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Bed Prep and Maintenance

Keeping your bed clean and flat is the first step to keeping your printer working flawlessly.

 

Never use tools that may scratch and damage the surface of the bed. The polyimide film is soft but very durable and usually lasts for hundreds of prints. During normal usage prints will come off easily once they are thoroughly cooled. If you've used other tips or tricks to increase adhesion to the polyimide you may need to use a bit of force to remove things. If this is the case, make sure to remove the bed from the printer first!

 

If the film on the bed becomes damaged, it should be replaced. Sheets or rolls of similar polyimide film are the preferred coating though other options exist. Clean the old film and any debris from the glass then wash with a streak free window cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. New film can be applied using a few different techniques, and should be allowed to rest overnight if possible. 

 

Soap and water technique:

This is the easiest way to apply large film sheets, but requires significant drying time. Mix 5ml of dish soap in 1 liter of clean water in a wide container. Set your throughly cleaned glass on a flat surface that won't be damaged by the soapy water. Wipe some of the soapy water onto the glass creating a large puddle. Dip the adhesive side of the film into the soapy water. If you are using the included two inch wide tape, cut off a strip to dip rather than working with the whole roll. Place the film into the puddle on the glass and use the water to float the film into place. Using a card or squeegee with a smooth edge, press down in the middle of the film and slowly push the water under the film outwards until no water remains between the film and glass. Repeat with as many strips as needed to completely cover the bed. 

Drying the glass is critical. Small amounts of water will remain between the glass and film, but can evaporate through the film. Allow to dry in a warm location overnight. Heating the bed too much right after applying with this method will produce steam bubbles under the film. These bubbles can be "popped" with a sharp knife without causing much damage. 

 

Dry application:

Use narrow tape (two to three inches wide), a decal applicator or hard rubber roller and a clean work surface that will not be damaged by tape adhesive. Stick the free end of the tape to the work surface so you can hold the roll in one hand and the squeegee in the other. Pull gently on the roll to create tension and keep the strip of tape straight over the glass. Push the tape down to the glass with the squeegee or roller, starting at one edge and slowly progressing to the other side. 

 

Using rollers can work for wider films but often results in bubbles being trapped or wrinkles forming in the middle. A wide, hard rubber roller is what we use to apply the single piece film to the glass at MakerGear. No waiting time is needed after applying film with this dry method, however the film tends to last longer if allowed to "rest" a day or two after application. 

 

Using a dry felt squeegee may cause fine scrape marks in the film that may leave an undesirable finish on printed parts. Make sure your felt is free of contaminants that may cause scratches. 

 

Tips:

  • The adhesive on most films adheres better when applied to a warm surface. 
  • Applying too much force may stretch film enough to cause bubbles.
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