Aluminium surface for Heated Bed

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Jensa

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Sep 23, 2012, 6:30:58 PM9/23/12
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Just blogged a bit about using an aluminium surface over glass as a build surface - Highly recommended! http://bit.ly/Qt2X8h

J

am001

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Sep 23, 2012, 6:50:00 PM9/23/12
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I agree. Through various iterations I have ended up with a 6mm aluminium bed and it is excellent. You will find you can use much lower temps than glass becaues of the better conductivity, and hence there is less warping of your parts.

One caution though; I started off with a 3mm aluminium plate and it warped after a few uses, because of the differential expansion between the fibreglass PCB and aluminium.

It is not so bad with 6mm because it resists the bending but it does happen. You will find the corners slightly higher than the centre. Solution is to keep the screws slightly slack allowing them to slide against each other.

If you want to build bigger, next stage is enclosure. I am now able to build distortion free ABS up to the entire build area, simply by taping bubble wrap over the openings, and over a simple frame at the top. Before ABS gave splits between the layers at the edges because of the tension. It only keeps it at about 45degC but it is enough to completely eliminate this. No extra heaters, just the Alu plate.

Andrew

WilliamKempton

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Sep 24, 2012, 3:14:14 AM9/24/12
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Good stuff! Happy to be og help as an alu.supplier. all that remains now is to try out a heated platform myself.

Jelle Boomstra

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Sep 24, 2012, 4:23:23 AM9/24/12
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My experience with aluminium is that you need to mill it flat to get a good printing surface. We had ordered a stack of 5mm 240x240 sheets, and although they were cut with a saw, all of them had a bow in them.

On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM, WilliamKempton <wil...@kempton.no> wrote:
Good stuff! Happy to be og help as an alu.supplier. all that remains now is to try out a heated platform myself.

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Boman33

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Sep 24, 2012, 5:20:13 AM9/24/12
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I left a message on Jensa’s blog but it has not shown up yet.

 

You are correct that typically regular aluminum plate is usually not flat enough.  The accurate type is ground to flatness and not cheap.  It is typically used for tooling applications.  Glass is normally very flat.

Bertho

Anna Joshi

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Sep 24, 2012, 5:43:40 AM9/24/12
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The Do's & Don'ts of an Engineering student.



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Jensa

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Sep 24, 2012, 5:45:24 AM9/24/12
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I dunno if William picked some good alu on random, but the one he made for me is really flat and no warping yet. I'm also not seeing any lifting in the edges, but I haven't printed anything big with ABS yet either.

@am001 I'm very much aware of the ABS cracking problem :( I tend to patch things up using ABS sludge. It works but it's very half-baked. Would love to see some pictures of your setup. Got that on Flickr or something?

J

am001

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:01:58 AM9/24/12
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It doesn't look pretty, as I built it in 10mins as an experiment out of a roll of bubble wrap and masking tape, but its very effective so has stayed there ever since. Ill try and take a pic tonight. One day I'll make something permanent, but mostly the modifications are born out of necessity and making it look good isn't necessary! The heat eventually takes the adhesive strength from the tape, so I guess that will be the point it gets replaced.

My aluminium is only out by a tiny bit. I only notice if I print at 0.075mm layers or smaller. Again one day I'll take it into work and dress it on a mill.

Chuck Ernst

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Sep 24, 2012, 10:56:48 AM9/24/12
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I have a 6mm plate and instead of screwing the heating element to it I taped it with Kapton tape. This allows the fiberglass heating element to expand and contract at a different rate that the aluminum. I got sick of reapplying kapton tape to the aluminum bed and have recently put a glass bed on top of that. (i used Firelight glass rated to 800 F) I needed to crank the heat up and it looks like the aluminum stabilizes the heat of the glass. I don't have cold spots from cooling that other people have reported.

Chuck

am001

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Sep 24, 2012, 4:45:21 PM9/24/12
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OK a couple of people asked about pics so here is my setup. I did say it wasn't pretty.

