Printing with PLA

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by Eaglezsoar, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Eaglezsoar

    Eaglezsoar Administrator

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    MHackney, a user from the Seemecnc forum has discovered that PLA sticks nicely to plain old copier paper or the paper you
    use in your laser printers. Just adhere the paper to your heatbed with a spray adhesive and print your PLA on the paper.
    You will be amazed at how well it sticks. I would recommend a re-positionable adhesive so that it is not difficult to remove
    from the glass when you are ready to change it.
     
  2. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    heh, yah i discovered that one day when my car title accidentally got blown into the printer by a fan,.. I am still waiting on a new title,..

    Personally the paper sticks a bit to well, leaving paper bits on the bottom of the print,. clean glass + a spritz of hairspray,. works every time, gives a beautiful mirror smooth bottom finish, and very easy to clean & re-set. (40c heated bed helps a bit with that.)
     
  3. Josh

    Josh Administrator
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    I am with you Alex - Hairspray is fantastic on glass, and is what I use all the time. I have also printed on bluetape which works well - and with a dusting of hairspray it really sticks, but go easy, or your print will never come off!

    Paper is great if you just want a quick and easy solution and are not too bothered about having a bit of paper left over.

    Recently we have discovered UHU glue, which is a fantastic surface for both ABS and PLA. I have however sat doing battle trying to get PLA prints off for 15 minutes which I find a bit frustrating.. (http://e3d-online.com/Print-Surface/Uhu-Stic)
     
  4. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    yes, a very very light dusting of hairspray,. + 40c on the hot bed,. or, no heated bed and just a little bit more hairspray that sits till its tacky (30-60 seconds) and then is immediately printed on while still tacky,. (i prefer the first for the longer window of usability, but the second works without heated bed if you can get the timing down.) with experience you can get it so the hairspray is so thin you can pull the parts right off by hand,. if your having a hard time getting them off, your using to much.

    We should also probably share the most important detail of using hairspray,... The hairspray MUST contain Vinyl, if it does not it likely wont work. Unscented "Aqua Net extra super hold" is what i use.
     
  5. mhackney

    mhackney Well-Known Member

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    AlexC, the PRIMARY reason I went to paper was exactly because it did not stick too well! I use normal printer paper. When the print is done, it pops right off. If there are any bits of paper, they can be easily removed with a quick rinse in water. Plus the paper leaves a perfect, flawless matte surface finish. Many of my parts have a visible "bottom" and the finish of this surface is important to me.

    Blue tape always sticks too well and leaves bits of tape on my part plus you have a seam where the strips of tape meet.

    Hairspray works but leaves a glossy surface finish (which is fine for most uses but not my parts) and requires a bit more prep.

    I've got it down to an art with paper - I can print dozens of parts with the same sheet, no paper shards stuck to the part and perfect surface finish every time.

    cheers,
    Michael
     
  6. Josh

    Josh Administrator
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    That is interesting to hear - I must confess to not having tried very hard at printing on paper, maybe a little more perseverance would have meant I got it to come off more easily. I suppose a very accurate first layer height is very important?

    What are you doing that requires such a specific surface finish out of interest?
     
  7. mhackney

    mhackney Well-Known Member

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    I manufacture fly fishing reels and reel kits in brass an aluminum (see http://www.EclecticAngler.com). I started experimenting making printed fishing reels and the surfaces of these are seen on all sides as you can see here. The smaller part is a "Tenkara Line Holder" that I manufacture to sell in all variety of colors. These parts are all PLA.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  8. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    Interesting,. I never tried to hard with paper, as glass + hairspray seems very easy to me (you only need to clean the plate once a month if you spritz lightly enough in-between every 3-4 prints). Only negative iv found with it is that you have to block or stop fans temp when you spritz, otherwise over time they get gunked up with a layer hairspray. and i suspect that with the e3D all metal + cooling fan, the aluminum heat sink fins would get a light coating of hairspray over time that would reduce the effectiveness of the heat sink (If you don't stop/block the fan @ spritz time).

