Archive for 3D printer heated tray

Stick this! Adhering a 3D print is key during printing

3d printing-lifted corner - Kevin CaronOne 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.)

Suave Extra Hold Hair Spray - 3D printingI 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

  1. It is hard to get off the tray
  2. It’s especially difficult to get off the sculptures
  3. 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.

Turning up the heat

Turning up the heat - 3D printing blog post, Kevin CaronIn these “Model T” days of 3D printing, which we will someday look back at fondly once everything is figured out, I spend more time than you might think tweaking, replacing, fixing things to make my printers work better.

You’ve read about a number of these changes, especially on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, which Steve Graber made after I asked him, “Can you make a really big 3D printer?”

I wrote in a previous post about trying to create a heated bed on this monster, with its 34″ print tray. Well, the heating pads just weren’t cutting it, so I came up with an entirely different solution and this time – I’m knocking on wood right now – I think I’ve figured it out ….

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Embracing the obvious

Jacob Graber, adjusting the Cerberus 250 printer in Kevin Caron's office

Jacob Graber, adjusting the Cerberus 250 printer in Kevin Caron’s office

In jumping back and forth with three different 3D printers – yeah, an embarrassment of riches – I have had to learn and remember each 3D printer’s idiosyncrasies.

Yes, there are more similarities between the Cerberus 3D’s two deltabot style printers, the 250 (right), which sits on a desktop, and my Gigante, which is 8 feet tall and can print up to 4-1/2 feet tall, but they each also have their own preferences.

(Yes, I think they’re alive, but that’s another post ….)

One advantage of having different 3D printers, though, is that I learn from them, or at least I should ….

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