3D Printer Build Plate Guide
Selecting the Correct Build Surface for Your 3D Printer
The days of hairspray, glue sticks, painters tape and all the other nonsense are over! A lot of people still use adhesion promoters, however, with the improved build plates we have today there are very few times you actually need them.
I am a firm believer that people have used these products as band-aids to a bigger problem (i.e. unlevel bed, wrong temps, or wrong print speeds). With the data on this website, you should be able to select the build surface that is correct for your application to ensure you have successful prints every time without the messy hairspray.
Besides not being necessary, things like hairspray can build-up on other parts of your printer where you don't want it. Below you will find a guide with common build plates and information on when you should (and shouldn't) be using them.
Glass is what comes stock on most printers. While it does a pretty good job with easy-to-print filament like PLA, it's properties make it difficult to get other filament to stick. A lot of the 3D printer community have switched to mirror build surfaces which is just glass that has a much tighter tolerance during manufacturing. This means you will likely notice your bed is slightly flatter but adhesion is still the same as normal glass.
Great for: PLA
Adhesion Strength: Low
Polypropylene is our go-to build surface for almost all filament with the exception of nylon and polycarbonate. We like to think of this material as Glass 2.0 because it is flatter, lighter, and has much better adhesion. Because it is so light, you will likely notice reduced ghosting in your prints at fast speeds.
Great for: PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU
Adhesion Strength: Medium-High
PEI will work with just about any filament with the exception of nylon. PEI typically attaches to spring steel (preferred option) and used with a magnetic base. This means you will not have any binder clips to run into during prints and allow you to utilize the entire build surface. If you find you still need a little more grip there is also a powder-coated PEI version available. Make sure to install the spring steel sheet over an already flat surface as it will take the shape of what is underneath it. Once your print finishes and cools, just remove the sheet and flex it to easily pop parts off! No more scraping and struggling to get parts off the build surface.
Great for: All Filament Except Nylon
Adhesion Strength: High
Garolite is a specialty build plate made specifically for Nylon which is notorious for not sticking well to any other build surfaces. The great thing is that it can even be used successfully without heat or adhesion promoters!
Great for: Nylon and Nylon-based filament
Adhesion Strength: Extreme