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Technical

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PRINTinZ Plate

PRINTinZ Skin

Installation

Installation

Leveling & Nozzle Gap

Leveling & Nozzle Gap

Adjusting adhesion

Adjusting adhesion

PLA and PLA derivatives

PLA and PLA derivatives

ABS

ABS

Other filaments

Other filaments

Part removal

Part removal

Heated beds and Plate Bow

 

Use of solvents

Use of solvents

PRINTinZ Plate modifications

PRINTinZ Skin modifications

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications

Machine specific information

Machine specific information

 

WARNINGPRINTinZ has not tested our plates or any other product we offer on every make of printer. It is the purchaser's responsibility to understand the operation of their own printer and how it is set-up. Touching a hot extruder nozzle to the surface of the plate will damage it. We are not responsible for such incidents and will not replace the plate for this sort of damage. Use of the plate will likely change your Z = 0 position and you need to account for this on your printer. We have provided limited guidance or spacers to accomplish this for some of the more popular printers at the bottom of this support page as a courtesy, but your printer may be different. Please consider how you will mount the plate to your printer bed before purchasing. We are not responsible for damage caused by interference from clips or other items used for mounting the plate.

PRINTinZ Plate™ Technical Information  

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Installation

The white and black sides are the same – you can print on either one. Choose the side that provides the most contrast to your filament color so you can see the first layer printing easily.

The PRINTinZ Plate is flexible and therefore must be attached to a flat, rigid bed like glass or aluminum. Do not attach it directly to a heat bed because these are generally not rigid. If your bed is warped, the PRINTinZ Plate will not fix this. Attach the plate to your flat print bed by clipping at the edges, ideally at four points. Make sure the clips will clear the machine frame when the axes move. Pay attention to your printer’s leveling and homing moves to be sure the extruder assembly will clear the clips. 

medium-binder-clip.jpg

Some printers have integral clips. These can be used to hold the plate. You may consider adding additional clips if necessary. Medium size standard binder clips are often the best choice, but other clips will work. 

Refer to the section below about heated beds and plate bow. For heated beds, it's important to clip all sides of the plate.

Some machines have space constraints around the bed that will not allow use of a standard binder clip. For unheated beds, you can print your own clips. PRINTinZ has designed a printable clip you can download and scale in your slicer software as needed. 

You can also use tape to hold the plate to your bed.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Leveling and nozzle gap setting

Be aware that your printing surface is now higher in Z. If your bed leveling screws don't have enough travel, you may need to adjust your Z-axis end stop or possibly make a spacer for whatever contacts the Z axis end stop. Adjust according to your printer’s design or the nozzle may crash into the plate! (Not all PRINTinZ Plates are the exact same thickness. Adjust to fit each plate if you have more than one.)

Level your bed normally. We get best results with the nozzle gap set to where two sheets of regular copy paper will just grab when sliding under the nozzle.

backoff-image-rev-b.png

Some printers use an inductive proximity sensor for auto-leveling. The PRINTinZ™ plate includes a thin layer of metal about 1.5 mm below the print surface (on both sides). This can be used to set the plate level, but you must factor in the thickness of the material above the metal layer that the sensor can’t “see”.  Every PRINTinZ™ plate is slightly different and they may vary from the black side to the white side and from plate to plate, so relevel any time you change plates or flip one over.

Do not allow a hot nozzle to touch the plate surface during an auto-leveling routine. It will damage the plate.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Adjusting adhesion

Just like other printing surfaces, several variables affect filament adhesion to the surface.

  • Nozzle height – The gap between the nozzle and the plate for the first layer should be set to the thickness of two sheets of regular copy paper. This factor has the strongest influence.
  • Plate temperature – A heated plate adds to the temperature at the point of contact and increases adhesion.
  • Nozzle temperature – Hotter temperatures for the extruded filament will increase adhesion. We recommend 200°C minimum nozzle temperature for PLA.
  • First layer print speed – Slower print speed allows for greater adhesion of the first layer. We recommend 30-50% of your normal speed for the first layer.
  • First layer height – A thicker first layer will increase adhesion and ease print removal. Try 150% first layer height as a starting point. Very thin first layers are often difficult to remove.
  • Part geometry – Parts with large contact areas will adhere better than parts with small contact areas. The variables above should be adjusted based on the part you are printing. If the contact area is too small, you may need to add a brim to your model to increase it.

You should plan to make some test prints with a simple part to determine the best set-up for your machine and filament. We recommend starting with the same settings you have used for your machine previously, but lowering your bed temperature (if heated) by 20-30°C (or print without heat for PLA).  Its better if the first couple attempts don’t stick, than if they stick too much. If you get weak adhesion to the plate, try changing one variable at a time to increase adhesion. (See the section below regarding heated beds.)

