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DIY Fleks 3D (type) build plate - no glue, no hairspray

Discussion in 'Show and Tell' started by Bruce Jenkins, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    I was intrigued by the build plate types like the Fleks 3D, but being cheap, when I read in one review about using Lexan I picked up a couple of sheets (11x14 @ ~$8ea) at my local Homedepot and did some testing.

    I cut them down to 10 x 14 using some tin snips (fine tooth table saw blade or bandsaw would work too) I found that using a orbital sander with 100 grit paper and 'roughing' up the gloss finish to an even matte finish - I have been able to print any filament I've thrown at it - WITHOUT any adhesive (glue, hairspray, tape, etc).

    I don't use ABS - but PLA, PETG, Nylon and NinjaFlex have all worked.

    I can print, take off the build plate, flex it if needed, and pop off the print. If there is any residual filament left that I can't scrape off - I just sand it again to remove it.

    Occasionally I will re-sand to keep the matte finish - the gloss finish will stick so well you can't get it off.

    You can still heat your bed if needed up to ~80 c ... but I haven't found that needed / or any advantage.

    CON: you MUST NOT pre-heat your extruder if you have an auto-leveling printer that uses the nozzle to calibrate level as it will melt a hole in the plate. You will need to change your start G-code to probe for level and then heat the extruder.

    This is my start custom G-Code in MatterControl I'm using:
    Code:
    G28 X0 Y0 Z0 ; home all axes
    G29 ; probe the bed
    G1 Z30 F5000 ; lift nozzle
    M109 S[temperature] ; set the extruder temp and wait
    
    I've finally been able to print multi-up prints without worrying about one of the parts getting knocked off or coming loose. I had tried nearly every combination before and always had issues.

    I printed over 200 pieces of these at 36 up - and not one issue.
    sm-IMG_20160419_203720461.jpg

    sm-IMG_20160419_145833887.jpg sm-IMG_20160419_145840189.jpg


    This is what it looks like from the back side:
    sm-IMG_20160419_145852741.jpg

    I was also finally able to print this nearly full length sized product - when I tried to use the heated bed the back end was always peeling up because there wasn't any heat under the last 20-30mm. But on this it just stuck!
    sm-IMG_20160425_175637122.jpg


    I created some slide in 'clamps' for the back end of the plate to secure it down .. it's an easy in and out and then I just clip the front with either the 3d printed clamps or some larger spring clips:
    sm-IMG_20160425_172017473.jpg

    sm-IMG_20160425_172150463.jpg

    The back end clips are on Thingiverse:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1519876

    The front clips are also on Thingiverse - designed by jmascote:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1465977

    I have 3 of these plates - and can use both sides each for ~$8. I'm really excited how they are working.
     
    MChrisP1, Geof, Wild8Wire and 3 others like this.
  2. jonnyb44

    jonnyb44 Member

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    I might have to look into this. Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. Burncycle

    Burncycle New Member

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    Genius! Thanks for the post, I'll follow your example and see how it compares with my fleks3d plate.
     
  4. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    excellent .. please let me/us know how it compares - I'd love to know. The plates I'm using are only ~2mm thick so I'm sure they are thinner than the fleks3d plates.
     
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  5. KTMDirtFace

    KTMDirtFace Well-Known Member

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    nice.. fyi I just measured my fleks plate its about 2.75-2.8mm thick.
     
  6. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    That is very interesting ... I just measure these plates again and they are ~2.46 - so these are very close then to the fleks plate .. wonder if they are the same material.

    Lexan is just a 'brand' of Polycarbonate and has a glass transition temperature of about 147 °C (297 °F),so it softens gradually above this point and flows above about 155 °C.

    I think what is happening is the filament is bonding with the polycarbonate at it's heated temp, but with sanding the surface it's not able to completely bond and can be removed. When I tried it on the gloss side it was near impossible to get off.

    I've found I needed to play with my z-offset and have settled about .2 to .3 on the 1st layer and not 'push' it into the plate.

    I've also found that with PETG - where I never was able to use a fan on it, I can now start my fans even on the first layer and still have the print stick.

    Like your fleks plate (I'm sure) - because I sand off the gloss finish to a matte finish - the printed piece also has a matte finish on the bottom. So, if someone likes that gloss finish, or you need it for a particular print - go back and use the glass.

