A common printer failure will be when the build plate is not level. This actually happens so often that we recommend leveling the build plate before any long print. There are some FDM printers that say they are able to automatically level the printer bed, but even these will require frequent calibration.
When we say “level build plate” we mean that each corner (and center) of the printer bed is equal distance from the nozzle. Some printers claim to automatically level, but most of these are not nearly as calibrated as one would expect. It is quite surprising just how often a bed can become unleveled.
Beds that are unlevel will make large prints impossible. This is why we recommend doing a bed leveling test before any important or large print.
Thick Glass Build Plate
We have found that working with a thick glass build plate is the easiest and most user friendly. Aside from thin glass being more likely to crack or dent, a thicker build plate is easier to ensure a level build area. This is because at high temperatures it is more likely for thin glass or acrylic to bend or warp, leaving parts of the build plate further from the print nozzle than others. We prefer to use 1/4” thick glass instead of the 1/8” that many printers come with.
Proper Bed Clips
Having bed clips that are easy to manipulate is essential in having a level build plate, especially after upgrading to a thicker glass. It is best to have clips that have two access points that allow easy tightening and loosening with a strong spring. This allows you to level the bed during the initial bed leveling test and allows you to actually level during the first layer of the print.