Favorite Print Surface?

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Favorite Print Surface?

Post by rpollack » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:43 pm

We have been testing various print surfaces and beds and intend to ship machines with the bed ready to use (rather than having to apply tape). Since we ship with PLA the surface needs to at least work with PLA. Being easy to apply is a big plus. Please let me know what you are using and/or any suggestions/recommendations. Tape, hair spray, 3rd party surface, tooling plate vs. glass, etc...

Thank you,

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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by wmgeorge » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:54 pm

Rick, I just got my new M2 today and I intend to use PETG or ABS. Since I am a former TAZ 5 owner, gone as of yesterday, I have grown accustomed to the PEI surface and have the .06 sheet and 3M double faced adhesive to install it with. Right now my goal is to get the machine setup and running before I make any changes.

BTW thanks for the speedy shipping, I was prepared to have a two week wait!

ADDED I just put the PEI sheet on yesterday and I love it. The install with the 3M adhesive sheet was a pain but it got done. The surface with a IR Thermometer reads about 10 Deg C lower than the LCD readout says but I never checked it before the sheet was installed so I really don't know if its the cause or not.

I guess If I was doing the marketing for the M2 I would make the PEI sheet covered glass a $30 option. That way the people who like to mess with hair spray and glue sticks can have it their way. For me its a no brainer after using the TAZ line of printers for 5 months... very few problems with the factory installed PEI. Except for the Z adjustment the M2 is a far better designed machine.
Last edited by wmgeorge on Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by Jules » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:20 pm

I switch around. :P

The Zebra plate is good for PLA & PETG, but it's a no-go for tall ABS prints, so that kind of limits its use, and it does have some issues with not being perfectly flat all the time. It is fantastic for removing large surface area prints because it can be flexed just a little bit to break the seal. It has to be initially clamped down due to the heat warping effect, but after the temperature normalizes on it, mine straightens back out and lays down flat. It would be a good candidate for the auto-level; it has two embedded copper plates in it underneath the surfaces. It heats the bed up quicker and distributes the heat better than the glass.

PEI surfaces (I have one 0.03" bonded to boro) seem to have really good adhesion for normal sized objects (bit of trouble holding on to tiny support structures sometimes) but it stays perfectly flat. Once the plate cools, the print can be pried off just like the glass and the PEI releases well. Pull up one tiny corner and the whole thing pops off. That one's good for ABS, but it wouldn't add anything for leveling uses.

(Both the Zebra and the PEI you'll need to adjust the bed temps you tell people to use - they're lower than the alternatives.)

And my favorite before discovering either of those was plain old Kapton tape on the glass, with cheap hairspray holding things down. Worked very well, was stable, didn't have much of an issue with removal, although i did have to freeze a few prints off when I overdid it on the hairspray.

I have one plate with the Kapton still on it, a Zebra, and a PEI surface on boro. And I'll use one or the other depending on what I'm printing, so I actually like all of them. (Guess that was less than helpful!) :lol:

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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by sthone » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:23 pm

I've had great results with Elmer's purple glue still on the stock glass... it's easy to apply just where you need it and (if your not impatient) the prints release by themselves when they cool. The clean up is easy too, I just wipe it off with a wet paper towel, dry the bed with a clean paper towel and reapply.

I've never had a problem with adhesion with the glue stick until the other night. I was trying to print a .02" thin strip of PETG and it wouldn't hold for the whole print. (I think because it was so thin.) I finally gave up on the glue stick after three tries and gave Aquanet hair spray a go... I think this might be my new method for everything. The hair spray is just so sticky it holds with no problems even that thin strip I was trying to print. The prints pop off when cool just like the glue stick too. Applying the hair spray is easier though as you get a nice even cote but you pretty much have to spray the whole bed. I haven't tried cleaning it off the glass yet so I don't know of easy that is.

I use Painters tape for PLA sometimes still and have tried the kapton tape in the past with ABS but it just to much of a PITA to put on and I always rip it removing prints so I gave up on that a while ago.

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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by ednisley » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:44 pm

rpollack wrote:having to apply tape
Definitely not that!

Coating plain old borosilicate glass with Suave Max Hold pump-action hair spray works perfectly for both Makergear PLA and eSun PETG: solid retention on a hot bed, easy release after cooling, no muss, no fuss. Place smells like a beauty parlor, though, even though it's "unscented".

However, we've definitely established that whatever works for one person absolutely won't work for another, with no obvious reasons why that should be true. I'd expect that to hold for any substance or platform material you use on new machines, too.

If you pack the bottle of the hair spray you actually used on that particular machine, along with the sample prints made on it, then that exact coating ought to produce repeatable results or, at least, not act like silicone spray lube.

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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by chad » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:35 pm

I've been playing with BuildTak recently. I really like it for PLA, my friend tried it on PETg and he could not remove parts, had to peel it all up.
I have some of the 8x10 Kapton sheets and really like those too. I currently have BuildTak on one side and full sheet Kapton on the other. You might want to see if you can find inexpensive Kapton full sheets. Using the wet apply method takes very little time and goes down nice and flat.


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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by Vandal968 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:01 pm

I jump around between different methods, of the coatings that I regularly use, self-adhesive vinyl is the most transport-stable. It won't rub-off in the mail unlike hairspray and glue-stick, it looks nice (unlike glue stick), it's easy to visually inspect since any defects that would affect adhesion such as tears or bubbles are obvious. As an added bonus it works with ABS at reduced bed-heat and it can work with PLA with no heat, although I usually use 30c for PLA. This greatly reduces the wait time as the machine warms to print.


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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by wmgeorge » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:13 pm

Well I got the new M2 working and if your going to include that Kapton tape, toss in a bottle of wine instead of the candy. I finally gave up and used men's hair spray extra hold pump bottle with no scent on bare glass with black PETG. It worked pretty darn good. Sorry I did not check the bed level I just loaded a test rectangle I had in my file and it came out perfect looking. I have not checked with my digital calipers but I am not making parts for the space shuttle either. Since I already had Simplify 3 D loaded and activated it must have the drivers for the Rambo along with it because as soon as I plugged in the USB cable from the printer it installed the drivers.

Job well done MakerGear Crew!!
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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by innkeeper » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:41 pm

Zebra Plate

Kapton covered MIC-6
ABS Juice covered Boro
M2 - MKS SBase w Smoothieware, GLCD, 24v, Upg Z & extruder stepper - IR bed leveling, Astrosyn dampers X/Y/Z, MIC 6, Zebra, PEI, & glass Build Plates - E3D, V3B Hotends, & more - many other 3d printers - production printing.

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Re: Favorite Print Surface?

Post by insta » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:28 am

PEI has been solid for me, assuming the 1st layer is perfect. It's worthless without a good first layer. I'd only include it with auto-levelling.
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