Instructables
Picture of 100% Warp-Free MakerBot 3D Printing
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.)
 
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benm310 days ago

I have been using Aquanet extra super hold unscented hairspray directly on glass for about 95% of my projects and it works great. I still have my original supply of Kapton tape because I just don't use it.

I am doing a thin walled tall project now that is having some warping issues and will give the ABS/Acetone slurry a try.

Has anyone tried dilute ABS glue? I was thinking of using the glue made for ABS sewer pipe and just thinning it down a smidgen.

Great Post TechshopJim.

Ben

Hi Jim your PBP sounds awesome and i certainly look forward to purchasing a couple from you :-) .

Will this work with a heated glass bed using no capton tape?

TechShopJim (author)  bill.isaacs.1423 days ago

Hi Bill...

Yes, but I would not recommend it. The reason is that the ABS slurry will not adhere to the bare glass bed very well, so it will probably pop loose during cooling or during the build itself. You can certainly give it a shot, but my experience has been poor with bare glass.

Kapton provides an excellent interface between the bare glass (or aluminum as in a Replicator 1 or 2X). The Kapton's adhesive makes the Kapton stick to the glass or the aluminum, and the top surface of the Kapton is very receptive to ABS slurry and helps your parts stick to the Kapton.

The problem with Kapton is that when you print a model with really strong warping tendencies, the intense contraction power of the plastic can actually pull the Kapton tape off of the bed! Also, sometimes the ABS slurry just doesn;t want to stick to the Kapton very well. it is very hit-and-miss, but it has traditionally been the best solution we have.

I'm sure you hate replacing Kapton as much as I do.

Fortunately, I am putting the final touches on a new build plate that we call PBP (Perfect Build Plate) that eliminates Kapton completely, and can be installed on any FDM 3D printer without any adhesives, clips, hardware or fasteners, magnets, or any modifications whatsoever. What's really cool is that you can run several PBPs, so when a part is done, you lift out the hot PBP with your part on it and let it cool while you put in another and start printing. when the first PBP is cool, you can literally tap on your part and it will pop right off.

We hope to begin selling these PBPs very soon in sizes for all FDM printers...stay tuned!

Thanks!

Gavin.Perry27 days ago

I had come up with this same idea but made my slurry thicker and it stuck so hard I damaged the Kapton removing my part. I'll try thinning my slurry. Glad to see reinforcement that this is a good method, it definitely works better than anything else I tried, and gives a very smooth bottom surface unlike the painters tape.

TechShopJim (author)  Gavin.Perry27 days ago

Hi Gavin...

That happened to me too all the time. It seems like you have to make the slurry pretty thick in most cases in order to get the parts to really stay put during the build, but it will either not stick or it will peel the Kapton off the bed, or damage the bed or part when you pry the parts off. Plus, I hate putting acetone and slurry inside the machine because it drips all over, gets on the door and floor, and even on the control panel sometimes!

But I don't have that problem any more!

After months and months of active research and development, I have developed an awesome and super-simple system that I am using exclusively for all my ABS prints on a Replicator 2X with 100% success.

It consists of a rigid ultra-flat build heat-resistant surface. I simply place the rigid build surface on the printer's original bed without any clips or hardware, and print.

I can print any model and I know it will never lift, warp, or come loose while it prints.

When the part is finished printing, I can lift the build surface right up and out of the printer, then place a new build surface on the bed and start printing again immediately. When the build surface with the parts on it cools, the parts can be popped right off by hand, but the parts never pop off by themselves during printing.

This system makes it a real joy to print again!

You still use ABS slurry on the surface, but you can make it as thin or thick as you want and it is still easy to remove the parts after the build surface cools. I use a fairly thick coat color-matched to the part I am printing, but thick doesn;t matter because I can still pop the finished parts right off.

The build surfaces are available in several colors, including black, gray, and white. We could do other colors like red, yellow, blue, green, metallics, etc., but I actually like white the best because it makes it easier to see your model building.

You can even pre-heat the build surface in the oven and put it in the printer at the last second to do ABS prints in a 3D printer that doesn't have a heated bed. I do this sometimes.

