filament is hitting the build plate too cold. In this case, it won’t stick.

In addition, it may deform or harden too much before it hits the plate. Worst case scenario, you’ll also damage the nozzle and the bed, as the nozzle may scrape into the bed. 

How To Fix

Many 3D printers have an auto bed leveling feature. The Ender 3 does not. 

  • Turn the Ender 3 on.
  • Use the Control knob and scroll to the “Prepare” menu.
  • Select “Auto Home”.
  • Scroll to “Prepare” and Select “Disable Steppers”.
  • Lower the bed by turning the leveling wheels counterclockwise.
  • Position the nozzle over the bottom left adjustment screw. 
  • Place a piece of paper on the bed.
  • Adjust the leveling wheel clockwise until there’s just enough space to slide the paper between the bed and the nozzle with a slight amount of resistance.
  • Repeat on each corner.
  • Double-check each corner and continue to adjust until the paper just slides between the nozzle and the adjustment screw on each corner.

2. Dirty Build Plate 

Dirt, grease, and even old filament buildup can reduce how well filament sticks to the build plate. Here, even a small amount of grease from your hands can cause this issue.

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to remove things from the build plate with gloves. Filament buildup can be harder to remove. However, you can safely remove it without damaging the build plate. 

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Starting out with 3D printing and want to AVOID rookie MISTAKES?

How To Fix 

  • Warm your build plate until any material on the plate starts to soften.
  • Use a cleaning agent such as window cleaner, warm soapy water, or acetone.
  • Allow it to set on the build plate.
  • Wipe the build plate down.
  • Use a scraping tool to remove any residue on the plate, be sure not to scratch the plate.
  • Use a paper towel and glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints or smudges.
  • Double-check that the build plate is still level.

3. Temperature Is Wrong 

If your 3D printer’s temperature is too high or too low for the material being used, you will have bed adhesion problems. However, temperature issues can come from a lot of issues including slicer settings and hardware issues.

In most cases, the issue will be Slicer settings which means it’s easy to fix. But, if no amount of updating the software settings changes the heat, you likely have a nozzle, thermistor, or even heater issue. 

How To Fix 

  • Check the heat settings in your software. Here, PLA normally needs 190-210°C, ABS needs 220-240°C, PETG needs 230-245°C, and TPU needs 220-230°C. However, different filament manufacturers will have different recommendations. Always check with the filament manufacturer. 
  • Inspect the filament as it comes out. If the edges are burnt or curled or still oozing after they hit the plate, reduce the temperature. Normally, adjusting down by about 5°C each time will allow you to adjust without over-cooling the bed. 
  • In most cases, sticking issues are because the bed is too cold. This can be more difficult to gauge by eye. However, you can try adjusting the temperature up by 5°C and see if it fixes the issue. 

Similarly, if you have a 3D printer with first-layer cooling, you should look at and adjust those settings. If the first layer is cooling too fast, it will not stick to the bed. 

4. Base Layers Are Too Thin 

If the base layers are too thin, they will cool too quickly, and will respond to the heat from the layers above them. This can cause them to curl up, meaning they don’t remain stuck to the bed.

In most cases, you can resolve this by adjusting the layer height and bottom layer height settings in your Slicer. In others, it will mean you’re printing too fast. 

See also  How To Remove & Change Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Nozzle

How To Fix 

Open your Slicer and check the first layer settings. Normally, it’s a good idea to print the first layer thicker and more slowly than the rest.

Here, it’s always a good idea to have a first layer of 0.2mm or thicker. Print speeds should be 30-50% of standard print speed. 

In addition, if you have a small print nozzle (e.g., 0.1mm) you likely want to increase the first layer width to somewhere between 100% and 200%. This can help the first layer to stick to the bed better.

Here, 115%-125% is recommended if you are having issues. 

5. Model Design/Lack Of Supports

If your print model isn’t designed well, it might not stick to the bed.

Here, you can check in your slicer if the print makes full contact with the bed. If not, you should add supports or even a raft to ensure that it does. 

How To Test 3D Printer Bed Adhesion

Testing a 3D print bed’s adhesion will always mean printing an object.

Here, a simple test square is the best option. This option from Cults is free and works very well. 

6 Tips To Prevent Bed Adhesion Problems

In most cases, good printer maintenance will prevent issues. That means keeping the build plate clean, updating settings as you change filament, and taking care that everything is as it should be.

When that doesn’t work, there are other steps you can take. However, you should only take those steps after trying without. 

1. Keep The Build Plate Clean 

It’s always a good practice to clean your print bed in between prints. Here, simply wiping the print bed down with rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol in between prints can do a great deal to ensure the bed stays clean.

This will remove any risk of your prints not sticking because of grease or filament buildup. 

2. Always Do Test Runs After Changing Settings

If you change settings, slicer, or hardware, it’s important to do a test run before printing anything else. This should involve double-checking the settings based on your filament and your hardware.

You’ll also want to check that the bed is level. 

3. Adjust The Nozzles 

Cleaning and adjusting nozzles are part of running a 3D printer. If you have clogged or dirty nozzles, it may change how filament extrudes, how long it takes to cool down, and how well filament sticks to the bed.

This will mean adjusting the Z values, ensuring the nozzles are clean, etc. 

See also  How To Clean Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Nozzle & Prevent Clogs

4. Use Adhesion Helps If Necessary 

If you can’t get filament to adhere to the bed, you can always try a spray or tape intended for the purpose. Here, blue painters tape, Kapton tape, hair spray, glue, and ABS juice (a slurry made with ABS in acetone) are all popular. 

However, if you have to use these measures, it means something is wrong. Your glass bed should stick to filament without any help. That’s what the bed is there for.

If you need these, it may mean your room is too cold or that you have other setting issues. However, it does mean that something is wrong and you may need a new bed or a new nozzle. 

5. Switch To A Heated Bed 

Often, sticking issues happen because the filament cools down too quickly after leaving the nozzle.

This can be difficult or impossible to avoid if you’re printing in a workshop, garage, or other unheated space outside of summer. In this case, the only solution may be to upgrade your printer with a heated bed. 

Alternatively, if buying a heated bed isn’t an option, you can try using heat lamps, printing boxes, or other means of insulating your 3D printer while printing.

Most of these solutions are not as fire-safe as a simple heated bed, so make sure you review your options and pick what works for your space. 

6. Add Negative Z-Value 

In some cases, you can improve how the first layer sticks by moving the nozzle closer to the bed. However, you should still be able to slide a piece of paper with some resistance under the nozzle.

Otherwise, the nozzle will scrape and you will see lines in your 3D print. 


If filament isn’t sticking to your printer bed, it’s usually a sign that the bed isn’t level or the filament is cooling too fast. In other cases, it may be an issue with dirt or other buildups on the bed. In each case, you can normally easily troubleshoot the problem. If you can’t fix the issue, you can add adhesive fixes like glue sticks or hairspray. However, this shouldn’t be necessary to get your 3D prints to stick to the bed.

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