Some users have asked if glue can be used as needed to increase adhesion. While the intent of the PRINTinZ™ products is to eliminate the need for other adhesives or tape, we have found that glue stick works amazingly well with our surfaces. In fact, glue stick will sometimes act as a good release agent and prevent over adhesion.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - PLA and PLA derivatives (Laywood, Bronzefill, etc.)

Try printing PLA without a heated bed. If you are printing a very challenging part that is warping near edges, you can heat the bed to increase adhesion, but we recommend not heating it to more than 50°C on the top surface or you may get too much adhesion. You should never need to heat the bed for PLA derivatives. 

Recommended initial settings for PLA

Nozzle Temp: 210°C  (At least for the first layer)

Bed Temp: Unheated (always try unheated first, then add heat if necessary - 50°C max)

Nozzle gap: Two sheets of paper

First layer speed: 30%

First layer height: 150% (for 0.2 mm primary layer thickness, try 200% for 0.1 mm primary layer thickness)

First layer width: 100%

PRINTinZ Plate™ - ABS

The bed, with a plate installed, may be heated to 90°C MAX for printing ABS. This will yield about 70-75°C on the top surface of the plate. If you have any means to trap heat around your printer (e.g., enclosure) this will help reduce warping. We do not recommend trying to print very large ABS parts or using high infill for ABS. The forces may be strong enough to delaminate the plate or bend it against the clips, resulting in a warped part and/or damaged plate.  It’s a good idea to start with smaller ABS parts and work up to bigger ones to determine the limits on your printer.

Recommended initial settings for ABS

Nozzle Temp: 230°C

Bed Temp: 90°C MAX (Heating the bed more than this will not significantly reduce warping, but it may shorten the life of your plate.)

(Please note - we have recently reduced the maximum recommended bed temperature for our plates. It used to be 100°C, but we have learned that running it closer to 90°C will prolong the life of the plate and reduce the chance of over-adhesion. May 28, 2017)

Nozzle gap: Two sheets of paper

First layer speed: 50%

First layer height: 150% (for 0.2 mm primary layer thickness, try 200% for 0.1 mm primary layer thickness)

First layer width: 100%

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Other filaments

PETG - works well using the same settings as ABS.

PLA/PHA - sticks very well to the PRINTinZ surfaces. Do not heat the bed and make sure you don't have the nozzle too close for the first layer. If you have a large contact area, you may also want to use glue stick, which will make part removal easier.

TPU - should be printed on an unheated bed at the filament manufacturer’s recommended nozzle temp. (Some name brand flexible filaments, like NinjaFlex, can tend to stick too much. You should try printing your first layer faster, reducing nozzle temperature and increase the initial nozzle gap for these until you find the best settings.)

PVA - can be printed on an unheated bed at the filament manufacturer’s recommended nozzle temp.

HIPS - works well using the same settings as ABS.

Nylon – small to medium parts can be printed on a heated plate using glue stick.

Polycarbonate - Use similar settings to ABS, but with 260C nozzle temperature.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Part removal

Printed part geometry varies greatly, so the best method to remove a print varies as well. For some parts, a small flex of the plate will break it loose or remove it completely, but for other parts (especially small or thin parts) you will need to use a sharp putty knife or spatula to skim the part off the plate. (Do NOT use a razor blade.) The following videos demonstrate part removals.  Watch these to get a feel for how it works.

 

Try to keep your tool flat to the plate surface so you don’t gouge it with a sharp edge. Using a spatula with rounded corners will help avoid chips in the plate surface.

putty-knife-on-plate.png

 Wear heavy gloves to protect your hands!

  

We recommend flexing your plate over the edge of a table or work bench, focusing the bend under the printed part. Flex it in one axis and then turn it 90° and flex it in the perpendicular axis. This is a better method than twisting the plate.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Heated beds

The PRINTinZ™ Plate is constructed of layers of different materials. These materials have low coefficients of expansion, but when heated, the layers expand slightly – mostly in X and Y. This, of course, creates some bow in the plate since they expand at slightly different rates. Bowing caused by heating the plate is offset by the force of the clips holding the plate to the bed (since the bottom layer will be the hottest).

We recommend leveling the plate after it has pre-heated if possible. If not, then set your initial gap slightly bigger than normal in case it is affected by the heated bed.

