100% Warp-Free MakerBot 3D Printing

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Introduction: 100% Warp-Free MakerBot 3D Printing

About: I'm the Founder and Chairman of TechShop.

I love MakerBot and I love Bre, and I think he and his team have done an amazing service to the world.

Recently, I purchased five MakerBots (actually Thing-O-Matics, factory-assembled and tested), which was one for each our current TechShop locations (Menlo Park CA, Raleigh Durham NC, San Francisco CA, San Jose CA, and Detroit MI).  I also picked up a Replicator for myself.  Research, you know.  ;)

After becoming very frustrated with ABS plastic objects warping when the bottom corners would pull loose from the build platform, I started searching for a new solution.  No matter what I tried, including using raft versus no raft, increasing the temperature of the HBP (heated build platform), cleaning the Kapton tape with acetone, putting shields around the openings in the MakerBot's housing to keep the heat in, increasing and decreasing the nozzle temperature, nothing would prevent the object or even the raft from popping loose and lifting up on the corners.  This happened with all six of the MakerBot variants that I had access to, including Replicator.

Previous solutions that have been created by others and adopted as supposed solutions included the HBP (heated build platform) which comes standard on all late-model Thing-O-Matics and Replicators, Kapton tape on the build platform, using a glass sheet, creating a vacuum table, using painters tape and other tapes, and countless other ideas.  But none of these seem to work.

So I thought of my own solution.

My solution has proven to be cheap, fast, simple, and 100% dependable.

Would you like to know what it is?  Then read on to the next step!

(I'll try to take better pictures the next time I print a nice large object.  Hopefully you can see enough from these photos to be able to follow these steps.)

Step 1: Put ABS Scraps and Acetone in a Jar

The first step is to make a thin slurry of acetone and ABS plastic scraps (raft and support, and rejected objects you've printed).  We all generate lots of scraps on our MakerBots.  You can probably make a similar slurry with PLA and acetone, but I haven't tried it yet.  Plus, PLA doesn't seem to have as bad of a problem with lifting and curing and warping as ABS does.  I personally find PLA to be too brittle for my projects, since I usually make structural objects.  Let the ABS scraps and acetone sit in the covered jar for several hours, and the ABS pieces should completely dissolve.  You want to have a very thin watery solution.

Step 2: Paint a Thin Layer of ABS Slurry on the Build Platform

I use a Q-Tip to apply a very sketchy application of the ABS slurry to the build platform right on top of the Kapton tape just where the model is going to be built.  It does not need to be a solid coat.  In fact, if you apply a solid coat, it will actually be very difficult to remove your object from the build platform!

Step 3: Print Your Object

Print your object with NO RAFT, directly onto the ABS slurry-slathered build platform.

Now when you print your object, you will find that it DOES NOT WARP as it grows in thickness.  SIMPLY AMAZING!

The ABS slurry creates a thin layer of ABS, sort of like the raft that ReplicatorG creates, which causes the ABS to adhere completely to the build platform.  Even very long and very tall objects will build with no warping or curling at all!

Step 4: Remove Your Object (This Can Be Tricky)

The ABS slurry causes the object to stick to the build platform like a barnacle, so you will almost certainly need to pry it off.  With large objects, you may need to peel off the Kapton tape.  Be careful not to break your object!

Step 5: There You Have It...100% Warp-Free and Curl-Free Free 3D Printing!

It is hard to tell from this image, but I tried to show a view looking straight along the bottom edge of this long, thick object.  Believe me, it is 100% straight with no curling, bowing or warping!  Without this method, this object would have warped at least 1/4 of an inch on or more corners.

I hope you find this Instructable useful!  Let me know if it works for you.

2 People Made This Project!

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Hi all just ad acrylic 3mm thick and your bed size like 200mm 200mm depends on your bed. Sand it with fine sandaper and clean it off with acetone. Make sure chamber of your printer is 40C degrees up. Then print you will love me for this clever idea. I print on acrylic for more than a year now.

You could just take big paper clips, and with a little bending (to allow them to barely cling to the HBP) apply them right after the raft is complete. Yes this does mean you gotta apply them while the bot is printing. Keep the paperclips of course when print is finished. Much less messy. I find it's best to fill the plate with as many models as possible to reduce waste and it's just plain efficient. Good luck!

IMG_20161209_002253.jpgIMG_20161209_002307.jpg

Tried this method and it's working. Simple and efficient solution for avoiding warping. Thanks!

Dude, acetone slurry is the original (toxic) bed treatment being used since the beginning of 3d printing and not your "own solution" . Instead, of using that garbage, enclose your build chamber and use a 2 parts water 1 part white glue (Elmer's glue-all 3860-11001US, UPC 2600003860) solution on glass. I run a farm 18 hours a day like this, BIG prints on 300mm build plates and the parts pop off a 60 degrees Celsius with no force, no warping, no prying and no health issues. I apply the glue mix at room temperature plate and it lasts for weeks.

Christopher

3 replies

I tried the glue mixture as you suggested and it didn't work at all. I had been using glue stick with moderate success. My build chamber is semi-enclosed as well.

However, as soon as I switched to the ABS slurry, the parts were sticking like magic.