    Actually sifting through my color chips, it looks like the bottom surface being matte, or glossy has little to do with the hairspray,. and more to do with the filament,. i always print on glass + hairspray,. and my color chips are a big mix from glossy & matte on the bottom,. One thing that I have noticed that if you over do the hairspray (or over smoosh the first layer), the hairspray will come off the glass and stay stuck to the print,. causing a high gloss finish on the bottom,. but if you wipe that hairspray off with a wet rag you get pretty much the same light refraction that you get on any other surface. (or just use less hairspray and it wont come off with the print) the only real difference is that the bottom surface is super flat & smooth compared to the other surfaces,. but that seems true for both of us,. so its probably a factor of we have both refined our diffident processes long enough to get comparable results.

    Anyway Its always good to know different ways to get results,.
     
  9. mhackney

    mhackney Well-Known Member

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    Yes, for me, the paper gives a constantly nice, low gloss surface regardless of the PLA I use - and I have 18 different colors of PLA. Lately I've been printing on the matte side of a sheet of PEI. It is a really good print surface, no muss, no fuss and consistantly good first layer adhesion and low gloss finish. I've written a bit about it on the SeeMeCNC forum.

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  10. Josh

    Josh Administrator
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    Sorry I didn't see your response Michael! Those are some really really nice prints..

    We use a lot of hairspray and I must say I have not seen it coat the heat sink at all.. There is an excess of cooling available on the v5 so not something to worry about! :)
     
  11. mhackney

    mhackney Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Josh, I took this gold reel and some other parts to the 3D printer expo in NYC yesterday and got some very nice comments about the quality of my prints and surface finish. I spent a lot of time perfecting that!

    cheers,
    Michael
     
  12. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    Interesting,. Due to you I am certainly going to try paper again at some point,. you can never have to many tools in your tool box!

    Today I happen to hit the wall of to much hairspray from build up over time, so i ended up getting two large surface parts that where a good example of hairspray lifting from the glass and staying on the print but not at 100% so its a mottled surface of shine and matte on the same part. I figured id take them into the studio and use my lights to show the refraction differences. This particular PLA filament is fairly shinny on its top surface (image #1) but you will see that on (image #2) i have cleaned one part with a damp paper towel to remove the hairspray, leaving it less glossy than the actual top or sides,.. and i left the other part in its 50/50 state right off the glass plate, so you can get a matte bottom, and even more matte than the filament itself from hairspray,. there is just a fine line of to much where it will lift off with the print, but even still, a damp paper towel fixes that. I suspect that its going to vary a bit from filament to filament,. but i just wanted to de-bunk the idea that hairspray = glossy bottom, while it can result in gloss, that's the hairspray, not the plastic,. and its easily fixed with a damp paper towel if you do get it. =)
     

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  13. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    Good to know that the heat sink has ample cooling regardless of a little hairspray, I am still likely going to add a NC momentary switch to the hotend fan,. when i spritz i can see the particles in the air rushing towards the fan,. and i print allot,.. so over time,. maybe I am overly precautions, but anything that easily reduces maintenance is a boon on these machines, and adding a momentary switch into the fan duct print is an easy mod.
     
  14. lukan

    lukan Member

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    I am curious why hairspray would be much of a concern with the fans.... I am guessing that the hairspray is being applied while the glass is still on the heat bed? I must be super anal as I remove my glass for the application of anything, even glue stick....
     
  15. Eaglezsoar

    Eaglezsoar Administrator

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    You do what all users should do, remove the glass before spraying hair spray but sadly most users do not do this and end up gumming up the fans and dried hairspray all over which, in time, can screw up the axis movements etc.
    Thank you for describing the proper ways to do things.
     
  16. AlexC

    AlexC Well-Known Member

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    Chuckles,. yah i know,. its a time thing,. i can press a momentary switch to turn off the fan, and spritz,. or i can disassemble my bed platform to spritz,. its a bit of a different issue dependent on how large your bed is, and how complicated it is to remove. on my printerbot i always remove the glass for spritzing but on that machine the glass is small and comes off with a quick de-clipping, and is not wired up directly as part of the heated bed. when your dealing with a larger machine, and experimental wiring, it gets a bit more complicated.

    There is rarely only one proper way to do things,... :roll:
     
  17. lukan

    lukan Member

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    Ahhh.. I see it now in your images... It was not clear to me at the time that your glass was essentially the hotbed. That makes more sense now :D
     

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