Build surface...which one?

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Batteau62
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Build surface...which one?

Post by Batteau62 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:30 am

I'm considering changing my build surface from glass to one of the new "exotic" surfaces. But which one? PEI? BuildTak? GeckoTek? PRINTinZ Printer Plate? As usual there is a lot of good info on the forum. I read it all. But this area seems to be blossoming with confusing choices as of late :? Would this topic be worth a sub-forum? Or maybe a polling of choices with explanations of personal experience?
Some of my questions:
1. What's the optimum thickness for a material? Especially in terms of heat transfer, stability etc.
2. Should the material be adhered to a substrate? Some newer options are designed to be removed and flexed to help with part removal.
3. If it should be adhered? Is it better on glass, aluminum or maybe straight to the Onyx?
4. Is their a "silver bullet" surface? Or would it be better to design an interchangeable system?

Considering the cost of these materials, I look forward to any and all input from this forum, before I make a choice ;)

edit: Just saw this- http://3dprint.com/4969/ipad-3d-printin ... -platform/
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by JohnStack » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:58 am

I've tried PEI and BuildTak. See the PEI thread for my comments. I won't use it. True enough, it is wonderful for PLA but it can stick too much for ABS. Same with PEI I think.

As John Oly recommends, I am going to try simple Window Tint. It's cheap.

I like the idea of having a surface that's removable that also flexes. I've pulled surfaces off of my Boro glass so much that I'm waiting for it to break - a 100% non-goal.

I have a 3/32 Aluminum plate between the Onyx and Glass. The plate does help with heat spreading and evenness.
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by mhackney » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:11 am

Batteau62, the place to start is with your requirements. For instance, if you never print ABS, then that constrains the problem. Similarly, Nylon has its own build surface requirements.

I'd also consider how much you print and how often you change materials, etc. All of these impose constraints. There is no one perfect solution.

Here are my thoughts (and I have lot's of experience with all of these):

Glass or aluminum with hairspray: works great with PLA and ABS. ABS requires a heated bed, PLA can be done cold but heat is better. A little messy and requires routine maintenance (respray, cleaning). Leaves a glossy surface.

Glass with gluestick: works great with PLA and ABS. ABS requires a heated bed, PLA can be done cold but heat is better. Again, messy and requires maintenance. Leaves a slightly glossy surface.

Glass with PVA glue (elmer's white glue): works great with PLA and ABS. ABS requires a heated bed, PLA can be done cold but heat is better. Again, messy and requires maintenance. Maintenance may be a little simpler, spritz with water and squeegee around. Leaves a slightly glossy surface.

Blue Painter's Tape (3M) on glass or aluminum: works well for PLA cold. Works ok heated (80°C) for ABS but can be tricky to remove tape without leaving shards/residue. Requires more maintenance than other surfaces. Cleaning between prints with acetone and replacing fairly frequently. Leaves a textured surface with seam lines where the tape strips meet.

Plain Printer Paper on glass or aluminum: works awesome for PLA at 60°C but must be adhered to bed - I use double sided tape or spray adhesive. Requires maintenance when it tears but parts just pop off when cool. If parts have shards of paper, easy to remove with water. Leaves a hie matte surface.

Plexiglas: ok for ABS cold, better heated. I was never able to print PLA on it. Easily ruined with hot end divots. Leaves a shiny or matte surface depending on plexiglass.

Kapton/Polyimide tape on glass or aluminum: works great for PLA and ABS and Polycarbonate when heated. Requires maintenance and frequent replacement. Leaves a shiny surface. Can have seam lines if using strips, not with large sheets.

Window tint on glass (but should be the same on aluminum too): works great for PLA and ABS when heated. Requires maintenance and frequent replacement. Leaves a shiny surface.

PEI on glass or aluminum: fantastic for PLA and ABS when heated. Requires virtually no maintenance (an occasional swipe with isopropyl alcohol). Parts pop off easily when still hot, if allowed to cool then can be difficult. In this case, put plate and parts in refrigerator and they will pop off. I keep 2 build plates with PEI for this reason. One side is glossy the other is matte - I use the matte side up and it gives the best surface finish of everything I've tried. Very robust, I've printed 1000s of parts on the same sheet and it is still going strong.

