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What kind of belt are you using?

NYCDesigner's PET automated build platform conveyor belt

NYCDesigner's PET automated build platform conveyor belt

Sometimes there is just no replacement for experimentation.  I’ve been using my Automated Build Platform for about two weeks now1 , but have found its utility varies with the material I’m using.  Here’s what I’ve tried along with a few notes:

  • The mylar belt works much better with ABS than with PLA. 2
  • Sanding the mylar belt slightly did not help the PLA stick any better.
  • Heating the build platform did not seem to help the PLA stick any better.
  • Using just the mylar belt with a single strip of Kapton tape running around one edge of the belt works much better than wrapping the entire belt in Kapton tape.  I noticed that when the Kapton is doubled over itself it will develop wrinkles once it has been around the conveyor.  These wrinkles then remain causing an uneven build surface.
  • NYCDesigner tried out a PET belt, which he found easier to assemble than the included mylar belts, but didn’t notice the PET working any better.
  • Anfroholic suggested sanding the build surface in only one direction, to preserve the peaks and valleys on the build surface.
  • Feilen suggested a Kapton belt has worked excellently.
  • I’ve found that blue painter’s tape works great with PLA.  I haven’t tried wrapping it around my entire conveyor belt, just the print area, but I’m hopeful it would work that way too.

And a bonus list of THINGS TO NOT DO WITH YOUR AUTOMATED BUILD PLATFORM:

  • Don’t turn on the motorized conveyor belt while your object is still quite hot – especially if your object is very thin.  My test USB enclosure just became even thinner when the motor pulled it down underneath the actual build platform.
  • Don’t wrinkle your PET belt.  That’s going to cause problems with an uneven printing surface and they’re difficult (impossible?) to get out.
  • Don’t run your automated build platform backwards – it will make the Kapton tape pull up.

What have you learned with your automated build platform?  What are you using for your conveyor belt?  Are you sanding in any particular way?

  1. And loving it! []
  2. And, frankly, PLA is my new favorite thermoplastic. []
Tagged with , , , , , , 8 comments
 

8 Comments so far

  • Luis
    November 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm
     

    I’ve never been able to get ABS to stick the stock belt. Blue tape works for me. My problem has been the warpage due to belt tension. Under heat it just moves too much. I even retrofit my HBP by having a fellow CCCKC hackerspace member cut a new woodoen top plate that was 1/8″ in lieu of the LED-less board to tighten of the belt a bit. It helped but only by a little. I am hopefull to beat it before the Thing-o-matic arrives.

     
  • Eric Albert
    November 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm
     

    I’m thinking of trying those plastic sheets used for copier overhead transparencies… they have to hold up to the heat of the fuser roller. Not sure about the plastic sticking, but toner is a plastic dust of some type. Will test and let folks know – just got the ABP built and ready to test in stock form.

     
  • Nate True
    November 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm
     

    I’ve had no issues with the stock belt and PLA. I heat it to 70C (60C if the outline is not complex) and it sticks perfectly while printing and glides right off the belt during release, never bending around the edge.

    I have, however, rewritten the stock automated GCode to remove the nozzle wipe and to add a long nozzle priming extrusion to the start. It also does no warming/cooling of the platform, which I have found unnecessary for PLA. A constant 70C works great for me.

     
  • tre3
    November 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm
     

    As pointed out over on thingiverse…. Mylar is PET – it’s just a brand/trade name of the plastic chemistry :)

    If it’s working better – that sounds like whatever process the factory used to make the material you used is advantageous compared to the process used on the stock belt…

     
  • Dan Slack
    November 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm
     

    I keep making a belt out of blue painters tape, sticky side out. A litte tricky but works, unless your setup is un-even and the head drags across the belt. So far i’ve had to replace it everytime I make a part, so maybe not helpful. I haven’t learned to start it off above the platform a little, then adjust down while starting the print.

     
  • Foxdewayne
    November 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm
     

    I’ve been useing the stock belt for about a week now. I’m haveing good luck with ABS sticking to it. I did not use the stock wood sides that came with it though. I went stait to the lowrider sides by Natetrue.http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4533
    Everything works great, the belt is very tight and lays really flat. the only problem that i’ve had is when printing close to the edge the print tends to lift up, belt and all.

     
  • Charles Edward Pax
    November 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm
     

    @tre3 Mylar is boPET, not PET.

     
  • kevin
    March 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm
     

    Maybe you can find good supplier in China to resolve you problems. http://www.kyconveyor.com.

     
 

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