If you add to that the much stronger forces of warping ABS, then the plate bow can overcome the force of the clips and you get a warped bottom. This is why we don’t recommend printing large, dense ABS parts. For small to medium sized parts, binder clips are typically sufficient to hold the plate flat.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Plate Bow

Any residual bow in the plate after printing or bending it can be lessened by reverse bending the plate. Spinning it on a flat surface can indicate if there is still bow and in which direction. Always install the plate so any small residual bow is “domed side down” on the bed so the clips will pull it flat. This video shows the technique:

 

PRINTinZ Plate™ Use of solvents

We recommend cleaning the plate surface with isopropyl alcohol only. This will remove dirt or skin oil and aid with adhesion. Be sure it’s completely dry before printing. Acetone or other solvents can damage the print surface, especially if left in contact for more than a few minutes. Stuck on prints are better removed by skimming with a sharp tool and then sanding carefully to a flat surface. If a part becomes extremely stuck to the plate, it may have to be destroyed to remove it. This video demonstrates the method to remove print residue from an extremely stuck print:

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Modifications

Since many people who use 3D printers pride themselves on being Makers, you may want to modify your plate for a different machine or installation method. Here are a few tips if you plan to alter your plate:

  • Cutting is best accomplished with a table saw with a diamond blade like used for tile. Second choice is a band saw. A scroll saw will probably work too. Laser cutting is NOT recommended.
  • Holes can be drilled using conventional twist drills. Be sure the exit side is well supported.
  • Machined edges should be sanded to remove sharp edges.
  • If you drill holes or cut slots in the plate for inserting an attachment screw, be sure to leave the hole or slot over size to allow for expansion of the plate when heating it. Do not use excessive force with attachment screws that prevent the plate from moving when heated or the plate may bow.

We cannot replace or refund plates that have been altered after sale. 

! Make changes at your own risk and use proper safety equipment including respiratory protection.

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Technical Specifications:

Plate thickness: 4.5mm +/-0.4mm  (Note: This is the possible thickness range from one plate to another - not within one plate.)

Length and Width: +/-1mm

PRINTinZ Plate™ - Machine specific information

Note: This list is not all inclusive. Your printer may need a spacer or end stop adjustment.

PRINTER

COMMENTS

Makerbot Replicator 2

The PRINTinZ™ plate has cut-outs to clear the printer bed clips. We recommend printing your own clips. Search Thingiverse for "Ninja Clips". Not every plate is exactly the same thickness so you may need to adjust the clips to suit your plate. There is also a Z axis stop you need to print to compensate for the plate thickness. Please see this page for details.

Ultimaker 2

The PRINTinZ™ plate will replace the glass. It fits under the machine's clips. Add more clips if you like.

Printrbot Simple Metal

Included is a layer of copper (on both sides) to enable the use of the inductive proximity sensor found on the Printrbot Simple Metal for auto leveling. Mount the PRINTinZ™ plate to your machine by using small binder clips (or printed clips of your own design) to fasten it on top of your build platform.  Be sure they won't hit the machine frame. Please note that the thickness of the outer layer may vary from one side of the plate to the other. Double check your calibration when flipping the plate over.

Delta machines

Round PRINTinZ™ plates can be clipped to your delta style machine just like other beds. Even bed heating is important with the round plates.

FlashForge

There is a printable shim for the Z-axis here.

Monoprice Mini

There is a printable shim for the Z-axis here

 

 

PRINTinZ Skin™ Technical Information

PRINTinZ Skin™ - Installation

The adhesive backing on the PRINTinZ Skin™ is 3M 468mp. This is an extremely strong, heat resistant adhesive transfer tape. It is not reusable or repositionable. We recommend covering your printer bed with masking tape (blue tape, painter’s tape, etc.) before applying the skin. This will make removing the skin easier. Be sure the masking tape is applied smoothly with no overlaps and wipe it off with alcohol to remove any silicone release agent on the back side of it..

If you can remove your bed from the printer to apply the skin, then this makes it easier.

Some skins may be sized to match the printable area of your bed and others may match the entire bed surface. (These may be the same thing on some printers.) Before removing the release liner from the skin, position it on your bed where you want it located. If it is not sized to cover your bed completely, then make a small mark where the corner of the skin will be located.

Remove the adhesive backing from the skin all at once. Then align a corner of the skin to a corner of the bed (or the mark). Lower one edge down keeping it parallel with that side of the bed. Flex the skin slightly and roll it down onto the bed from the initial edge to the opposite edge.

Use your fingers to firmly press the skin onto your printer bed. Try to apply pressure to all areas of the skin. If applying to a glass plate, you will see from the opposite side that there is not 100% contact. This is normal! Just press to get as much contact as possible.

skin-on-glass.jpg 

We recommend not printing parts that may try to warp significantly (ABS) until the skin is installed for at least one day. This gives the adhesive time to cure.

