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  1. #1
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Default Small upgrade to 3D printer

    My printer came with a 4mm thick Al plate bed, covered by a ~300x300 mm plastic/carbon fibre, sticker cover, onto which the printing takes place. However the prints weren't adhering all that well to the cover and after seeking advice from my tech support guy (my son) he suggested applying a UHU glue stick to the cover (apparent hairspray also works) in the area where the print will be deposited.

    This worked well. . . . too well . . . . now completed prints would not come of the cover all that easily. In most cases I had to resort to using a single sided razor blade to get in between the print and the cover and then use a sharp thin bladed spatula, and work my way around the edge of the print. After printing about 50 or so objects I invariably ended up making a number of small cuts in the surface of the cover and then ~20c size pieces of the cover started peeling off from the Al plate. Initially I was able to print around the holes but eventually there were too many.

    My tech support guy said - "the cover is considered a consumable, peel the old one off, and let the moths out of your wallet and buy a new one". Which I did, but peeling the old one off was more difficult that it appeared. Strange that bits of the cover would peel off when removing prints! The new cover cost $20 and the adhesive is a "peel backing off and you get one shot at applying the cover", and it narked me that I did not apply it straight and it looked awful.

    This cover lasted about 2 prints before it got a nick in it when removing a particularly stubborn print. Removing the next print tore a 50c size hole in the cover !!!

    Back to tech support and this time he says, "you should get yourself a tempered glass plate for the cover". They adhere well at higher bed temperatures and "let go" more readily at room temperature. I bought one for my machine ($40) but it was 7.6mm short on one side - apparently that's how they come. Not a problem, but this means the built in clips that hold the plate down onto that side of the printer cannot be used.

    Tech support says, "use bulldog clips, my latest printer came with 4 bulldog clips as the bed holding mechanism". I did this and it works well, but the bulldog clips really looked ugly so I came up with the following solution.

    It's a Al strip that acts as long Z-clip to hold the glass plate in position.
    The long clip was milled out of a piece of 6 x 12 mm Al strip sliced using a table saw from a 6mm sheet of Al

    Now the original plate holding clips can be used to hold it down
    IMG_5254.jpg

    Here's a side on view so you can see the profile.
    IMG_5255.jpg

    Then I transferred it to the back edge of the glass so you hardly even notice it
    IMG_5256.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default

    Glue stick and hairspray work quite well, as does 'abs slurry'.

    However what I now use for almost everything on my glass bed is a product called 'Dimafix'. Not sure of the chemistry behind it, but the hotter you get it, the higher its holding power - to the extent it will even hold straight polycarbonate down for about an hour and a half at 140 degrees bed temperature on my unenclosed printer before the print finally pulls away from the warping. The best I ever managed with many different surface experiments previous was about 40 mins.

    For ABS/ASA it's just brilliant, holds the print perfectly. If you try to remove the print just after completion, you'll pick the entire printer up. The trick is that when it cools back down, it lets go again, usually when the bed drops to between 35-40 degrees, at which point for ABS or PC you'll hear a loud crack that sounds like your glass plate just split in half, and the print will just be sitting there.... PLA doesn't release as spectacularly, and of course at typical PLA bed temperatures, the Dimafix doesn't have a huge amount of holding power, but the flip side is that PLA doesn't usually NEED much holding power.

    The other advantage is that Dimafix is so grabby you can lift your initial Z height up slightly, as it will hold even when the first layer is basically just being dribbled onto it, whereas many other surfaces tend to reward squishing that first layer down for fear of lifting partway through...

    If you try it out, you can figure out what's actually in it for me, as it is kind of expensive. Fortunately you use very little of it, and can just touch up the spots where the previous print was if needed. It's water soluble, so complete removal from the bed is simple if desired.

    On which last note - if you've got something stuck to the buildplate with UHU stick, dripping a bit of water around the edges of the print (on a cool build plate) can help to dissolve the bond. From memory IPA also works?

  3. #3
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Default

    Thanks for the info J&H - very useful.
    I've seen Dimafix used on Youtube clips and various comments, some claiming it was no better than glue sticks.
    I've now printed about half a dozen PLA things on the glass plate and they would still not hold unless I used the glue stick but they released easily once the bed had cooled down.

    RE: DIMAX
    You didn't say if you used the Dimax aerosol or the pen. I'm not keen on using aerosols inside my printer enclosure as they eventually just coat everything thing including inside the electronics and even though it's water soluble i don't want to be washing mother boards even on an occasional basis.