What you can see with the bubble curtain pulled up, is a 400W switched mode PSU whose fan exits into the chamber, and a 6mm aluminium bed attached to 10mm polycarbonate backing with a prusa PCB heater in between. Yes the tape is in a poor state an needs replacing. Note the polycarbonate window taped in the side for in print observations! There are 2 strips of plastic curtain rail that form the top section of the chamber.

Here is a part I printed for a client which prompted the bubble wrap Horrible splitting all the way up both sides. Part is about 110mm tall.

Here is exactly the same part printed again inside the bubble wrap. Perfect. The edge is dead straight all the way up. The air in the chamber is at about 40 to 45 degC, mostly from the heat off the aluminium bed.

So if someone gets there before me and designs an acrylic or plywood with windows casing for the machine, my experiment here shows it is well worth doing.

Andrew


On Monday, September 24, 2012 10:45:24 AM UTC+1, Jensa wrote:

Arg3D

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Sep 24, 2012, 5:55:13 PM9/24/12
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Hey Andrew, its me, Ignacio. Thanks for the pics. The setup is great and looks more than fine to me. Do you use a relay for the PSU or just connect directly to the arduino and drive everything from there?

ddurant

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:17:22 PM9/24/12
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Interesting!

Any expirements just wrapping the sides?

am001

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:45:46 PM9/24/12
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The sides would stop draughts cooling the model which might help, but most of the heat would go up and not keep it warm so you wouldn't get all the benefit.

Andrey Shur

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:46:02 PM9/24/12
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You guys might be interested in my setup detailed here
http://forum.ultimaker.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1011

I cut open several oven bags and wrapped it around the machine. I have
since placed the stepper motors outside, and it seems to work pretty
well, although I haven't tried printing anything as big as you guys
did.

On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 3:17 PM, ddurant <ddur...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Interesting!
>
> Any expirements just wrapping the sides?
>

am001

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:47:40 PM9/24/12
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I just connected the PSU by soldering it onto the arduino shield at the back of the DC connector, and then connect the heated bed to the screw terminals. The FET seems to handle it no problem.

am001

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Sep 24, 2012, 6:53:08 PM9/24/12
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Nice!

Any idea what the rated tempeature of the steppers is? I think my extruder motor is still warmer than the x y ones even though they are inside the chamber.

I am trying in my spare (ha!) time to build a DLP resin printer. I printed the resin vat for that on the ultimaker which was 210mm x 170mm x 55mm in ABS and it came out dead straight. It really works! Even on small prints there is a benefit though

Jensa

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Sep 25, 2012, 4:34:33 AM9/25/12
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@am001 Looking odd, but good? ;-)
Good example of the problem too. What voltage is that 400w PSU of yours? 12 or 24?

@Andrey I saw this one a while back. looks like a good solution as well.

I were to print several larger ABS pieces, I think I would get some "doors" made out of plywood. Closing off the top would have to be done with one of the solutions that you guys have though.

J

am001

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Sep 25, 2012, 6:19:33 AM9/25/12
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Its a 24v one from eBay, but it is actually adjustable from 18v to 27v, so I have it running at 19v as per original UM supply. I think 24v

Frans de Jong

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Oct 15, 2013, 5:26:59 AM10/15/13
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it looks like you took no precautions on electrical shortcuts between PCB and aluminium? Is that correct?
And gives no troubles?
 
Frans
Op maandag 24 september 2012 00:30:58 UTC+2 schreef Jensa:

Jensa

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Oct 15, 2013, 6:26:20 PM10/15/13
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Hi,
Yeah. The PCB is covered and has no contact points on the side facing the aluminium. The solder points are thus on the bottom, facing the wooden bed. Works like a charm, but other PCB's than the MK1 might require a layer of Kapton for insulation.

J

Frans

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Oct 16, 2013, 3:47:43 AM10/16/13
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Hoi,
THX.
I got the MK1 and will try my luck. 
I now print OK in PLA on bare glass (cheap Ikea tile) taped on the MK1 with kapton,  and ABS with wood glue-water mix.
But for larger objects the tile is too small.
Frans


2013/10/16 Jensa <jen...@gmail.com>

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