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Author Topic: thermoplastic bed surface  (Read 1207 times)


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thermoplastic bed surface
« on: July 20, 2017, 04:46:52 AM »

    Andrew over at is on a quest to provide a cheaper alternative to those rather expensive branded build surfaces. in his own words.
  "The material is clear and can be easily cut with a pair of scissors. The main reason in it not coloured like buildtak and lokbuild is the cost it adds to the sheets. Glass and pei is clear like many other bed materials, so why add cost to the end user so the supplier can heavily brand his product. I am offering a very build surface, that is tough and more robust that existing products on the market at a very competitive price."
  I do agree I personal found the price off putting compared to a glue stick though I have been given the pleasure to be beta tester. convert or not!!

    I applied the pad straight to the aluminum bed after I've scraped clean the bed

    Glue stick a wonderful material for holding PLA down never had curl or lift using it. but the damn things cooks on the bed over time  leaving you the task of cleaning, but in the processes watching the surface of the print degrade over time!. " though cleaning every other day would help". 

   The build plate is 1 mm thick and the hardy print surface has a frosted appearance and almost fine wet/dry paper feel to it. Once applied directly to the aluminum bed gives a sleek clean look to the whole thing. From  the 3M data sheet of the gooey stuff " It provides outstanding adhesion to metal and high surface energy"  that is an understatement!, it actually goes down better than kapton tape, though I had a moment a third away across the alignment was off and peeling back felt like a battle of wills to re-adjust the gooey stuff on metal. the datasheet does mentions glass a little easier.

    Apart from the earlier mishap applying it to the bed is simpler and cleaner than strips of K tape...  A steady start "etch out two corner markers on the bed for a guide and a gentle roll "its as pliable as medium cartage paper and it want kink on the way" a few seconds it's laid and no air bubbles in sight.... take out a the courtesy card of A&N and lay the backing paper over give the surface a once over.
    The adhesion to the aluminum so strong ' there aint a chance in hell of it slipping on the bed no matter which direction the bed moving in. "Mindful to keep the fingers of the build plate"
 For the testing am mostly using PLA with cura as the slicer with the following setting:

nozzle .4
layer height     0.3/.24
shell thickness   .8 
fill density        10%
heat bed      18-24C   PLA   caves environment "as close to a cold bed am getting "
                       55C   PLA
                       78C   ABS   12V mk3 struggles over 80C

nozzle              210C PLA
                       256C ABS
print speed       20-40 mm/s   "depends on the model."
first layer              20 mm/s
manual levelling
most prints the ambient room temperature about 24C.

     In applying the surface I lowered the bed well below the nozzle and brought it up once a cube was just about printing the skirt "the sheet about 1 mm" so no big issue with a spring mounted bed. Thou its better coming up than scratching the new surface lowering it. 


         PLA sticks really well with a heated bed at 55C. There a good bonding between the two material which becomes apparent once you attempt to remove the finished print and  flip the object over, There's a whitish residue left behind that slightly dulls the surface.
 The first layer has a similar look to it, when you first put down aa fresh layer of gluestick very smooth, too the touch its odd like micron hessian canvass to it or a gecko's foot! but unlike gluestick its a repeatable smooth surface without the mess.
        The plane was chosen for the supports and how well they stuck " the whitish residue  hints at that  stuck well enough I could have pulled the plane of leaving the supports on the bed.  The cube corners  and its surface  perfectly smooth and perfectly flat... at which point am a convert!.


         Now the baswheel was immediate thought for testing of adhesion! purely because I never been 100% successful holding down all the spokes either with gluestick or Kapton tape one of those spokes would lift ever so slightly. If you can see past where I attached the skirt, its possible to make out the dull surface of the spoke with every one staying put.

    At first the idea of a cold bed with PLA and getting reliable complete print with this surface I have my doubts.