I'll do an Instructable and Thingiverse post on this new system soon. If there is enough interest from people, we will sell the build surfaces in certain sizes. They should be fairly cheap, and since they are permanent, the system is very economical.

There's a system called BuildTak (http://www.buildtak.com/), but the reviews are pretty bed. I haven't tried it, but from what I have read, it seems to not last very long, and parts start to pop off after a few prints. I think it might be made of off-the-shelf textured Lexan sheets with adhesive backs like they use for making display labels for electronic equipment.

I have not tried my build surface with PLA yet.

Thanks!
Let me know when you have it ready. I'm interested in trying it out.
RichardB529 days ago

I have had a Solidoodle 4 for about a week and I was having a lot of trouble keeping my models adhered to the platform. I followed your advice and made this ABS slurry material and it worked perfect. Thank you very much for the advice!

jdawe21 month ago

Hi folks -

I've been baffled with this because it never seemed to work for me like everywhere i have read. My filament will flat out NOT dissolve in acetone. And, after a full day of soaking, It just turns to jelly-like sticky blobs in the bottom of the acetone cup while the acetone remains clear. When you try to stir it up with a small stick, it just smears onto the sides but not dissolved. I even bought another can of acetone thinking it was not 'pure'. Well - here's what i found:

My brand of filament SHAXON, was purchased from Fry's electronics here in Woodland Hills, CA. It's labled as BLACK - ABS - 1.75mm made by Shaxon Industries - made in China (like everything else).
What I think is happening is the the filament is actually PVC based (like the plumbing pipe) or similar which can be attacked or etched with acetone but not
completely dissolved. I tried using PVC plumbing pipe PRIMER - it worked great. However it's totally purple in color, horribly smelly and full of noxious fumes.
But it dissolved quickly and worked great as a "juice" mixture. I tried someone's suggestion from reprap.org, and used one of my son's Lego blocks in a small cup of acetone for a test and prove this theory because Legos are pure ABS. The small biick dissolved immediately in just plain acetone in minutes. So, in conclusion, nowhere does it state on my filament package anything else but "ABS" but buyer beware -
it may be a actually PVC (i think)

cheers! - much respect - jdmech

Joohansson1 month ago

What temperature of the bed are you using? I have a problem with my Duplicator 4X because 100C on the bed makes the bed construction to bend as much as 0.2mm compared to 40C. The gap is larger closest to the door so I can´t just put in a Z offset. That forces me to re-calibrate the bed when switching between PLA and ABS.

By the way, I´m currently using this plate and it works great for both ABS and PLA (as long as ABS bed temp is high):
http://www.buildtak.eu/

TechShopJim (author)  Joohansson1 month ago

Hi Joohansson...

I've read a lot of reviews of the BuildTak sheets, and they don't seem to be very durable or long-lasting from what people are saying.

From the sound of it, and I haven't played with it myself, I'm guessing that it is polycarbonate sheet like they use for labeling of electronic devices. This material is very inexpensive, can be printed under the back surface of the polycarbonate before the adhesive layer is bonded, and has that same texture. Here's a link to a company that makes these labels: http://www.anodizinggraphics.com/product-polycarbo...

However, I have had the exact same results with sandblasted polycarbonate sheets...the ABS will stick really well at first, almost too well, but then after a few prints it will stop sticking.

I'll keep everyone up-to-date on our new no-clip, no-adhesive, coated glass print bed system. I'm thrilled with it so far, but it has been an enormous amount of work to get it to where it is today!

There have been some really cool side-discoveries with the coating compound. The most exciting discovery is that the coating makes the best laser-able resist for PCBs that I have ever seen, and also makes an amazing solder mask. TechShop Labs is also considering marketing this material for DIY home PCB making that will allow people to make really professional PCBs with a laser cutter.

More soon! ;)

Thanks!

TechShopJim (author)  Joohansson1 month ago

Hi Joohansson...

I print in ABS and always set the bed to 110 degrees C.

