Flexible Magnetic Printing Surfaces: Bye Bye Putty Knife

Flexible Magnetic Printing Surfaces: Bye Bye Putty Knife

Postby ktfergus » 2017-Jul-Wed-19-Jul

Just wanted to post some success I've had experimenting with different printing surfaces.

Nearly a year ago when I last upgraded my printer beds, I switched to steel. This has two advantages: first the z probe registers much sooner (thus higher/further from the bed), this allows me to raise up the probe so it's less likely to hit stray filament blobs or prints. Plus, I can place thicker print surfaces on the bed without gouging the hotend nozzle into them.

Here's a pic of the 305x150mm bed on my older Simple:

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The second advantage of the steel bed is that I can use magnets to attach easily removable print surfaces. When a print completes, I simply pull the magnet off the bed, & then bend the magnetic sheet and the print peels right off; no putty knife required. For a long time I printed both PETG & TPU directly on 0.06" thick vinyl coated flexible magnets:

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I purchased 24"x24" sheets from McMaster Carr for about $8 a piece, & then cut them into 6"x6" & 6" x 12" sections.

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Here are several prints in progress:

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Here's a print that utilized the whole bed:

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The only down side to the vinyl coating, is that eventually it would wear out & peel off with some of the prints:

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I've been trying other surfaces attached to magnetic adhesive backed strips:

Kapton sheets work really well, but are a bit pricey:

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These styrene sheets are fairly cheap & work pretty well:

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However, the least expensive surface I've found so far is "Metalized Polyester" film. $10 for a 27" x 12 foot roll at McMaster. It performs remarkably similar to Kapton sheets at a fraction of the cost:

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I'll update this thread as I try other surfaces. I also have a sheet of garolite which supposedly works well for nylon, which I hope to try when I get the eSun nylon I just ordered.
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Flexible Magnetic Printing Surfaces: Bye Bye Putty Knife

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Re: Flexible Magnetic Printing Surfaces: Bye Bye Putty Knife

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Jul-Wed-20-Jul

Great work! Thanks for the input. I'm going to cross-reference this post in my catalog of useful posts on printing surfaces.

By the way, I tried very many different surfaces for nylon, including garolite and canvas. Garolite is hard to work with, and often contaminates the bottom of the print because the nylon sticks to it so well that you're tearing Garolite when you take off the print. Taulman no longer recommends garolite; they recommend Elmer's glue on glass (http://taulman3d.com/nylon-645-spec.html). I ended up with Scotch Craft Stick on glass, which is very similar to Elmer's liquid PVA glue but easier to apply. Another choice is Elmer's Washable School Glue (which is purple when moist but clear when dry). Either one works, but the Elmer's seems to be stronger; I don't like using it unless I have to because it's almost too strong. I think that the substrate under the glue doesn't matter too much; it probably could be any of those surfaces you've tried.
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