Polycarb bed.

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Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Tue-06-Apr

IMG_1585-small.jpg

I haven't been around for a while so someone may already have tried this.
I was looking at printing ABS on an unheated bed.
The reason is that if you make a really big printer - hotbeds become difficult.

When i first got the printrbot (almost 2 years already) I tried a PC bed but the bed buckled when heated - a cold bed doesn't.

I had some minor success printing on a cold bed by printing the first layer as hot as I could and very slow ( about 1/5 normal).
I used PVA as a surface layer.

As well as being a good surface I think it insulates better and doesn't cool the extruded plastic as much as glass or metal.

Small easy to moderate pieces worked but those hard to print things still curled.
The ones that did work had less bottom distortion than when printed on a hot bed.

I then stuck the polycarb onto glass with double sided tape and used it both warm and cold with PLA.
It worked quite well.

After a month or two I tried ABS bed temperatures. I didn't expect the tape to work so hot but it did.

ABS sticks well and usually comes off Ok but I did end up breaking the thin glass.

Version two was PC glued to aluminum with contact adhesive (photo above).

I managed to print a big ABS piece I've never managed to keep flat before.
This glue didn't hold too well and the PC buckled when removing a large job.

Today I glued another one using 5 minute epoxy - some bubbles but so far so good.

ABS sticks very well - maybe a little too well but that could be adjusted by running a bit cooler.
One thought I had was the print the perimeters hot and the drop the bed temp a bit.

I did 40mm high job a little while ago where I turn the bed off after first 20 layers or so and all was well.

To prepare the bed I'm just using isocal (isoprop) wipe. Don't use acetone or ABS juice on PC.

I did give it one acetone wipe to give the surface and initial etch.
Small bits of stuck ABS can be hard to remove - I don't bother but a hot gun should shift them.

IMHO ABS sticks to PC just as well as capton but it is less likely to get damaged when it comes to removal.

The PC is 1mm thick.
Eddie
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby thawkins » 2014-Apr-Tue-07-Apr

This is very very cool, I have a large format printer, (350mmx270mm) which I have been trying to find a supplier of 6mm aluminium to build a bed. However 6mm PC is easy to find, and easy to shape.

Do you think that putting a heat bed wire onto the back of the PC with kapon tape would work on heating it?

Would 6mm PC Be strong enough to not need any support.

Alternativly if I sandwhich the elements between 2x6mm plates would that work?
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby evanalmighty » 2014-Apr-Tue-15-Apr

Wait so are you saying that you're printing on PC bed with no heat? Sorry I am not clear.
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby KDog » 2014-Apr-Tue-17-Apr

I'm interested, too, if you are able to make it work with no heat. I imagine that PC wouldn't hold up to heat without being adhered to something stable. Even if it was "thick". The epoxy sounded like a good idea. Is it possible to get double sided kapton? The glue on it has never had any problem with heat.

Can you tell us what is on the PC plate? Is it abs juice?

Brian Evans (hardwired.cc) used some etched acrylic to print PLA on. He claims it worked well. Not sure if he tried ABS as I think he only prints in PLA. Look on page 2 of his blog for his slick looking plate.

Cheers,

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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Tue-19-Apr

thawkins wrote:This is very very cool, I have a large format printer, (350mmx270mm) which I have been trying to find a supplier of 6mm aluminium to build a bed. However 6mm PC is easy to find, and easy to shape.

Do you think that putting a heat bed wire onto the back of the PC with kapon tape would work on heating it?

Would 6mm PC Be strong enough to not need any support.

I don't know.
The problem is PC expands and bows when heated. It would have to be thick, flat , evenly heated with room to expand when it wants to.
6mm should be strong enough unsupported for a small bed - your guess is as good as mine for 350mm
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Tue-19-Apr

evanalmighty wrote:Wait so are you saying that you're printing on PC bed with no heat? Sorry I am not clear.

I have printed with no heating on the bed with some success but I'm using heat in normal use.
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Tue-19-Apr

KDog wrote:
Can you tell us what is on the PC plate? Is it abs juice?

KDog


I did say not the use abs juice or acetone.

There nothing on the PC when using it heated.
The messy looking stuff is the adhesive under the PC.
I used PVA when unheated - heating is easier if you can.
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby KDog » 2014-Apr-Tue-20-Apr

Doh! of course not acetone. Sorry. Was surprised that the epoxy looked like that through the plate. Have you thought of etching the PC?
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Tue-20-Apr

KDog wrote:Doh! of course not acetone. Sorry. Was surprised that the epoxy looked like that through the plate. Have you thought of etching the PC?

It is not epoxy. The photo is of the contact adhesive version.
I'm using the epoxy version now - looking good.

Not sure what you mean by etch.

As I said in the first post I gave it an initial acetone wipe to "etch" the surface. I did that to the back as well before gluing.
The PC has been laying around for 10 years and had old epoxy and other muck on it so I had to scrub and sand it as well.

I bonded it under vacuum but 5 minutes isn't much working time.
I'll probably use a slower laminating resin next time and work the bubbles out better.
Maybe vacuum infuse it.
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Re: Polycarb bed.

Postby eddiema » 2014-Apr-Wed-18-Apr

Here is a photo of my problem piece printed on hot PC.
No surface prep other than an isocol wipe.
This piece has curled its toes on every other surface I've tried.
Not even a hit of curl here.
This is the epoxy glued PC - only used a couple of times and not quite level yet.
IMG_1590-crp.jpg

It took a little grunt to un-stick it but it came off cleanly without damage to anything.
No cleanup at all for this photo - just a bit of skirt remains on the bed.
IMG_1593-crp.jpg
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