    [QUOTE=Jekyll and Hyde;1991286] . . . . .If you try it out, you can figure out what's actually in it for me, as it is kind of expensive. Fortunately you use very little of it, and can just touch up the spots where the previous print was if needed. It's water soluble, so complete removal from the bed is simple if desired.

    according to the MSDS for Dimafix it contains
    1 < 2 % Isopropyl alcohol
    2,5 < 5 % 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone-vinyl acetate polymer
    30 < 40 % Ethyl alcohol
    60 < 70 % Dimethyl ether
    The 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone-vinyl acetate polymer appears to be binder which BTW is widely used in agriculture as a binder for seed coatings and slow release fertilisers so its probably not too bad.

    The MSDS does not say whether it's for the aerosol or the pen but I suspect that they are similar, the aerosol probably just has a propellant added.
    I also stumbled across this which seems to be useful.
    Screen Shot 2021-11-11 at 7.57.14 am.png

    RE: Water/IPA tip for letting go of prints
    Thanks for that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Thanks for the info J&H - very useful.
    I've seen Dimafix used on Youtube clips and various comments, some claiming it was no better than glue sticks.
    I've now printed about half a dozen PLA things on the glass plate and they would still not hold unless I used the glue stick and they released easily once the bed had cooled down.

    RE: DIMAX
    You didn't say if you used the Dimax aerosol or the pen. I'm not keen on using aerosols inside my printer enclosure as they eventually just coat everything thing including inside the electronics and even though its water soluble i don't want to be washing mother boards even on an occasional basis.
    I have the pen. Not sure if the aerosol is even available anymore, I think that may have been the original product and they may have replaced it with the pen?

    If you're only printing in PLA all the time, most of the time glue stick on glass should be perfectly sufficient, and release nicely, and there shouldn't normally be any significant gain with Dimafix, as the bed temperature isn't high enough to really make it grip hard (as shown in the graph).

    For anything else requiring a higher bed temperature, it certainly works far better than glue sticks for me (and a mate who does more commercial scale printing of ABS), but from much reading over the years, different brands and colours of glue stick can vary wildly in their effectiveness.

    I also wonder whether the gluesticks we get here are quite the same composition as the US gets, as my results haven't quite matched up in the past...

    I tend to chop and change between different filaments (rarely PLA these days!), which is why I mentioned Dimafix works with PLA - I don't have to clean it all off the bed and change to something else when I change filament, I just touch up whatever bits need it, and hit go.

    Is it likely that the "1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone-vinyl acetate polymer" is the active ingredient, and the rest is just carrier solvents? I was wondering whether there is a way to make your own, or use a more garden variety product. Although I'm not even 20% of the way through the one I bought, so it's not that relevant I guess.

  5. #5
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jekyll and Hyde View Post
    I have the pen. Not sure if the aerosol is even available anymore, I think that may have been the original product and they may have replaced it with the pen?
    Aerosol is still available thru Element14.

    If you're only printing in PLA all the time, most of the time glue stick on glass should be perfectly sufficient, and release nicely, and there shouldn't normally be any significant gain with Dimafix, as the bed temperature isn't high enough to really make it grip hard (as shown in the graph).
    Maybe its my glass plate but the PLA I have doesn't stick that well to it - about the same as the plastic/carbon fibre sticker I have on the Al plate - unless I use UHU.

    For anything else requiring a higher bed temperature, it certainly works far better than glue sticks for me (and a mate who does more commercial scale printing of ABS), but from much reading over the years, different brands and colours of glue stick can vary wildly in their effectiveness.
    Tha 's what my son says as well. We're both using the BIC brand at the moment. The kling-on factor for PLA on the standard plastic/carbon fibre plate cover using BIC glue is very high.

    I've also used the BIC glue stick with PETG, TPU and a "PLA wood fibre mix" filaments on the old Al with plastic/carboin fibre sticker and found it works well - Haven't tried an other stuff yet.

    I also wonder whether the gluesticks we get here are quite the same composition as the US gets, as my results haven't quite matched up in the past...
    Could be.

    I tend to chop and change between different filaments (rarely PLA these days!), which is why I mentioned Dimafix works with PLA - I don't have to clean it all off the bed and change to something else when I change filament, I just touch up whatever bits need it, and hit go.
    I would certainly like that.

    Is it likely that the "1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone-vinyl acetate polymer" is the active ingredient, and the rest is just carrier solvents? I was wondering whether there is a way to make your own, or use a more garden variety product. Although I'm not even 20% of the way through the one I bought, so it's not that relevant I guess.
    Just after I sent the last post I realised the dimethyl ether in the brew will be the propellant, so that is not needed
    The vinyl-2-pyrrolidone-vinyl acetate compound is widely used in hair and skin care products but buying small amounts looks tricky.
    A web site in China sells it but minimum buy is 25kgs.

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