Aluminum or other build platforms?

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albill
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Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by albill » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:21 pm

The perforated board for printing kills me. It makes it impossible to print without rafts.

I'm considering getting a piece of aluminum or similar to have a smooth, heatable, build platform like many other printers use. Does anyone know of a good source for aluminum of the right size?

Basically, the quality of the build platform has turned into my number one issue printing, since, even with two different kinds of PLA, I can't get PLA to reliably separate from rafts but I can't print raftless without another build surface.

I've tried the Gecko boards but after just five prints, the board is already deteriorating (and isn't entirely flat), making it less than ideal.

amd-tec
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by amd-tec » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:34 pm

Board without holes would be nice.
"3D design with intelligent printing"
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LonV
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by LonV » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:01 am

Have you tried glass with Kapton tape? I'm experimenting with it right now. I ordered the glass online and had it cut to size (although I've heard your hardware store can do this too).

I've had pretty good success with printing with Kapton tape directly on the metal build platform. It's just kind of annoying if you need to replace the tape, since you need tools. The only problem with my glass is the mini clips that hold the perf board aren't big enough now...so I'll have to figure something else out.

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wilsonj
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by wilsonj » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:23 am

Glass and Kapton tape will be your best bet.

For a seamless surface use 140mm kapton tape found here http://www.3dprintergear.com.au/140mm_w ... kap140.htm
Regards
Jamie
3DPrinterGear.com.au

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scubamatt41
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by scubamatt41 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:23 am

Has anyone printed on a copper board?
I'm also looking for other materials to print on. Indeed the gekko does not hold long on the UP mini. I think it's slowly transforming into a prefboard :shock:

@ forbinone. Was this a one time selling action? Pushing the Gekko and now not returning any emails?

Cheers, Matt
Always breath out on the way UP

roller
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by roller » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:45 pm

The reprap project has trialled many different materials and the surfaces of choice for ABS are still kapton and blue painter tape on glass (or other flat surface) with kapton being the best. Acrylic is also popular but prone to excessive sticky and of course melts if you get you hotend too close. Someone talked about polycarbonate working well earlier - it might be a nice option.

With Kapton tape - be wary of your source. There is a lot of fake kapton around that does not adhere anywhere near as well because its effectively coloured packing tape. By from a reputable printer/reprap dealer who knows their stuff.

For PLA the preferred surfaces are glass (hot - about 50C) and blue painters tape if you have no heat.

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scubamatt41
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by scubamatt41 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:09 pm

Hi all,
FYI

A colleague of mine found this "Material Expansion Coefficients" at "http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb ... -90143.pdf"
Matt
Always breath out on the way UP

roller
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by roller » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:09 pm

A handy bit of info generally but I am not sure coefficients of expansion are in any way relevant. You should be preheating your bed up to temp before printing - that little variation occurs during printing. The expansion of glass is actually handy for printing as you can remove your print just by allowing it to cool, shrink and it pops off nicely.

Finding a suitable material is all about adhesion and not expansion though.

pleppik
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by pleppik » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:36 pm

albill wrote:The perforated board for printing kills me. It makes it impossible to print without rafts.

I'm considering getting a piece of aluminum or similar to have a smooth, heatable, build platform like many other printers use. Does anyone know of a good source for aluminum of the right size?
I've been experimenting with a lot of different build platforms lately, and I plan to write it up as an article at some point, but here's a quick preview....

I've tested perfboard, Kapton on glass, ABS on glass, acrylic, polycarbonate, Gekko, and a few wacky things (cardboard cereal box worked surprisingly well). I have a few more things I want to test like hairspray (currently popular in the reprap community).

For ABS, so far my all-around favorite is polycarbonate sheet (aka Lexan), which has excellent adhesion, good release, excellent durability, and requires almost no prep time. You can buy a small sheet of polycarbonate from any home improvement store and cut several plates from it for a cost of $1 to $2 per plate. Clip it to your platform with four binder clips. When the print is done and cool, flex the sheet a little to release it (the polycarbonate won't warp like the Gekko), or if it sticks a little too much, get in there with a spatula or scraper to help it along. The polycarbonate actually works a little better if it's a bit dirty--your fingerprints will make it release more easily.

I haven't tested much with PLA, but have had good luck with plain window glass. I've also heard good things about acrylic (Plexiglass) sheet for PLA.

If you switch between PLA and ABS and so use both polycarbonate and acrylic platforms, be sure to label them--they can be hard to tell apart, and acrylic warps badly at the higher bed temperatures used for ABS.

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scubamatt41
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by scubamatt41 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:40 pm

roller wrote:A handy bit of info generally but I am not sure coefficients of expansion are in any way relevant. You should be preheating your bed up to temp before printing - that little variation occurs during printing. The expansion of glass is actually handy for printing as you can remove your print just by allowing it to cool, shrink and it pops off nicely.

Finding a suitable material is all about adhesion and not expansion though.
Hi roller,
In the hurry of my discovery I copied the link but what was left out where the numbers for Glass and Aluminium. I included a link to a more detailed table for those who are interessed.
The thermal coefficient for Glass is 5.9 10-6 m/m K* compared to 22.2.1 10-6 m/m K* for Aluminium.
Just another reason to go for Glass instead of Aluminium. But he, differant strokes for differant folks :)

*http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/linea ... -d_95.html
Always breath out on the way UP

ftdesigns
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by ftdesigns » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:22 pm

I've done hundreds of prints using kapton tape on the perf board, with most durable tape being one large piece cut from a 6" wide roll (cost me $45). Although I do battle warping on sharp edges frequently, it's not so bad on thin, rounded edges. And I'm always printing raftless... can't stand ripping that thing off the bottom of my parts and it's ugly/unprofessional looking.

LonV
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by LonV » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:39 pm

I find with Kapton I'm always tearing it after 1 or 2 prints. Does that not happen to you? Where did you get it from?

ftdesigns
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by ftdesigns » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:45 pm

LonV wrote:I find with Kapton I'm always tearing it after 1 or 2 prints. Does that not happen to you? Where did you get it from?
amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007G1UZAG/ref ... T1_3p_dp_1
looks like the price went up.

it can tear VERY easily, gotta remove with much care. I have 2 platforms per machine, so when one print is done i take the platform off while hot and put the other on. then i don't have to rush between prints when removing parts.

arhi
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Re: Aluminum or other build platforms?

Post by arhi » Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:10 am

I'm printing raftless on aluminium plate (1.4mm) .. used to cover it with kapton and add some hair spray but gave up on that as there's no way to print big parts .. so I moved back to slury ... here's example (printed 5min ago)
print na abs sluri.jpg
yellow ABS on ALU plate covered with ABS slury (11x9cm object)
print na abs sluri.jpg (634.18 KiB) Viewed 11688 times
I also use printbite as it's great, does not require slury, glue, hair spray... but it requires 120-130C print bed temp and I have issues maintaining that with UP! so ..

btw, if you want to print PLA, not sure what's the deal, PLA works on almost any surface you want ... alu+hairspray, glass+hairspray, blue tape, gray tape... it warps insignificantly so anything that will keep it "there" will work .. glass+hairspray will give you best possible bottom finish! I'm printing 40x30cm PLA on glass or on acrylic .. no issues at all..

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