3D printer maintenance

Hey everyone!

Thus far I’ve made quite a few prints with the snapmaker. Many in fast print and a few in high quality. After mounting my printer into the case a few days ago I noticed some of my prints were looking a little messier than usual and yesterday I had a little bit of a disaster where it appears the print head dragged through the in process print, making a bit of a mess and some difficult to clean places on my printing surface.

I have a few questions on how to clean my printer and some basic maintenance.

  1. is there a schedule to cleaning the head, and are there any other recommendations besides just wiping it off with a cloth before /after a print?

  2. does periodic recalibration need to happen? If so, how often is recommended?

  3. for the printing surface, my husband has ordered a plastic razer to aid in scraping the mess off but it has not arrived so we do not know how successful it will be. We also read about using rubbing alcohol, but have not been able to find any in stock anywhere. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thank you all for your help!!

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@Schingiuire: My favorite tools are a set of palette knives that I bought off of Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PKSV4KW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
I suggest warming the bed up a bit 40-50c and scraping with the palette knives (my personal favorite for this task is the #2 knife).

If you get thing set right with your z offset you shouldnt run into parts sticking that hard.

after calibration, adjust offset .05 to .1 upwards

Regarding calibration - if you change nozzles, get new gouge marks on your print sheet, swap print sheets, or just every now and then if it seems like its off do it, no schedule

Regarding alcohol, yeah thats the proper solution to use.

If you continue to have over adhesion issues, look into Magigoo - it acts as an adhesive and then when it cools acts as a release agent, and washes away with water.

Anytime you suddenly see filament coming out and curling around the nozzle, or seemt o have bizarre adhesion or other issues, swap the nozzle (not necessarily the heatend, but you can buy mk8 nozzles (13 mm long with 6 mm thread is the spec) in a variety nozzle widths, standard being .04.

You can try to pick the nozzle clean with a needle or nozzle bit, or do a cold pull technique (google it im not great at explaining it- should have nylon stock to do that, i had no success with it but i didnt a durable enough filament) instead but nozzles are so cheap it is trivial to change them out.

use rubbing alcohol to clean the rails (the shiny part, its actually a dust cover but buildup on there probably isnt a great thing to see)

If you cant find rubbing alcohol, id hesitate to experiment with other solutions and chemicals outside of water and maybe like a mild dawn detergent, but thats really not ideal.

Once you get used to printing you’ll find the print sheets wont get scuffed out and stuff stuck to it

If you are using the snapmaker brand pla that came with the machine, it could be part of a bad batch - i have a spool that destroyed one side of my sheet by fusing the material so hard and then in my ignorance after i thought i was better i tried using it again on a different sheet and the same thing happened.

At least the sheets can be flipped

Edit: Oh, and i know it sucks to have to wait for stuff to come in the mail to keep playing, so in the interim you can try to put blue painter tape on your bed to prevent the material from destroying it if you do indeed have the terrible material ( which is widely known and acknowledged by Snapmaker, they changed manufactures over it but there isn’t really a way to tell by the spool if its good or bad, outside of mine looked a bit greyish and dull instead of a good black)

The above is just my personal experience and i am far from the most knowledgable on the forum.

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Vodka is 40% alcohol, 151 Rum is 75.5%, and Everclear is 95%. Any clear unflavored drinking alcohol is fine, although you might need need a little more elbow grease with the lower percentage ones. Most rubbing alcohols are 70%, but different percentages are available.

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thats a pretty good thought, just don’t use coconut rum :joy:

Moonshine works. Can’t remember the proof but it’s flammable.


Thank you everyone for your assistance! My husband and I saw the responses about using things like moonshine and ever clear. However we did happen upon a stock of rubbing alcohol just a few minutes later while doing a grocery run. I cleaned off the printing head, and gave the printing surface a good cleaning.

I could not get all the filament off the surface but we ultimately took the advice to print over it and see if it will come up.

To the comments about bad filament : I don’t think the one we are using is bad. I’ve been able to make a nice number of miniatures for some board games and they haven’t given any issues.

Thank you again everyone!!

Lower % IPA works fine, btw.
I had 60% (70?) when I couldn’t get 90 and it was fine.

RUBBING alcohols (usually around 30%) often have oils in them, you don’t want that, if it says rubbing on the label then it’s probably 30%. You want isopropyl alcohol, 90% or better. Any drinking alcohol (ethyl) is not isopropyl alcohol.

Here is my suggestion,

Link: Amazon.de : Isopropanol 99

You definitely need isopropanol, although not the 99%, but that is also available!!!

The printing surface must be and remain grease-free, even a fingerprint can lead to the pressure does not hold!

You do not NEED isopropyl alcohol, it just tends to be easily available and inexpensive. As stated above high proof, unflavored drinking alcohol works, but methylated spirits are also commonly used. As long as it is similar enough to one of these options (aka, a methyl, ethyl, or propyl alcohol) and doesn’t leave a residue, it should be alright. Isopropyl alcohol is just a safe bet due to its widespread use within the community.

DOs and DON’Ts:

  • DO use soap and water to clean grime, including dirt, from the build surface. Just a tiny amount of dish soap in a spray bottle is all you need. If it foams while wiping, you are using too much soap.
  • DO use any type of isopropyl alcohol IF the manufacture allows the use of isopropyl alcohol, as long as it is pure and only has distilled water added.
  • DON’T use alcohol to remove grime. Alcohol, only removes oils, it does not remove grim. If the water content is 30% or higher (rubbing alcohol) it may do a better job on grime, but soap and water is better.
  • DON’T use denatured alcohol on ANY plastic surface unless the manufacturer SPECIFICALLY tells you to do so. Denatured alcohol is regulated to contain TOXIC chemicals in most countries.

EDIT: Typo, 30% not 40%.

In the US rubbing alcohol is pretty much synonymous with 70% (or more) isopropyl alcohol nowadays. It’s defined by the CDC and various medical and pharmaceutical associations as such

The term does originally come from its use as a liniment in the 1920’s when it was generally 30% and it usually had additives.

70% works just fine. It was all I had and could find at the start of the pandemic. Just dries a little slower.


I don’t know how it is in your home country, but if you need it quickly, I can buy isopropanol in Germany at the pharmacy.
Is then also not like from Amazon 99% but that should be enough!