BuildTek on glass (or aluminum should work but I have not tested it): also fantastic for PLA and ABS. PLA will print on it cold but difficult parts may peal (corner lift). When heated, it holds the part securely. Leaves a textured pattern that is quite nice and also a go-to surface for me for this reason. It requires minimum maintenance (alcohol swipe) and seems to be very robust, I've printed 100s of parts on the same sheet and it is still going.

Polycarbonate requires a heated bed. I print exclusively on heated Kapton tape.

Nylon (all Taulman variants) require special surfaces. I print on cast nylon sheet. I've tried poplar but did not like the surface texture.

I may have missed a few since I did this from memory.

Cheers,
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by gestalt73 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:50 pm

For those of you who are using window tint as a print surface for ABS, what brand/type/manufacturer/retail store are you using?

I've tried two different types so far, and they both behave like a non-stick surface. :-(

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by snoman002 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:07 pm

I suspect the next thing will be a microengraved surface to meet the requirements of all types of printed material. I suspect that soon a pattern and/or process will be developed that relies on mechanical adhesion rather than a chemical/mechanical.

I can see it now, a material that expands a fair amount when heated with some sort of patterned surface treatment. And when allowed to cool to room temp the shrinking of the plate breaks the mechanical bonds. Good adhesion when printing, easy removal when done.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by Batteau62 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:50 pm

Thanks Michael and John! This is exactly the input I'm looking for. :D It sounds like PEI is the most versatile. I'm definitely looking for a heated solution. Right now I print mostly ABS, but Nylon and others are within reach. I just added an E3d hotend. :D So I'll probably wind up with several surfaces as funds allow.

Anybody else have experiences with some of the other choices? GeckoTek? PRINTinZ Printer Plate? or Gorilla glass? Other(s)?

As gestalt73 requested, any links to suppliers are very welcome. With some forum mining good ones can be found. But if you have it handy, post it, a little redundancy never hurts ;)
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by Nylocke » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:44 am

If you want to print Nylon well grab a sheet of Garolite. It sticks so well, I have the brim enabled to make it easier to remove :D

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by mhackney » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:46 am

With Garolite for nylon, a lot of folks mask sticking with blue tape to minimize the stick. I tried that but it was very difficult to manage.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by fredini » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:13 am

I'm looking for the ideal Taulman Nylon printing surface. I just got a 3/16" sheet of Garolite from McMaster Carr but it was badly warped and unusable. McMaster says the material is warped due to the manufacturing process. From what I've read, apparently others have had the issue too. What thickness are people using?

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by Polygonhell » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:05 pm

I think I ended up with a 1/4 inch garolite sheet which was way too expensive, anything less than that the nylon just warped the sheet it was being printed on.
However if you could find a very thin sheet, you could probably use some of the 3M high temperature tape people are using with PEI sheets to stick it to the glass bed.

FWIW Bridge is stunningly well behaved, and a lot less hassle that the other Taulman Nylon filaments.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by mhackney » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:26 pm

Odd fredini, I use the 3/16" also from McMaster and mine was dead flat. I just clip it down, no warping problems at all.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by DocHogan » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:42 am

I have a GeckoTek plate on the way, custom sized for RoMAXv2. Early print videos look impressive, from ABS to nylon, with no additives needed for adhesion or warp prevention (even the nylon sticks!)

Will give what feedback I can once it's in-hand.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ge ... uild-plate

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by teoman » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:46 pm

Does the PEI work with nylon?
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by mhackney » Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:01 pm

No.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by teoman » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:24 am

Has your gecko arrived?
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by nitewatchman » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:36 pm

Ships in October.

I think that this is fallout from the Darpa Gecko Tape Project. Basically this is a project to fine a way for a soldier to climb a wall like a Gecko. It also seems to have had some success.

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by teoman » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:43 pm

I am really curious about the gecko plate.

I sure do hope that it delivers as promised...
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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by Captain Starfish » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:16 pm

Bump.

Anyone got a Geckotek plate yet?

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Re: Build surface...which one?

Post by nitewatchman » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:25 pm

Got a note talking about a vendor delay with surface treatment. Hinted at just after Christmas more likely next year.

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