Filament warping is one of the most common issues among beginners. This problem is more frequent among filaments like ABS and Nylon.
PLA has the least difficulty when it comes to filament-type, though. Bear in mind that PLA filaments with additional materials like wood and metal have more tendency to warp.
To solve the PLA warping problem, make sure your 3d printer’s bed is leveled well. You can use an enclosure. Check if the first layer extruder height is correct. Increase your bed adhesion with blue tape and glue sticks like Elmer’s Disappearing school glue.
You can print the first layer and see whether it sticks well or if it’s like spaghetti! As always, use the recommended settings and temperature for the extruder provided by the filament’s manufacturer.
The above paragraph was a quick but straight to the point answer to our question. However, If you want to do it right, you’re going to need to keep reading our comprehensive article about solving the PLA warping issue.
Bed leveling usually solves your warping issues
There are many things you must consider when it comes to PLA warping. To get a successful print, it is crucial to level the printer’s bed correctly. It makes the material extrude evenly so that it won’t lose adhesion or start warping from one side after some more layers are printed.
Adjusting the Z offset or the distance between the nozzle’s tip and the printer’s bed is always the next step after leveling the bed. This process is first done by adjusting it manually to balance the bed adhesion and filament flow.
Then you can put this value in software, and the software will notice the size of the gap between the nozzle and bed. Some 3D printers have an automatic bed leveling option.
The 3d printer will create a perfect smooth first layer if you do these two steps right. If these steps are done incorrectly, you can notice it from the first printed layer and avoid wasting more filaments on your print! So, in conclusion, the better you level your printer’s bed, the less future PLA warping problems you will face.
To start the leveling process, make sure that the nozzle is clean and ready to level; if there is some plastic on your nozzle’s tip, you can remove it easily with a piece of cotton cloth. Also, remember to clean the bed with a razor blade.
Now you can start leveling by bringing the nozzle to the bed corners and adjust its height so that an index card can hardly slide between extruder and bed. Do the same process for the 3 remaining sides of the bed.
The next step is to print the first layer and see the results.
A good layer should look the same all over the bed.
Increase the z offset if you see a very squished thin layer. Decrease the z offset if the filament doesn’t stick to the bed or the nozzle is far from the bed and the exiting filament looks like spaghetti.
Uneven airflow over the 3d printer may be the cause of warping
It is a good habit to 3d print your parts far from air ducts or any kind of airflow. The best way to do it is to use an enclosure. If your 3d printer has one, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, you can make one for it.
Blue tape and glue sticks help with the printing bed adhesion
Everybody can buy some blue tape from a hardware store or grocery store and use it for 3d printing. Any type of it can work for you as long as it has decent quality.
The idea here is to cover the bed with a layer of blue tape.
Try your best to line them without any gaps, overlaps, or air bubbles. You can also put glue stick on the tape for extra adhesion. As I mentioned earlier, Elmer’s Disappearing glue sticks work really well for this purpose, especially with wood PLA.
Temperature settings are important!
Wood PLA is very similar to pure PLA. It usually consists of 70% PLA. However, they are more brittle and delicate due to their wood fibers. Each company uses different wood types to create a wood PLA filament, so their settings and recommended temperatures may vary slightly.
You can even try different temperature settings and produce various finishes by the same spool of filament! As you increase the temperature, your final part will have darker shades.
It is common to set the nozzle’s temperature between 180 to 220 oC. Always remember that wood is flammable, don’t let your filament become too hot, and make sure it’s extruding fast enough. Otherwise, your print can easily become defective or even catch fire. It is recommended to use a large nozzle with more than 0.4mm standard diameter to avoid clogging.
The wood PLA filament, like PLA, doesn’t usually need a heated bed. If your printer has a heated bed, Try a preheated bed temperature between 40 to 70 oC.
Tuning the Retraction Settings
It is a bit challenging to optimize the retraction settings for wood filaments. The filament particles interfere with the ability of the nozzle to keep the suction pressure after retraction. So the nozzle might ooze more at the end and start of each segment.
You can use software features like coasting to prevent these issues. Coasting decreases the nozzle’s pressure as it approaches each printing segment’s end, So there will be less pressure to deal with when the extruder wants to retract.
Setting a negative value for extra restart distance of the process can help with the oozing problem due to wood fibers.
Now, you have a solid plan to solve the PLA warping problem. It’s time to put the methods you learned into use to decrease the warping of your prints. Leveling the bed and increasing adhesion will usually solve the problem, and you will see less warping as you get more experienced.