Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...



  • Yeah, there will be lots of recommendations, and It Depends...

    If you are willing to add supports, then the 5/16" should be fine. A good support structure will help keep things flat when heated.

    Over 500mm, there will be some thermal expansion, so how you hold things together will matter. You will have to allow for the plate to expand and contract.



  • My 500x500 MIC-6 is 1/4" and I've not had ANY issues with a minimum bed temp of 70C. My 3 point ball and slot mount allows the bed to expand/contract without any lateral movement.


  • administrators

    @tletourneau said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    Finding an appropriate, reasonably priced, heater for a 500x500mm build plate has been another challenge. I have no problem going with a mains powered heater controlled by a SSR but finding one has been fun.

    Both Keenovo and Shenzen Ali Brother Technology (via Ali Express) will make one to your size, voltage and power specifications.



  • @gtj0 thanks! I'm looking at 100-110C (I print a bit of ABS) that's one of the reasons I am thinking a bit thicker may help. I'm not overly concerned with the heat up time but rather the weight, especially after I put a 1/4" thick piece of glass on it.



  • @dc42 thanks for the reply! I should have been more clear, I apologize. I know there are options I can get from China, I'm trying to find a US supplier to cut down on shipping time. I wonder if a heater designed for a CR-10 S5 would be ok?



  • @tletourneau said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    @dc42 thanks for the reply! I should have been more clear, I apologize. I know there are options I can get from China, I'm trying to find a US supplier to cut down on shipping time. I wonder if a heater designed for a CR-10 S5 would be ok?

    I got mine from these guys...
    https://www.ebay.com/usr/autonomousindustries?ul_noapp=true
    120V 1600w
    Ordered on Wednesday, had it the following Monday.

    I don't see the 500x500 listed any more but you could ask them.



  • @tletourneau said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    @gtj0 thanks! I'm looking at 100-110C (I print a bit of ABS) that's one of the reasons I am thinking a bit thicker may help. I'm not overly concerned with the heat up time but rather the weight, especially after I put a 1/4" thick piece of glass on it.

    I also tried the tempered glass over aluminum route. It's going to be a bitch to get heat transfer from the aluminum to the glass unless you use a thermal adhesive or paste between them. I tried various things with the help of a Flir camera and gave up. In the end, I went with a Printbite surface and haven't looked back. If you do go with the glass, then the aluminum is really just for heat spreading and mounting so thinner is better.


  • administrators

    @gtj0 said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    I also tried the tempered glass over aluminum route. It's going to be a bitch to get heat transfer from the aluminum to the glass unless you use a thermal adhesive or paste between them.

    Also, tempered glass is frequently warped by the tempering process.



  • @gtj0 said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    I also tried the tempered glass over aluminum route. It's going to be a bitch to get heat transfer from the aluminum to the glass unless you use a thermal adhesive or paste between them...............

    As @dc42 said, tempering glass (or toughening it) causes is to distort - been there, done that, got the Tee shirt. So if you use glass, stick with plain non-toughened, float glass.

    Heat transfer isn't a problem - if it was, I wouldn't need double glazing in my house ☺ I get 2.5 degree top between the top of my aluminium bed and the top of the 6mm glass at 55 deg C bed temperature. If that's critical, just set the bed 2.5 degrees warmer. Personally I just use a squirt of 3D lac then I can print pretty much any filament at any temperature over about 50 deg C so bed temperature doesn't really matter to me.



  • If anyone lives in the Milwaukee or Minneapolis area, Howard Precision Metals sells MIC6 cutoffs for $1.50-2 per lb. My 300x300x8mm bed plate that started as 13.5" x 15" cost me $15 when picked up locally.



  • @deckingman said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    @gtj0 said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    I also tried the tempered glass over aluminum route. It's going to be a bitch to get heat transfer from the aluminum to the glass unless you use a thermal adhesive or paste between them...............

    As @dc42 said, tempering glass (or toughening it) causes is to distort - been there, done that, got the Tee shirt. So if you use glass, stick with plain non-toughened, float glass.

    Heat transfer isn't a problem - if it was, I wouldn't need double glazing in my house ☺ I get 2.5 degree top between the top of my aluminium bed and the top of the 6mm glass at 55 deg C bed temperature. If that's critical, just set the bed 2.5 degrees warmer. Personally I just use a squirt of 3D lac then I can print pretty much any filament at any temperature over about 50 deg C so bed temperature doesn't really matter to me.

    I'm just reporting what I saw with the Flir and I did try float glass as well. It took a long time to get an even distribution of heat to the surface. Actually, a little bit of mineral oil on the center of the aluminum plate before laying the glass on top made a huge difference. Anyway, moot point for me. The printbite directly on the aluminum has been working great.