We are developing an interesting bed system here at TechShop Labs that we may offer commercially. It consists of a 6mm glass plate that sticks to the bed without any adhesives or clips using a thin layer of proprietary material that we developed in-house. The glass plate is coated with a very durable heat and chemical-resistant coating that we also developed ourselves that works better than Kapton tape and is far more durable. Plus, the coating can be any color that is desired...I'm using white right now and it allows you to see the part being printed really easily. You just spray the ABS slurry juice on the surface and print...works every time without warping or releasing! When the print is done, you simply lift the glass plate off the bed and put another glass plate down and you can keep printing. It is REALLY great! I'm printing something on it right now.

Thanks!

ThierryD12 months ago

Thank you so much for helping me out here! It works like a charm, and I am finally into business printing all of the objects I would like..

The sky is the limit now :-)

Thierry

Belgium

CalebM13 months ago

I wonder if this would work as minor repair to parts as well, or fill in for gaps. do some sanding then brush on a lil acitone abs

TechShopJim (author)  CalebM13 months ago

Hi CalebM1...

Maybe so. I know you can glue different ABS models together with the slurry. It is called a "solvent bond" or "solvent weld".

Thanks!
BossieH3 months ago

Hi you all,

Is there a specific Hairspray that can be bought on e-bay that's been tested? and when in the process do you spray the stuff on.

Frustrated beginner with Wharped mind!!!

What's that you're printing? Looks cool.

TechShopJim (author)  reubenrowntree3 months ago

That was a custom wrench that I made for a Yakima (I think that was the brand) roof rack fastener.
gboss14 months ago

I was printing straight on the aluminium bed but I actually find that the slurry comes loose really easily. See here that the print is still warping. Perhaps it IS better to print on the tape because the slurry sticks to it? Will try asap.

IMG_9221.JPG
gboss14 months ago

This is awesome. I am printing for the first time using the ABS slurry right now. I'm making a very flat print that covers nearly the whole bed so this seems to be the only solution to prevent the warping.

If anyone is experiencing warping with other kinds of plastics then this is a good link to make your other slurries. Or if you want to use slurry as glue to glue your prints. http://nerfhaven.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18...

thezerocool9 months ago

would a PLA slurry work in the same way?

TechShopJim (author)  thezerocool9 months ago

PLA will not dissolve in acetone, so no this would not work.

I have not been able to find any solvent that could be used, except some nasty acids...but those wouldn't dry and leave a thin coating of PLA...they would just decompose the PLA.

I am actively searching for a suitable solvent and will let you know if I find anything.
Qcks TechShopJim6 months ago

A thought that might ork: have you tried dilute pineapple juice for PLA?

Polylactic acid can be broken down by bromelian, which is present in pineapples, and since y'all are just using the monomer of the plastics to temporarily bind to the kapton tape layer, disolving some scrap into some pineapple juice might allow you to use it in a similar fashion to the ABC in acetone.
Short of that, could apply a small amount of pineapple juice to the first layer of the project and then spray a mist of water and sodium bicarbonate to inactivate the bromelian. It's only active in acidic environments.

TechShopJim (author)  Qcks6 months ago

Hi Qcks...

That's a very interesting idea! I am trying it now since I just happened to have a nearly full jar of bromelian in the kitchen! I feed it to my family sometimes.

Thanks! I'll post the results.

mezclamos made it!6 months ago

I can admit: I was highly sceptical, as I had tried just about everything else. But it sure does work.

Make sure that your mixing vessel won't dissolve with acetone. :)
I went with a high density polyethylene (HDPE) container with a tight lid just to be very safe.

IMAG0041[1].jpgIMAG0042[1].jpgIMAG0046[1].jpg
TechShopJim (author)  mezclamos6 months ago
Glad you found it useful!
qutech7 months ago

Hi, I've been experimenting with your solution on a makerbot replicator 2x. It seems to work fine for small prints but when I'm doing large full plate prints of several hours they invariably peel up at the corners or come loose in the centre resulting in a twisted base on the model? Possible issues: slightly warped build plate? Nozzle height setting- what do you recommend? Temperature of build plate - I've tried dropping it to 95 but not making much difference? Kapton tape - how smooth does it have to be, it is impossible to put it on without overlaps? I'd appreciate your advice. Thanks

CurtWG7 months ago

I have found so far that a amonia based window clean will loosen the print from the slury on a glass plate. I'm using the borosilicate plates on my Afinia without any tape applied so far so good.

