One of the challenges of 3D printing that I think – knock on wood – I’ve finally worked through is adherence to the print tray.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a 3D print come loose from the tray while a print is underway, and it’s something that’s happened to me far more times than I even like to think about.
The Cerberus 3D Gigante’s large format prints are particularly prone to this problem – I have a few large prints the corners of which have “flipped up” slightly because they cooled faster than the rest of the print. See an example to the right – fortunately in this case, it works with the concept and theme of the sculpture!
Sometimes, though, a lifted corner ruins the print altogether.
Other times, on any of my printers, a 3D print simply comes loose from the print tray – then it’s game over.
But I’ve learned a few things and updated some to improve my quality and finish rate ….
My 3D Systems CubeX came with some sticky stuff that I used on that 3D printer until I got my Cerberus 3D machines, when I learned about using hairspray. Yes, hairspray. (I’m sure they wonder at the grocery store when I buy three or four cans of Suave Extreme Hold hairspray. I just smile.)
I still use hairspray – more on that in a moment – but I’ve gotten away from using blue tape. That was the other trick I learned when I got my Gigante. I’d apply painters’ blue tape – the kind that is supposed to release easily – to the print tray, pressing down just as hard as I could. It worked sometimes, but not always. Also, not all blue tape is created equally, apparently.
I don’t like the blue tape because
- It is hard to get off the tray
- It’s especially difficult to get off the sculptures
- It doesn’t always seem to work.
What seems to work best is a heated tray. That’s why I added one to my CubeX and another to the Gigante. 3D prints adhere much better with heat! I don’t think I’ve had a problem with large format prints lifting up since I installed the heated tray on the Gigante.
Of course, you don’t just use heat. Before I start a 3D print, I also clean the print tray well, then spray it liberally with hairspray before I start printing.
Of all the challenges with 3D printing, I think – THINK – I have this one licked.