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. []