Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

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Jules
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Jules » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:54 pm

I can honestly say i've tried just about all of them now (kind of expensive to do it that way, but I've just got to try the new toy 8-) ), and for PLA, these were the things that did not work for me, followed by the things that did, in order of increasing success/ease of use. (Or you can just skip to the clear winner at the bottom of the list, which now has me wriggling with joy. :lol: )

Worst:
1. Unheated glass plate with no adhesive. (Could not get anything to stick beyond the first few prints, and I'm disinclined to clean between each print. Prints warped badly.)
2. Blue Painters Tape on low heat (40°C) bed. (Kept gouging/tearing the tape when removing the prints. Still some warping on tall prints.)
3. PEI surface. (Unfortunately a non-starter since the sheet i received was warped. Poor quality control for something that expensive.)

Worked:
4. Heated glass plate (40°C) with Elmer's Washable Schoolglue purple stick. (This worked but i personally preferred the hairspray since i had a hard time applying the glue stick evenly. Sometimes had to freeze the print off - it stuck too well.)
5. Heated glass plate (40°C) with purple can AquaNet Extra Super Hold Hairspray. (Worked pretty well. Good base coat needed, followed by light spritz just before a print. Had to be cleaned off every dozen or so prints and reapplied. For base coat - spray a heavy coat from a few inches away until a puddle develops, then gently smear it all around with a finger and let dry. Sometimes had to freeze the prints off and i was worried about chunking the glass.)
6. Heated glass plate (40°C) with Garnier Fructis Ultra Hold Hairspray. (Sticks very well. Good base coat needed, followed by light spritz just before a print. Had to be cleaned off every dozen or so prints and reapplied. For base coat - spray a heavy coat from a few inches away until a puddle develops, then gently smear it all around with a finger and let dry. Sometimes had to freeze the prints off and i was really concerned about tearing a chunk out of the glass with this one.)
7. Full sheet Kapton tape on the glass http://amzn.to/1E08NJx, heated glass plate(40°C), with hairspray. (This was what i wound up using for a long time. Small prints would work without the hairspray, but taller prints needed the extra help from the hairspray. I was less afraid of prying/freezing prints off the kapton tape. It could be nicked though, and the hairspray got to be tedious to deal with.)

The Winner:
8. The Zebra plate. Period.
http://www.printinz.com/zebra-plates/

Pros:
1. Heavy, stable surface with two colors so you can contrast your print depending on what color your filament is.
2. PLA and PETG stick to it while printing, with no warping/edge curling, and no additional bed prep is needed aside from a heated bed. (About 50°C for PLA. About 85°C for PETG.)
3. When the plate cools down, the print pops/twists off with absolutely no drama. No freezing. You don't have to take the plate off the bed. Just lift the print off if it's small, or use a spatula to glide it off from a corner if it is large. It lets go. :P
4. It dramatically cuts down on the bed heat-up time. (Cuts it to about a quarter of the time needed to bring the bed up to temp with glass.) :D
5. It really is the best for PLA. (Also excellent for PETG.)

Cons:
1. Can't use it for tall ABS prints - ABS is just too strong and tall prints will warp/deform the plate as it cools.
2. You'll have to reset your Z-stop before using it - it's thicker than the glass plates.
3. It ain't cheap. :|

Vandal968
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Vandal968 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:28 pm

Here's a PLA print on vinyl done at 30c (the room is 27c, so bed is essentially off). Right now I'm printing ABS on the same vinyl at 60c with no problems. The other nice thing about vinyl is that it's so thin that no Z-adjustment is necessary when switching between glass bed, hairspray, elmers, vinyl, etc.
Image

cheers,
c

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Jules
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Jules » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:21 pm

Vandal968 wrote:Here's a PLA print on vinyl done at 30c (the room is 27c, so bed is essentially off). Right now I'm printing ABS on the same vinyl at 60c with no problems. The other nice thing about vinyl is that it's so thin that no Z-adjustment is necessary when switching between glass bed, hairspray, elmers, vinyl, etc.
Image

cheers,
c
Saw this the other day and was intrigued.......How high/tall can you go with your ABS and still have it hold? (And what kind of vinyl are you using? I've sure got a pile-o-vinyl.) :D

Vandal968
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Vandal968 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:55 pm

Height isn't an issue when printing on vinyl. We used to print very large pieces on it (to the max envelope of the Makerbot Rep 2), then pin/glue the parts together to make huge parts.

When printing PLA at room temp, you can twist or pry the parts off. When printing ABS with bed heat (I'm using 60c), you want to allow the bed to cool completely before removing the part. The vinyl is quite soft when hot and damages easily.

I'm using the vinyl that we used to wrap the body on the Rally Fighter, it doesn't have markings on it, just seems to be generic automotive grade vinyl.

http://www.kimballstock.com/pix/AUT/46/ ... 20-01P.JPG

cheers,
c

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Jules
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Jules » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:01 pm

Cool! Thanks! (Don't have any automotive grade stuff - just crafting grade. Will need to pick some up and try it......just because!) :D

terrymcc
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Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by terrymcc » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:20 pm

Was reading the dated post and was interested in something like the zebra-plate described. Link is not active any more. Anyone know of something similar or better?

terrymcc
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 12:23 am

Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by terrymcc » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:20 pm

Was reading the dated post and was interested in something like the zebra-plate described. Link is not active any more. Anyone know of something similar or better?

Gwhite
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Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:38 pm

Re: Favorite way to prep your bed surface for printing PLA?

Post by Gwhite » Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:32 pm

I've been having excellent results with hairspray on the plane glass back of my factory bed. If I move things around to even the wear, I can frequently get a week or two of mixed use before needing to clean it off and recoat. I can do 6 or 8 medium sized prints in the same location before I have warping issues. The great thing is that when things cool down to room temperature, the prints just pop off the bed with a very gentle tug.

On the recommendation of this forum, I've been using Garnier Fructis Sheer Set Ultra Strong spray:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0177F8FM0

I've also seen a lot of good reviews about this stuff:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXV4RBH?

It scored in the top 3 hairsprays for 3D printing in two different comparisons.

Both of these are a little pricey. This was top rated in one review, and it's a fraction of the price of the other two, unscented, and widely available in local stores:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Aqua-Net-Hai ... n/10997068

I'll probably try the Aqua-Net when my current can of Garnier Fructis runs out. A 10 oz. can is good for over a year with moderately heavy use.

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