3D Printers, Makers, DIY hacks, solutions and post printing tools

Created by Emil Pop on 13 April, 2018

For those not familiar with the therm, it is not the space warp, like in Star Trek and Star wars, no faster than light speed traveling here.

It is Warping, a slow damaging process to any printing project. when the printed part is curling off the bed.

Nope it is not when the first layer has poor adhesion, that is another issue, but when your first layer ha great adhesion, than the part goes growing up, and growing nice, and all of a sudden the first layer due to warp forces in the cooling printed part starts peeling off of the bed.

The curling forces can be superior to the adhesion, by far.

And how do you tackle this? Anticipating it; even if it will eventually not occur (hopefully), better be ready than not ready.

How do you anticipate? Know thy enemy, that is how. When and why warp occurs?

It is a matter of materials, some are much more prone to warp than others, like ABS is 30 times more prone to warp than PLA, PETG is some 10 times more prone to warp than PLA, I choose PLA as a reference for anybody printing FDM uses it at least occasionally if not at every project. And that is the first parameter in the books.

The second parameter is; SIZE.

The bigger the object the bigger the chances it wraps, just a matter of math here: proportions.

So while for an object that occupies the size of a coin on the bed and only tall one inch this is almost impossible in PLA, rarely happening in PETG and often happening with ABS, (you can get a broad idea of the other materials on your own later on) if the printed volume goes up, so does the accumulation of forces, summing up to the point it can overcome your adhesion, unless you use superglue, and than it will peel off your bed with bits of the bed when you try detaching it. That is for the materials that superglue can work with.

The easiest to see it happening is on large surfaces print, all is fine until... slowly slowly the dam thing curls up and .. that is the end of it, abort printing, kill the print, clean the slate, start from scratch... or maybe not.

This is why I always print with skirt, brim and raft.

Skirt,is just an outline of one string of filament laid out around the project area.

No practical use except... I pause the print when done, and scratch it with my fingernails to check the adhesion, if poor, I take it away, go a few microns lower with the nozzle, start from scratch.

If no filament comes out the nozzle might be because the nozzle temperature is too low, kill print, raise temp, restart. Or maybe the nozzle is too low and scratches the bed, kill print, lift a few microns the nozzle, start from scratch.

Skirting it only takes a few minute to print and analyze visually and tactile the output, and find the error and adjust, before you really print. Worthwhile.


You know what brim it is, a fine layer of frozen snowflakes over the fields, technically evaporated water hits extremely cold air and falls back as fine snow of a micron thickness, painting everything white. A paint.

Same effect you get when you spray paint over a surface, but you move quick so the layer deposit is too thin and you can still see the underneath colors through it. Why would you do that? It improves adhesion. Next layers even if thicker will stick instead of dripping.

Same logic in 3D printing. Brim is a squeezed initial layer of material that has the role to stick well. It is also larger than the printed object by some 1 centimeter each side.


A raft is a bunch of logs made into a platform that can float, sometimes used to live on it in tents while traveling down the rivers, many times used as an improvised life saving device in case of a disaster at sea, you just gather some floating objects in the water, tie them together somehow and jump on them than gather as much supplies as you can, to keep you alive until somebody finds you.

Works similar in 3D printing, it is a multiple hallow "pipes" structure tall as your choice in the settings (I go 5 mm for convenience) on which "platform" s built of about 1 mm thickens, and on top of that the desired object is printed.

Advantages of having a raft: if the bed is not perfect, your object will be according to the bed but if you have a raft; than in the raft thickness the imperfections are compensated for, so you build your object on a better platform. Also the raft is some 5 mm larger than the object to print all around it.

Disadvantages of all this, well... at the end you have to clean all that off, time, dust bits.. you know the drill.

What does all this have to do with warping? Nothing; I mean if you don't work with your brain.

But, if warping starts, do not wait until all is gone loose and you must throw it away, use some light aluminum blades of less than 5 mm thickness and some 2 to 5 centimeters wide, as log as the bed width (maybe even one centimeter shorter, can do) to lock down your brim to the bed mechanically, so that your blades are under the height of the raft over which you print, hence will not clash with the nozzle or Z sensor in the movements.

Also as you go high in print the warp forces increase, and your brim might start to peel off the skirt (that itself is a cause of warping), so when you are a few millimeters higher than the raft, just move your locking down system from the brim on top of the raft edge, and lock it back.

And finish your print without wasting too much time and material with restarting until you get it right.

End of story? Layer 151 of 157 printing just fine thank you, nearly done, the infill is at 20% and the infill holes go down to the first layer of the printed part, no clogging.

All it took was 4 large paper clips, two bits of aluminum from may scrap spares, and imagination, from my abundance.

Old school, good results.