Replacing the Sindoh 3D Printer Bed Lamination Sheet

I have had my Sindoh 3D printer for quite a while and it is a lovely machine to use in conjunction with Fusion 360.   I have printed all manner of items for the workshop, for projects and for friends and family.

For some time it has been a problem to print objects central on the bed.   While they would print OK, they are reluctant to come away from the bed surface and then having removed them from the bed, the raft would be very reluctant to leave the printed object.   I have got round this by offsetting the print position in X and Y on the table.   If I have a large object to print that overlaps the problem area I sprinkle talcum powder on the bed surface to ease freeing the object from the bed but this does not help the raft removal.

The print bed is an aluminium sheet that slides in and out of the machine.  This has a PTFE style laminated coating sheet held in place by adhesive. If I inspect the centre of the plate I can see the clear outline of bubbles under the lamination sheet.   These have got worse as time has gone by.  I imagine the bubbles create a finite air gap that upsets the temperature stability of the plate in the damaged area.

The situation had reached a frustrating peak today and lead to me totally removed the laminating sheet to leave bare aluminium.   The printer could not cope with bare ally and the PLA would not stick.  Some other laminating medium was going to be needed.

I had seen discussion regarding the use of what we in the UK call Masking Tape as a laminating medium.   I use 3M Blue Multipurpose Builders Masking Tape for Super Glue mounting of stock on the milling machine.   Having this to hand, I thought it worth a try. The tape is 48mm wide so I had to fix a number of strips across the plate to cover it completely and then trim the edges.  As you can see below, I didn’t quite get them parallel and butted to each other I was keen to run a test print.

Maybe I was lucky but the job came off the tape easily and the raft pulled off straightaway with no damage to the print.   The tape hasn’t bubbled or coming  off in any way so it looks good.

builders tape on Sindoh 3D printer bedplate
3M Blue Builders Tape on my Sindoh print bed

I am not sure how long the tape is going to last but I have got a full reel to keep swapping it out.

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Finishing the surface of 3D Models

Over Christmas I had 3D printed a clock frame for my granddaughter’s birthday.   The size ended up being three separate prints which I later glued together.  All three prints were done ‘face down’ on the Sindoh bed and all printed on a raft.   Once the raft had been removed the finish was not very elegant as it showed the striations of the raft on what would be the viewed surface.   The print was in PLA and I initially did some tests on scrap prints to see if I could rub a surface down.   This was not an ideal approach and I was not too keen to start on the clock in this manner.

Next idea was to use Gorilla twin pack glue cut with Meths.   This created a very runny adhesive mix that could be brushed onto the surface of the print.  Surprisingly enough despite being ‘modified’ the glue went off and was quite hard to the touch.   It did not rub down all that well.

Reading up on the net there is a product called XTC-3D which is made just for this purpose.   It is expensive but does stretch a long way in use.  It is a twin pack mix in 2:1 ratio and once mixed it has a setting time of around 20 minutes so you need to get your act together and be well prepared. The makers recommend using a wide foam brush to apply the compound.   This was quite good in that it ‘scraped’ across the tops of the striations and the filler settled like levelling compound does on a floor.

I left it to harden off overnight and then rubbed down wet with 400 grit paper on a flat surface.   This kept the dust damped. The finish was excellent.   I then undercoated and glossed with acrylic spray paint.

The final clock frame looked very good with no obvious signs of the printing artefacts.  While pricey, I would recommend the XTC-3D product for this purpose.

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