  • My glass is NeoCeram fireplace glass that I got from a local shop. I use a .5mm layer of high temp silicone sheeting between the glass and the heat bed.

    @mrehorstdmd - thanks for the pointer! I'll give them a call.



  • Here is another place that sells off cuts of cast aluminum, out of California: http://www.sandsmachine.com/alumweb.htm



  • @tletourneau go to https://www.howardprecision.com/random-rack to select a piece, get a quote, and they'll send a confirmation email. Then you email back and then tell them you want it and will pick up and they'll get it ready for you.



  • @mrehorstdmd thanks again for the replies! I called and talked to them, nice people. They no longer have a facility in Minneapolis so no local pickup for me. 😞 They have a piece of MIC6 that was $40.00 and was $67.00 shipped. The issue was that it is 19 5/8" x 28" and I couldn't find anyone local to cut it to size. If I have Howard cut it the price goes to over $100.00 shipped. I was able to get a 19.675" square 3/8" piece of ATP5 for $95.55 shipped. I've ordered a SSR and some 184C thermal cutoff fuses. Now I just need to order a 120v silicone heat pad. Looking at the frame and thinking through it I think a slightly smaller than 500x500 would be a good idea to give me room to mount the bed to the frame, like 460x460 if I can find one in 110v.

    I have also ordered enough 2020 extrusion to build a stable gantry for bed (along with MGN15 linear rails for the X and Y axis).



  • Would a 450x450 heater be alright on a 500x500 bed? Also, does anyone know of a reasonably priced supplier that is not in China or on a holiday?



  • @tletourneau said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    Would a 450x450 heater be alright on a 500x500 bed?

    Absolutely. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor, and 1 inch shy on each side is a non-issue. In fact, it gives a desirable gap to ensure the heater clears any mounts, clips, etc.

    I use a 310mm diameter MIC-6 plate on my delta, heated by 3 PTC elements (like these), and the heat spreads out fine. In retrospect, 4 would have been a little quicker, but it all works.



  • You could also get 4 200x200 pads and wire them in parallel.



  • Not to take over the thread, but has anyone used 3M 468MP to attach a mirror to an aluminum bed?

    I hate hate hate hate hate clips or the likes, they get in the way and reduce build area.



  • @wyvern said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    Not to take over the thread, but has anyone used 3M 468MP to attach a mirror to an aluminum bed?

    I hate hate hate hate hate clips or the likes, they get in the way and reduce build area.

    I restrain my glass plate in 3 directions from the side. I still need to modify (improve) it since the heat cycling loosens the screws over time, but the aluminum is flat enough that after polishing it, if I lift only the glass, the aluminum sticks to it for a few seconds and is lifted up as well.
    I usually have to slide the glass plate off the aluminum plate to separate them.
    I was using the binder clips before but found that it warped the glass slightly because they clamped at the very edge of the glass.



  • @jrjones88
    You have a nice plate then, mine, while it works surprisingly with no compensation will visibly warp if one adjustment knob is too tight, it's too thin IMHO to use alone.

    I'm testing out corner clamps, they work, but they reduce build area by 10mm and seem to interfere with the bed adjustment (cocked to one side)- but prints look better.

    I will leave 1 inch corner uncovered from adhesive, that way I can get a scraper under and peel- its .1mm thick.



  • I use Swiss Clips, they're unobtrusive but allow me to remove the glass relatively easily. I'll see how they work with the 3/8" APT5 and 1/4" glass. 🙂

    https://www.dickblick.com/products/swiss-clips/


  • administrators

    @wyvern said in Yet another cast aluminum plate topic...:

    I hate hate hate hate hate clips or the likes, they get in the way and reduce build area.

    That's why I use build plates that are a little larger than the area reachable by the nozzle. I don't see any point in using a glass plate on top of the aluminium if you can't remove it very easily.

    Another reason to use an oversized built plate is that the edges will inevitably be a little cooler than the rest.



  • @dc42 OT but do you think this paint would work with the mini differential IR sensor?

    Rust-Oleum Specialty 12 oz. High Heat Satin Bar-B-Que Black Spray Paint
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Specialty-12-oz-High-Heat-Satin-Bar-B-Que-Black-Spray-Paint-7778830/202315061



  • Here's what a 750W Keenovo heater does on a 300x300x8mm MIC6 plate set to 100C:

    alt text

    Notice that the ears of the plate read much cooler than the rest of the plate. It looks like temperature drops off rapidly as you move away from the outline of the heater, so using an oversized plate may not provide any more printable area.


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