I'd love to get these results without having to resort to acetone slurry, but it seems to be the only thing that works. I don't disagree with your caution, however, to me this seems no more dangerous than actually running ABS through your 3D printer. The acetone vapors are going to evaporate rather quickly, leaving a thin coating of ABS on your build plate, which is what you would have anyway, without the slurry.

I'd suggest lots of ventilation and a respirator if the fumes bother people, but I don't think you'll be releasing acetone in the concentrations that could cause injury using the method described in this instructable. Probably a good idea to keep pregnant women away though.

A couple of resources on acetone:
http://mfc.engr.arizona.edu/safety/MSDS%20FOLDER/A...

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-07...

totally, there are tons of people doing this, some variations suggest just pouring acetone on your print bed, then rubbing printed abs piece on it.

this does work though,

Thanks for making the instructable

ChristopherB

The slurry I have tried, just one problem with using slurry with some build plates. I have a cubifypro with composite build plate, the bottom layer is glass and the top layer is a form of plastic. When using the slurry it will dissolve the top layer. Not good, I had just a minor area that I had to resurface to make the plate completely smooth again. still have the slurry, if I had a glass build plate it would work because the slurry did hold my parts with no warping.

I'm confused. I put a pile of ABS pieces into a jar with acetone for two days and all that's happened is that the ABS has become the consistency of silly putty without even so much as tinting the acetone.

2 replies

That might be PLA not ABS. pla will get rubbery but not dissolve in acetone. Which is a good way of having flexible print without the extra cost of buying flexable filament.


Hi FinFan7...

I've heard a couple of people mention they had the same or similar issue.

It has to be one of two things:

1.) Maybe the acetone you are using is not pure acetone or has other things in it. Sometimes acetones used for removing fingernail polish contains water, and there are mixtures that are "non-acetone" but I don't know what is in those. You could use another solvent called MEK but you need to wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area...it can be nasty stuff and soaks into your skin, and you can smell it in your blood later.

2.) Maybe the filament you are trying to dissolve is not pure ABS or is a mixture of ABS and other plastics, or is not ABS at all. PLA behaves sort of like what you are describing when you put it into acetone. There are charts and methods on the web for identifying plastics through a series of tests, and you could try that to see if your plastic is ABS. You can also try burning some of the filament in question. If it smells sweet like syrup, then it is PLA. If it smells strongly like what you would expect burning plastic to smell like, then it is probably ABS.

Good luck!

I have a flashforge creator pro. It has a heated plastic bed. Could I still use this method on my bed?

4 replies

If you are referring to the Blue Plastic sheet that comes with the current printers - then no ... basically it is a form of buildtac personally i love the stuff.

i only print with ABS - bed sits at a cool 110 deg and head is anywhere from 210 to 235 depending on what filament i'm printing with.

I get no warping or lifting. i do generally print with a raft as the parts i print need to be accurate. but once it cools the parts just pop off. zero effort!!

as it gets old and worn ... as we normally print in the middle of the bed, simply move the part in the slicer to the side and it will build on a fresher piece of the bed.

I think if you using abs juice you might find it will stick to the bed too well. although i haven't tried it. I'll i know is last time i used acetone to clean the plastic sheet the part became permanently bonded to the bed and cost me a sheet of the bed material.


Hi StuartJ7...

I'm nervous about having you try this directly on your plastic bed because acetone will attack many plastics.

What you could do is apply a full-width Kapton sheet to your bed and then apply the ABS acetone slurry to the Kapton surface. Just be careful not to get any slurry on your actual plastic bed.

We are busy developing a patent-pending ceramic composite permanent bed for most ABS 3D printers, and I will be sure that we include that model in our line.

These beds are currently called PBP (Perfect Build Platform), and they are amazing because your ABS model sticks like crazy to the bed while th bed is hot and the model is building, then when the print is done and the bed cools, the model pops right off. You still need to use ABS slurry, but it is great because you don't have to try to pry the finished model off the bed. The surface is a hard durable surface that doesn't scratch or chip.

If you are interested in being a tester, please let me know the dimensions of your printer's bed.

Thanks!

Jim,

I'm a graduate student at UT Austin in mechanical engineering. Last year we established the Longhorn Maker Studio, free to use for all UT students, we run 14 Flashforge Creator Pros here (essentially a Makerbot Dual clone). http://makerspace.engr.utexas.edu/

We would love to test your new platform. We have technicians and trained students who maintain and calibrate the machines, and the platform would see a variety of use by undergraduates and graduates alike.

I haven't actually posted on this account since middle school, shoot me a message here or at jhco@utexas.edu if you'd like to talk.

Cheers.

Im very interested in being a tester! I work as a undergrad researcher for the physics department at Utah Valley University and I am 3-D printing everyday. My bed dimensions are 22.5 by 14.5 cm.

I think it would be much easier to buy a sheet of abs at .030" and glue it to a surface and just print in this.

I built a Kossel 2020 delta from Folger Technologies and started out using (or trying to use) abs, but had the warping problem as well. I am currently using pla, but would like to use abs as it is more durable for the apps that I like to make. I will certainly give this a try. Thank you for the heads up.

Hi, I have the printer in a garage and now that is really cold here in London, all my overnight prints warp like crazy. Do you guys know any cover for a replicator or something that would keep the heat inside?

1 reply