What Is Warping in 3D Printing? And How Do You Fix It?


When you’re 3D printing, material shrinkage causes the corners of the print to lift and detach from the build plate, resulting in warping. When you print plastics, they expand slightly at first, then contract as they cool. The print will bend up from the build plate if the material compresses too much. Some materials shrink more than others (for example, PC shrinks more than PLA), resulting in a higher risk of warping when used. Read on to learn more about warping and how to fix it!

Use a Heated Build Plate

Using a heated construction plate is the best approach to avoid warping. This retains the material at a temperature just below the glass transition temperature, ensuring that it remains flat and linked to the build plate. It’s critical to use the correct temperature while using a heated construction plate. Consult the print profiles in Ultimaker Cura (or other slicer software) or on the filament itself to determine the proper temperature for your material.

Apply an Adhesive

The print surface must be smooth and clean for the print to adhere properly. There should be no oil or grease on it, as this would impede adherence. It’s best to use an adhesive on the glass plate while utilizing a hot construction plate. Many times, this can be as simple as applying a thin layer from a glue stick. Other options are available as well, but may vary depending on the material being printed.

Try a Brim

A brim, which is a built-in feature in Cura, is an excellent technique to keep your print from warping. As the print cools, a single-layer thick, flat region forms around your object, resisting the pulling forces. The brim is easy to remove from a completed print because it is only one layer thick.

Use a Raft

A brim may not be adequate to keep some materials or models from warping. A raft is best in these situations. A raft puts a thick grid between the model and the build plate to ensure even heat distribution. It comes in handy when a model’s bottom isn’t fully flat or when printing with industrial materials.

Adjust the Initial Layer Settings

The initial layer height and initial layer speed are two critical parameters that determine adhesion (both related to the first layer). Once your build plate is calibrated, a larger first layer makes adherence easier in most circumstances. Setting the initial layer speed too fast will cause the material to stick to the nozzle and be dragged about instead of remaining fixed to the build plate.

Now that you know what warping is and how you fix it, you can improve your 3D printing process. If you are looking to purchase fire retardant 3D printer filament, reach out to Filamatrix today!

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