Getting the perfect first layer is crucial for successful 3D printing. If the first layer is not properly adhered to the print bed, the entire print can fail. In this article, we will discuss some tips and techniques for achieving the perfect first layer on an FDM 3D printer.

Leveling the Bed

One of the most critical steps in achieving the perfect first layer is to ensure that the print bed is level. A leveled bed ensures that the nozzle is at the proper distance from the bed, allowing for proper adhesion of the filament. Most 3D printers have a built-in leveling system or manual adjustment knobs. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for leveling the bed and make sure it is done correctly before starting the print.

Bed Temperature

The bed temperature plays a crucial role in getting the perfect first layer. The ideal bed temperature varies depending on the type of filament being used. A general rule of thumb is to set the bed temperature between 60°C to 80°C for PLA and between 90°C to 110°C for ABS. It's important to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for the specific filament you are using.

Nozzle Height

The nozzle height or distance between the nozzle and the bed is also critical in getting the perfect first layer. The ideal nozzle height is typically between 0.1mm and 0.3mm, depending on the filament being used. You can use a piece of paper or a feeler gauge to adjust the nozzle height. The paper or feeler gauge should have a slight resistance when sliding under the nozzle.

Bed Surface

The bed surface also plays a vital role in getting the perfect first layer. Many 3D printers come with a glass bed or build surface. Some filaments, such as ABS, adhere better to a heated bed, while others, such as PLA, adhere better to an unheated bed. For materials that require a heated bed, a build surface such as BuildTak, PEI or a glass surface coated with hairspray or glue stick can provide good adhesion.

Printing Speed

The printing speed also affects the quality of the first layer. Printing too fast can cause the filament to not adhere properly to the bed. It's important to slow down the printing speed for the first layer, typically between 30-50% of the normal printing speed. This allows the filament to melt and bond properly to the bed.


In summary, achieving the perfect first layer requires proper leveling of the bed, setting the correct bed temperature, adjusting the nozzle height, selecting the right bed surface and slowing down the printing speed for the first layer. By following these tips and techniques, you can increase the chances of a successful print with a perfect first layer. Remember that practice makes perfect, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect settings for your specific printer and filament.

March 15, 2023 — James Fambrough