        DJ suggestion for a cold bed test over on the reprap forums he also taking in-depth look at ABS well worth a read,776178,page=1

        Now the larger rocket had a 55 C heatbed, the smallone scaled down was on a cold bed with a 28 C as close to a cold bed I can get with hot filament  being laid closed to the bed thermistor. Am pleasantly stunned that it held.

   This next set of parts again was on a bed at 28 C any doubts I had with printing on a cold bed has evaporated!.


   Theirs no sign of lifting or curling, I may just turn of the heatbed forever!!

      keeping the surface clean I use two palette knife the round end for removing prints and the flat for scaping of those stubborn pieces that want peel off. In the short testing ABS tended to be the most stubborn marks to remove without chem slush!. where as with PLA in most cases you can let the surface cool and it peel off, thou theirs times it stick really well and take some encouragement.

    There an outline of ti fighter in this pic! most of the scratches are left over remains from the gluestick era. Theirs several factors for leaving marks on the surface first is how close to the bed the nozzle starts of, "and it will determine how much effect to get the object of the bed " you shall find out :P" gets easier once you allow the bed to cool.

     The next is just how much pigment mix with in the filament, see the black arcing line above the green square  £10 spool of ebay high in pigment low in plastic and left its mark at 55 C. still thou scraped smoothed surface! and most of the other fila's came away clean.. its a PLA surface we may just get a year out of before replacing.
 ABS on the other hand requires a lot of picking or  without a chemical removable it can leave minuscule variation in bed surface.

   ABS has nothing for me!! but that bed surface held in on there  at 78C and its two year old ABS but i just dont have the environment to keep ABS happy.
           In conclusion with PLA is a brilliant build surface. hot cold has a solid bonding to the surface, it come off easy on a cold bed yet stills hold flat. It's actually possible to rip a model in half at 55c with the base firmly attached to the bed.
          " so let that thing cool before removing". After repeating heating and cooling the build surface has shown no signs of lifting at the corners or peeling back no appearance across the surface of bubbles appearing. surface has given a 100% success rate of holding PLA prints with no defects in curling or lifting on the first layer.
     This well could be the remote start surface to use, it want be the adhesion to surface that fails a prints and at a Price of £7.50 + vat and postage  so it's closer to £13.
      " which is almost a year supply of britt stick!. half the price of others currently on the market."
            A link provided below if you wish to purchase the plate from AndorNot
thanks for reading I'll do a 6 month update "christmas time" see how it holds up.
few test vids:

This rocket was a 4 hour print: SOUND WARNING!

      Adding custom images to your heat bed seem very possible although intended  for a cold bed  I've tested prints/bed at 55C for 10 hours so far and all remains flat  and stuck solid to the bed.  even a  scissors  with a grubby edge can cut the plastic sheet cleanly. " see in the vid  :-[

     It be even simpler if you get a sheet with backing already applied  you just need an extra 3M backing  sheet which is a couple of quid, design/grab steal!! your  image for me 
I used paint .net to mix it up. Now the paper I used for the test was one of epson photo gloss paper "cant say which type for sure I got an old mix over the years ".
    Think the key to keeping it all flat is to ensure you get every air bubble out before applying the second 3M back.   


test print:

« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 08:51:13 AM by jinx »
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Re: thermoplastic bed surface
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 05:49:49 AM »
we rebels been offered a 20% Discount enter 20robotrebels when ordering.
       Now the offer only open for a short time but you can order as many as you like. "if Ka maths is right , which it is  ;)  that comes in at £6+ postage a pop,  get 3 if you new to 3DP never seen a bed crash!. but at least get yourself two leave the backing on one just tape it down on the edging, some types of filament will stick hard and could damage your primary surface!.

                                  So order two and save the tears!
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Re: thermoplastic bed surface
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 03:10:06 PM »
This sounds great man!


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Re: thermoplastic bed surface
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 03:12:37 PM »
Interesting stuff. But for nothing beats blue painters tape  >:D


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