MakerBot Replicator 2 Tip: First Layer Just Right

Talking about the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer

Last post I talked about what happens when the nozzle is too far away from the build plate when you are starting a build.  This post will discuss what a proper distance looks like.

Remember proper setup:

  1. Blue tape.  Flat.  No wrinkles.  I use 3″ or 2″ with the advantage of 3″ being that it is quicker to apply.
  2. Rubbing Alcohol wipe down of tape!!!  I use 91% (can buy at Walmart)
  3. Flat Build Plate.  I purchased a glass one from and it really did help.
  4. Leveled Build Plate.  All I will say now is a sheet of printer paper where you can barely feel the drag.  More on this later I hope.

The print in this discussion was standard quality.  I slow it down a little bit to 70mm/sec during printing.  I find the MakerBot doesn’t shake so much at the expense of slightly longer print time.   I also heat it up a little to 235C which seems to be helpful for me.

Here is what we are building (at a whopping 110mm x 110mm x 100mm):

8-11-2013 12-30-58 AM

This is a good sign that the print is getting off to a good start.  See how each outline is nicely pressed flat, but no scraping is apparent?



This is the front-left corner, the first printed. Notice how with few exceptions, each line is flattened just enough to merge into the adjacent line?


This is the front-right corner. The build plate must be too low here (not level) or the machine is out of alignment.  You can see the nozzle isn’t close enough.  What this might result in is a slight lift on a large part, but it is unlikely it will break away and cause problems.


This is the beginning of the second layer, and the time I left for 6 hours.  I was comfortable that little would go wrong with the print at this point.  Layers adhering correctly, build adhering correctly.


Here is a side-view of the print in progress. This is 0.20mm layer resolution, and it looks fine.


Here is a top-view of the same.


Here is the finished build:


This is stuff I have figured out by trial and error, so I hope these pictures help!

Get a good putty knife, because with the above method, the print will REALLY stick to the platform.  I’d rather it over-stick to the tape than come off and fail (possibly breaking the printer).