Curt

wzhang48 months ago

I have to say WOW THIS WORKS PERFECT!! I got my Makerbot 2X in February and have been operating for over 160 hours. 70% of my prints have corner warping problems and I tried almost every methods on internet and they won't solve it. Before this ABS slurry method I found out Zap-a-Gap Glue actually works pretty good, but it 100% destroys kapton tape and the smell of burning Zap-a-Gap is just unbearable. I bought acetone from hardware store(95%-100% concentration) and made my own slurry, the ratio is about 15%-20% ABS with 85%-80% acetone. I usually pre heat the bed and nozzle and put on normal coat on the kapton tape right after everything is preheated and start print ASAP after putting on ABS slurry. It won't actually tear up the kapton tape if you be careful when taking your prints off the bed, at least my kapton tape has gone through 2-3 big prints and still works fine.

DoctorWoo8 months ago

Just got done testing this...and if I'm ever in California, I may have to kiss you!!! I've been struglling with corner curling, and this stopped it dead in its tracks! Thanks for sharing this!

Scurge10 months ago

I made the mistake of applying a thin fairly uniform coat (disregarding the instructions above.... :/) over the print area. When the OP says it will "stick like a barnacle" he is not kidding. It was so dadgum stuck I tore up the kapton tape getting the piece off. Not only is that kapton tape kinda expensive, its a pain to stick down bubble free. (Has anyone tried the soapy water method to apply the kapton tape like when applying window tint?) My ABS juice was much thinner than his as well. I'm going to try a new method next of outlining the print area with a Q-Tip thick line so it just sticks like that around the edges, possibly even just the corner areas prone to curling. I'll post the results.

DoctorWoo Scurge8 months ago

By now, you probably already found a solution, but just in case!
Try using a glass plate on the heatbed. I don't know for sure, but I assume you can adjust the Replicator (assuming that's what you have) to use a glass plate. That's I'm using, along with this slurry, and it works like a charm!
Also, for application: someone else posted it that you can use a nail polish bottle brush for this. I have one, and the bottle has straight acetone to keep the brush from become solid ABS.

wzhang48 months ago

Hi there!

I am wondering whether you could provide an amazon link to the acetone that you are using?

TechShopJim (author)  wzhang48 months ago

Acetone is pretty much a commodity product. You can purchase it at any hardware store, which is where I bought it (at Home Depot or Lowe's here in the US). I just searched for "acetone" on Amazon and there are lots of results...just try to get one that says 100% acetone, and I would avoid nail polish removers because sometimes they have fragrance, moisturizers and even water in them.

Just spray the bottom of the object with canned air upside down.. the cold makes it very easy to remove if its sticking too well.... But i am no expert... 3 prints under my belt so far.. I may end up trying this if warping becomes a problem. I have also heard that the nontoxic stick of glue works wonders too.. have not tried it yet.

I know there is a cool time that you can set between layers... perhaps there maybe a way to cool off the first 4 layers first so that the base is hardened.. perhaps this is occurring because the bottom layers are not dried yet.

jzaher9 months ago

So, how many parts of acetone vs. ABS in weight or volume do I have to mix?

TechShopJim (author)  jzaher9 months ago

Hi JZaher...

I would say a ratio equal to about a quarter cup of acetone to about a tablespoon of solid ABS.

You can go a little thinner or a little thicker depending on how it works for you.

It really isn't critical, though.

I mix my slurry up in a little polypropylene squirt bottle. Before I print, I shake up the bottle and squirt a little on the bed, then wipe it around with a paper towel.

Good luck!
fkeller11 months ago
I killed the Kapton tape on my heated platform... :-(
Can I use your ABS-"Soup" directly on the aluminum of the platform, or do I NEED a tape ?

cheers, Flex
TechShopJim (author)  fkeller9 months ago

Hi fkeller...

That might work OK. I use Kapton myself, but you know, the Kapon lifts up sometimes.

I think the ultimate would be either glass or polished aluminum with ABS slurry.

Maybe because of your question, I will abandon Kapton tape because of how it separates from the aluminum bed sometimes.

Thanks!
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