# What tweaks do slicers use to get rafts to stick?

I've always had trouble getting prints to stick directly on my bed, but had great reliability when use rafts. This didn't present a problem when I was using PLA, but I recently got a roll of PETG and it is very hard to remove rafts, so I am once again trying to figure out whats wrong.

I am printing the same file (currently a simple square for testing) with the same settings, except I am turning rafts on/off. When rafts are on, my print sticks perfectly. When rafts are off, my print doesn't stick at all - not even the skirt (which sticks fine on the raft print). With rafts on, I can watch my printer lay down a nice line for the skirt / first layer. With rafts off, I watched plastic ooze out of the nozzle and ride along with the print head, not sticking to the plate at all.

I have a stock Monoprice Maker Select v2 with the PEI surface it shipped with. I haven't tried any bed additions/changes to get better adhesion, since I know rafts stick fine with what I have. I figure there must be some settings I can change to make my first layer stick too. I am using Simplify3D & have tried a few basic tweaks, but I am largely stabbing in the dark.

What are the specific characteristics of a first layer raft, in comparison to a first layer of my print, that might make it stick better?

• San you include a photo/image of the part so w get an idea of what you are trying to print. A photo of the part where it connects to the bed would be especially helpful. – markshancock Jun 3 '17 at 22:30
• @markshancock I was trying to print a 3d benchy before, and have switched to a 20x20mm square (5mm tall) on the theory that it would be a particularly easy shape. I can try to take a photo later. – MrGlass Jun 4 '17 at 1:24
• The 3dBency should adhere fine without a raft. Even with that, I often use a skirt to help. Also, it is common to use a material to help adhere to the table. Glue Stick is probably the most common for that. Another issue can be bed temperature. Some materials will curl and peel away from the bed if they cool to quickly. – markshancock Jun 4 '17 at 2:07
• Sounds like you're not priming the nozzle properly at the start of the print. I found some initial g-code which extrudes 10mm at the corner of the bed - will try and find it again for you... – Sean Houlihane Jun 4 '17 at 16:10
• Have you ever cleaned your bed with something to remove fingerprints, fat and dust? – Trish Sep 21 '18 at 17:07

You could experiment with the 'cleaning' part of the startup gcode shown here

G1 X100 Y0 F4000 ; move half way along the front edge
G1 Z1 ; move nozzle close to bed
M109 S200 ; heat nozzle to 200 degC and wait until reached
G4 P10000 ; wait 10 seconds for nozzle length to stabilize
G1 E10 ; extrude 10 mm of filament
G1 z15 F12000 E5 ; move 15 mm up, fast, while extruding 5mm
G92 E0 ; reset extruder


I'm not completely persuaded that it helps a lot, but the idea is to fill the extruder (with some pressure from the bed at a 1mm gap) right before starting the skirt. Typically, I still find the first line of skirt may be quite blobby, but a 2nd line of skirt seems much better. Obviously you need the bed alignment right too. A raft seems to have enough 'extra' extrusion to mask these issues a little bit.

Later reflection suggests that these introductory G-code snippets (I've now started using the PRUSA one of a line along the edge of the bed) risk problems with flexible filament, so it might be best to err on the side of conservative for the extrude volume rather than assume that more is better here.

You can find other similar solutions in this question: Writing G-code : swiping at start of print

• Interesting. I wonder if adding an extra couple lines of skirt will do the trick. – MrGlass Jun 4 '17 at 18:24
• @MrGlass that gave me the best bang-for-buck. – Sean Houlihane Jun 5 '17 at 6:42
• The default gcode coming out of Cura 2.5 (MacOS) performs this kind of pre-extrusion. – Carl Witthoft Jun 5 '17 at 12:46
• @CarlWitthoft - Disagree. It's machine dependant, and they seem to typically extrude 3-5mm in free space. github.com/Ultimaker/Cura/… – Sean Houlihane Jun 5 '17 at 14:08
• @SeanHoulihane thanks for the detailed corrections. I only had my own setup to go by :-) – Carl Witthoft Jun 5 '17 at 14:56

While using rafts with PLA is a good idea due to warping, PETG is a material that requires very little build plate adhesion.

When I printed with PLA, I would normally use a two layer raft with a 0.3 mm air gap. With PETG, however, I only need a skirt. I recommend calibrating your extruder height so that when you slide a piece of paper underneath, you feel a gentle tug. While 0.2 mm is enough for printing PLA with rafts, 0.1-0.15 mm has worked well for me in terms of distance from the extruder nozzle to the heat bed.

Also, would you mind sharing your extruder and heat bed temperatures? Ive found that although PETG will melt at the same temperature as PLA, it tends to drag behind the extruder nozzle if the temperature is below ~240°C.

One final note: Even though most PETG distributors specify that a heated build plate is not required, a heated bed helps my prints stick better. I run a 60°C heat bed which seems to make my prints smoother in the end.

• Thanks. I know I should be able to print PETG without rafts, which is why I asked this question :) Hopefully we can solve my problem. I have calibrated my nozzle height as you suggested. As for temperature. I have been running at 245c for the nozzle and 60c for my bed. I did a quick test at 250c but had the same issues. Still, though, my rafts stick, so I feel like I have the height/temps right (or good enough). I should be able to replicate whatever conditions make the rafts stick using first layer settings (I believe). – MrGlass Jun 5 '17 at 16:46
• Ok, what kind of material do you have on your heat bed? My prints stick with some blue painters tape and nothing else, no glue, no nothing. If you would like, I can share my Cura profile with you so that you can try my settings on your printer. Something else that comes to mind is the environment around your PETG- is it humid or dry? PETG filament is especially susceptible to humidity which may affect the ability of your prints to stick. – Alejandro Escontrela Jun 5 '17 at 19:51
• My bed is PEI (comes stock on the monoprice printer), sorta a knockoff buildtak. Only time I've had to use painters tape was when my heated bed broke. Its in a basement that might be humid, but if that was the main factor rafts wouldn't stick either. – MrGlass Jun 5 '17 at 21:39

When I started work on mine, the bed leveling and radius (Delta-only issue) were horrid, and my erstwhile assistant was fond of using a LOT of glue stick, which sort-of made things work, though in many cases with no first layer extrusion.

As I sorted things out, I found an apparent bug (Repetier Host (Mac) and Marlin 1.1.0-RC8 firmware - not sure which side the apparent bug is on, really, but I'd guess Repetier) where setting the first layer by percent lead to no extrusion, and setting an actual width/height it extruded. I also got the bed level and radius sorted so the first layer settings actually applied to most of the print area, rather than being wrong for most of it.

Finally, we sorted out some temperature issues (wrong thermistor type setting) and then found a fairly large discrepancy between the heater block and the nozzle (screwed into it) temperature. I now lay down the first layer (PLA) at a purported 240°C, based on a number of trials at different temperatures (which might change with a different batch of filament, I guess) and the rest at a purported 215°C. I set the first layer width to double the height so it's really laying down some plastic. An excessively LOW first layer height also causes problems (as there's very little plastic coming out if the layer is very low, even if you set the width wide.)

My bed is not heated and is plain glass, but I now get reasonable sticking with a very thin layer of gluestick (I put a dab on and rub it around with a little bit of water - it's barely visible.) With a coated heated bed that sticks to rafts, I think you'll just need to work on your first layer settings (including a level bed) and should not need to worry about glue at all.

• Good point on bugs - lots of this code is probably correct only in places where it is easily measured, with off corner-case side effects. – Sean Houlihane Jun 5 '17 at 6:41