Tech Tip - Small detailed parts not sticking to the bed?

Small detailed parts not sticking to the bed?

3D printing does have some limitations and none of us like to see failures, fortunately with some creativity there is usually a good solution to get around most things. In this case I am focusing on smaller parts that let loose from the bed causing print failure.

I don’t want to have a raft because I like the smooth texture of the bed on my parts surface. I also don’t want to use support material because of the way it marks up the other surfaces of the part. I find that Brims can add the support I need to keep the print from letting loose, but I find slicer programs have the option to turn brims on or off per job, not per part. Many times I do not want the brim on other parts I am printing at the same time.

Usually this is where I hear of people pulling out the tapes and glues and different chemicals to make it stick better. The reason for the part failure is simply a lack of surface area keeping the part stable. Here is an easy way to add more surface area while maintaining the surfaces of your print.

In this case, I designed this object so I have access to the file. I load this up in OnShape and create an object flush with the bottom of the part keeping in mind that I only want minimal attachments to the actual part.

You might notice there are two parts selected. When I export this I make sure that the tick box at the bottom is unchecked. This will export everything selected as a joined file.

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As you can see by the images below it makes for a very thin surface that keeps the part from letting go mid print. When the print is done, it super easy to remove. My first layer prints at 0.2mm so that is the thickness of this addition.


While this concept is not super complex it is not something that is necessarily apparent. I do hope that someone finds it useful.

CartoonMe Happy printing!


Keep an eye out for more of my creations as time goes on and feel free to reply here with creations of your own.

I use Onshape to create most of my designs. If you haven’t given Onshape a shot yet perhaps you should. It is very good at allowing multiple people to make their own iterations of a project. You can start by editing this file to suit your needs. Click below if you would like to learn more about Onshape in general

This can be printed it with your preferred 3D printer and material - in addition to almost any electronic component you might need, Digi-Key carries a variety of 3D printers and filaments if you’re in the market.

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This is a variation on a known technique called “adding mouse ears” to a part. It’s a little easier IMO to just keep some little disc stl’s around and import them into the slicer as needed, put them on part where needed (often the corners). See e.g. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:839635

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Welcome to the community RandonLoeb! Thank you for expanding on that. I find that I am almost always printing my own designs which is why I do it this way. Your suggestion is certainly more applicable across both situations!

Sure. Incorporating “printability” into designs is a little-discussed but important topic in itself, and bed adhesion (and the need for helpers) is one part of the puzzle.