Category Archives: PLA

Amazing Way to Remove PLA Prints from Build Platform

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Ok, I own a Makerbot Replicator 2. It prints 3D objects in PLA plastic. Great! Cool! And so forth… One thing you notice if you own one of these machines is that the print sticks to the build plate with a kung fu grip. This is especially true of large prints. I can’t pry them off to save my life!

I’ve resorted to removing the build plate, then hitting the print with a rubber mallet. Sometimes I have to hit the print several times! Not good!

I read as much as I could find on the internet about this problem but the closest info I could find was for someone printing on a sheet of glass. They mentioned that if they let their printer cool down, the print would just pop off!

I tried that… even waiting over night! The print was still stuck really good… mallet time!

Then, yesterday evening I had an idea. Maybe cooling down to room temperature wouldn’t work for me… but what if I got the the print even cooler? Hmmm.

So, after my next big print, I removed the build plate with the print on it, tried to pull it off (stuck real good as ever) and tossed it in the freezer for a few seconds. I took it out of the freezer, gave it a twist with my bare hand and… Presto!  It popped right off! No struggling. No problem! For me this is huge!

Getting the print off usually would also pull on the surface I have on the build plate (right now a sheet of skinz).  This should remove or at least greatly reduce this problem.

I do not know yet if this works for ABS. I can’t do this with the Makerbot Replicator 2X since the build plate is not removable (I’m not going to stick the whole printer in the freezer)! Maybe if I clipped on a sheet of glass onto the build plate? 🙂

Anyways, I thought I would let you know.

PLA Printing Saga Continues

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I did a print on my Makerbot Replicator 2 in True Yellow PLA filament. It was truly a bear to remove it from the blue painter’s tape covered build platform. The print actually split/cracked some as I tried to remove it! Not good! 🙁

I notice that to some extent, as the plastic shrinks, it starts lifting the painter’s tape up off the platform little by little. I am replacing the tape quite often.

I noticed when I went to the Microsoft Store and saw their demo printer printing thing that their printer’s build plate was covered with something different, and that they seemed to not be having the problems of their prints either not sticking or sticking way too much. Hmmm. So I went back to their store to ask some questions. It seems that they have been using a stick-on Skinz layer that sticks to the build plate and then trim it with a razor. The guy I was talking with said that it seems to last about a month for them. And… he gave me a sheet of the stuff to try out! 🙂

I have applied it my build plate! The logos printed on it are crooked and upside down… But do I care? No, I am not after fashion… I am after better success with my 3D Prints! I will let you know how this goes.

Getting PLA Prints to Stick Without a Raft

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Printing in PLA on my Makerbot Replicator 2 with a raft is pretty reliable. There are a few problems with this though:

  • I waste extra filament on the material to print the raft.
  • Printing the raft gobbles up a lot of extra time for the print.
  • Getting the model detached from the raft can be really tough (this is the biggest problem by far).

So printing without a raft can be a good thing! The problem is getting the first layer to stick! Here are a few tips I have found helpful at this time:

  • Put a nice even layer of blue painter’s tape on the build plate.
  • Make sure you properly level the build plate.
  • Sand the surface of the blue painter’s tape with sandpaper.
  • Wipe down the surface of the blue painter’s tape with rubbing alcohol (this was important, before I did this parts of the print would not stick).
  • Set the printer’s print speed way down (notice how it prints the first layer of the raft real slow — 30mm per second). — note due to improvements in Makerbot’s software, this step is no longer needed.

This did it for me.

Of course setting the print speed real slow causes the print to take a whole lot longer. I wish Makerbot would change their Makerware software so that if you printed without a raft it would automatically print the first two layers really slow then print the remaining layers at the speed set by the user in Makerware.

Printing in PLA is Frustrating So Far

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PLA Filament
I have a Makerbot Replicator 2X 3D Printer. It can print in both ABS and PLA plastic filaments.  So far, the only plastic I can get prints out of  fairly reliably is ABS.

I found some interesting info on the subject in Google Groups:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/makerbot/s1wZ6KoiIQY

I tried some things I saw here with some slight improvements. But it is still not worth my trouble.

I am giving up printing in PLA for now, I will probably try different things every now and then when my patience is running higher.

We will see.