    That's the beauty of the ROBO 3D, is that it will level to whatever the build plate is, and with this system I just have to take off the lexan plate and leave my 'clamps' on as they don't interfere with anything. And, at ~$8 a sheet, if I mess up with the nozzle - I can rotate it 180°, or flip it over, or if totally ruined it's cheap to replace.
     
    #6 Bruce Jenkins, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
    Burncycle likes this.
  7. Geof

    Geof Volunteer Moderator
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    Awesome idea and a great cost savings! I'll give its try on my non heated ditto
     
  8. 3D Printer Man

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    Where did you buy the flex bed
     
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  9. TomerO

    TomerO Member

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    Hey, thanks for the post, awesome idea.
    I just bought some generic 10x15 (3mm thick) polycarbonate sheets (which is the same material as Lexan).
    Was able to print a wide print with PLA (printed only the first 1mm) with no adhesive problems and no curling :)

    Although the plate is flexible I used the scraper to remove the print, but little force was needed to get the first corner off so I will have a holding point and the rest just got off easily by hand.

    Anyway, only 1st print and only a test one, but so far seems good

    Edit: Also printed 2 cones (to check movement) upside down and they held really well!
    Bed was not heated at all.
     
    #9 TomerO, May 26, 2016
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  10. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    I got mine at Home Depot.
     
  11. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    That is great! It has really been working great for me too. I've been printing lots of items and no problems. It's so nice to throw down a print without messing with hair spray or glue.
     
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  12. Geof

    Geof Volunteer Moderator
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    Your going to put fleks out of business. Great job man. I'm picking mine up tomorrow!
     
  13. m4r1n5

    m4r1n5 Member

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    This is my start custom G-Code in MatterControl I'm using:
    Code:
    G28 X0 Y0 Z0 ; home all axes
    G29 ; probe the bed
    G1 Z30 F5000 ; lift nozzle
    M109 S[temperature] ; set the extruder temp and wait
    

    I use Simplify3d and my start code is
    Code:
    G28 ; home all axes
    
    G1 Z5 F5000 ; lift Z by 5mm
    
    M565 Z-1 ; set the offset for auto-leveling mechanism
    
    G29 ; run auto-level
    G28 ; home all axes
    
    G1 Z5 F5000 ; lift Z by 5mm
    
    M565 Z-1 ; set the offset for auto-leveling mechanism
    
    G29 ; run auto-level
    wil replacing this change much?
     
  14. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    I hope not ... but this is great for the DIYers that don't mine doing a bit more on our own. (and less expensive) ;)
     
  15. TomerO

    TomerO Member

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    Update: I did find one small problem (might be fixable). Sometimes parts of the first layer stick to the bed too well and separate from the build at removal.
    It usually happened to me with support so no biggie, but it is sometime a drag to remove

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
  16. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    You seem to have duplicates in your Simplify3d start code, but them main thing is that you MUST be careful that you don't set the temp for the hotend until after your auto-level. ... and make sure your hotend is at least down to 90c (just to be safe) so it won't melt the Lexan when it probes for auto-level.

    I've found I can be ~140c before it causes any problems - but it would be best to be ~90c before auto-level.

    You'll notice in my suggested start code (in MatterControl) that the temp setting M109 is the last in the sequence - and after the auto-level.

    I've also found that MatterControl using MatterSlice (which I use and like better than some other slicers I've tried) ... still starts my hotend temp in it's gcode - but if I make sure my hotend is < 60c, I'm still ok.
     
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  17. Bruce Jenkins

    Bruce Jenkins Member

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    Check your z-offset. I found that as well - if my z-offset was pushing to hard it would really stick. Try using .1mm less on your z-offset and see if that helps. I've found (for my printer setup) that I use a .1 to .2 z-offset.
     
  18. TomerO

    TomerO Member

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    I'm using the MESH leveling, but I haven't done it on the sheet itself so might be a good idea to do

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
    Geof likes this.
  19. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    Just saw Flex 3D in action for the first time yesterday. PressReset from the youtubes has a new video that is pretty impressive.

     
  20. TomerO

    TomerO Member

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    The Fleks3d guy had the same problem as me there, but way worse (some sticking to the bed)

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     

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