Easy PLA Removal of 3D Prints


Introduction: Easy PLA Removal of 3D Prints

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

My experience in printing with PLA (Replicator 2) has been that the builds (raft or no raft) stick to the platform with tenacity!  A spatula and scraped knuckles eventually will remove the print.

I tried using the painter's tape supplied, but it just ripped around big builds and left me with the spatula problem again.

Here's my workaround, (maybe this is the plan--just not communicated clearly to me) which allows for easy one hand removal of prints.  Instead of sticking the painter's tape entirely to the build platform, only stick the edges.  I used parchment paper (for baking cookies, available at grocery stores) under the tape in the middle of the build rectangle. Tape stuck only to the edges of a sheet appears to create a stable build environment. 

In other words, all the print head sees is painter's tape--so it's happy.  Under the entire print area, there is no tape sticking to the platform, so the print will remove by just peeling tape away from the outer edges--then print removal is like lifting a sheet of paper.



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    Wow! Nice idea! I'l try this if I get a sticking problem!

    I know (well im pretty sure) that this is a US site, so i hope its relevant there. i have used dimafix. Its a spray you apply to the print bed. Im sure there are other ways and alternatives, but it makes things dead easy. heres the UK distributor http://www.kora3dprinter.com/store/dimafix-3d-adhesive-spray.html and Im sure they will help find the US distributor if nothing else.

    I don't have a 3D printer ( I want one though ) but does the machine need to see blue? Or just something other than nothing. Have you tried a Blue Silicon Cookie Sheet?
    I don't know if it would work you would know better as you use a 3D printer but just a thought.

    3 replies

    Sorry to mislead--the machine doesn't look for anything. It just needs a level surface that the plastic will stick to (blue painter's tape works well). This is where the conflict arises--the first layer of plastic has to stick to the surface (so the following layers won't move around), but you have to be able to remove the plastic when the building is done. It's sort of like printing on a 3 x 5 index card that can be disposed of as opposed to printing on an acrylic bed that is part of the printer.
    You're on to something though--a thin removable sheet or mat of some sort would do the trick.

    If that's the case then a silicon mat might work especially if it was dimpled. you would most likely have to sand the bottom of the piece but I would say a small price to pay for a permanent solution. Another not so permanent if you like Parchment Paper would be just to spray bottom with stencil adhesive rather than use painters tape as it should be cheaper in the long run. Sorry for all the questions or even suggestions considering I don't have one but , I am very interested in 3D printing.

    The "sticking" is a minor issue--being able to build whatever comes to mind far exceeds this small annoyance. This is just one of the issues (like cost and extruder clogs) that will have to be overcome as the 3D printer market matures. If you look up painter's tape sheets on Amazon.com, the 3M product says:

    "Product Features

    12in x 7.25in Tape Square - 10 Sheets (Comes standard with Makerbot Replicator 2 Printers)
    Perfect Tape to use for your 3D Printer
    Prints come off cleanly with no lines on the bottom from multiple pieces of tape.
    Applies to the surface cleanly, and easily with easy re position just lift off and reapply.
    Just like the tape that comes packaged with a Replicator 2 to be used on the Printer Plate"
    If they just modified that slightly--so that only the outer half inch would stick--it would be perfect. It's a commercial opportunity--with a rather limited market at the moment.
    Have you looked at the Printrbot products--their cost is getting closer to something that will attract more people . .

    Great idea. I had some bad times as well with sticking. As an fyi, I use tape and a gauge to level the plate and things have been much easier since. (There's a thingiverse plan for a gauge holder that sits on the rep 2 rails)