Saturday, March 14, 2015

Upgrading the Solidoodle Press Print Bed

I wasn't satisfied with the performance of the glass bed on my Press-- nothing would stick to it. I've seen a bunch of people say to use hair spray or a glue stick, but that's a band-aid solution to me. None of the other 3d printers I've used have needed any special treatments done to the bed to make them work, and I wanted the same to be true for the Press.

I decided to try the same method of print bed as the Up! Mini 3d printer, which is a perforated board of FR4 (the stuff they use to make a lot of PCBs with). I've used the Up! Mini and have been impressed with it's "plug-and-play-ness".

I found a 10"x10" unclad FR4 Perf Board on DigiKey that looked promising, and once I trimmed off a side so it was the width of the original bed it slid right in to the printer. I put the original glass bed in the bottom of the printer for safekeeping.

After running the Z-Axis calibration I was able to print out a test part from another project and it came out the first try.

There is definitely more work to be done with the settings for the support material, but for now I can at least print basic parts.

Update: Here's a video showing how easy it is to remove parts from the perf board, and a photo of the finished test part. These ridges come off very easily and leave a smooth surface with a knife, or if you have rafting layers it becomes a non-issue.

Update 3/17/2015:
After spending more time calibrating the printer and removing the top propriatary spool holder I was able to print a larger part with good results. I also added binder clips to the front corners to keep them from lifting up.