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Leveling and nozzle gap setting

Be aware that your printing surface is now higher in Z by about 1.5 mm. If your bed leveling screws don't have enough travel, you may need to adjust your Z-axis end stop or possibly make a spacer for whatever contacts the Z axis end stop. Adjust according to your printer’s design or the nozzle may crash into the skin! (Not all PRINTinZ Skins™ are the exact same thickness. Adjust to fit each skin if you have more than one.)

Level your bed normally. We get best results with the nozzle gap set to where two sheets of regular copy paper will just grab when sliding under the nozzle.

backoff-image-rev-b.png

Some printers use an inductive proximity sensor or magnetic sensor for auto-leveling. Unlike the PRINTinZ Plate, the Skin does NOT include any metal in its construction. We have found that some inductive sensors (like those on the Printrbot printers) do not have enough range to detect an aluminum bed under the skin before the nozzle touches the surface of the skin. The same may be true for the sensing range of a magnetic sensor.  The Skin has a glass cloth inter layer that may reduce the sensing range, so even if you test your sensor and it operates at 1.5-2mm distance, the Skin may reduce that range. A skin may not be a good option for these printers.

Do not allow a hot nozzle to touch the skin surface during an auto-leveling routine. It will damage the surface.

If your printer sets bed level and Z-offset by touching leveling pads at the corners of the bed (not on the actual print surface) then we recommend using a manual leveling method to set the nozzle gap using the thickness of two sheets of paper. Be sure to adjust your Z-axis offset accordingly.

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Adjusting adhesion

Just like other printing surfaces, several variables affect filament adhesion to the surface.

  • Nozzle height – The gap between the nozzle and the skin surface for the first layer should be set to the thickness of two sheets of regular copy paper. This factor has the strongest influence.
  • Bed temperature – A heated bed adds to the temperature at the point of contact and increases adhesion.
  • Nozzle temperature – Hotter temperatures for the extruded filament will increase adhesion. We recommend 200°C minimum nozzle temperature for PLA.
  • First layer print speed – Slower print speed allows for greater adhesion of the first layer. We recommend 30-50% of your normal speed for the first layer.
  • First layer height – A thicker first layer will increase adhesion and ease print removal. Try 150% first layer height as a starting point.
  • Part geometry – Parts with large contact areas will adhere better than parts with small contact areas. The variables above should be adjusted based on the part you are printing. If the contact area is too small, you may need to add a brim to your model to increase it.

You should plan to make some test prints with a simple part to determine the best set-up for your machine and filament. We recommend starting with the same settings you have used for your machine previously, but lowering your bed temperature (if heated) by 20-30°C (or print without heat for PLA).  Its better if the first couple attempts don’t stick, than if they stick too much. If you get weak adhesion to the PRINTinZ Skin™, try changing one variable at a time to increase adhesion.

Some users have asked if glue can be used as needed to increase adhesion. While the intent of the PRINTinZ™ products is to eliminate the need for other adhesives or tape, glue will not hurt the skin and can be used if necessary. Some users have found that nylon will adhere if used with PVA on a heated skin.

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - PLA and PLA derivatives (Laywood, Bronzefill, etc.)

Try printing PLA without a heated bed. If you are printing a very challenging part that is warping near edges, you can heat the bed to increase adhesion, but we recommend not heating it to more than 50°C on the skin surface or you may get too much adhesion.

Recommended initial settings for PLA

Nozzle Temp: 210°C

Bed Temp: Unheated

Nozzle gap: Two sheets of paper

First layer speed: 30%

First layer height: 150%

First layer width: 100%

Note that some PLA derivatives (e.g., Copperfill, Laywood, PLA/PHA, etc.) can adhere too well, typically because they print at higher temperatures. For these, a single coat of glue stick will act as a release agent and help avoid over adhesion. Here is a video demostrating this.

 

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - ABS

We recommend a surface temperature of 80°C on the skin for printing ABS. The skin transfers heat efficiently, so a bed temperature no higher than 85°C should be used.  If you have any means to trap heat around your printer (e.g., enclosure) this will help reduce warping. We do not recommend trying to print very large ABS parts or using high infill for ABS. The forces may be strong enough to pull the skin from the bed or deform the surface, resulting in a warped part and/or damaged skin.  It’s a good idea to start with smaller ABS parts and work up to bigger ones to determine the limits on your printer.

Recommended initial settings for ABS

Nozzle Temp: 230°C

Bed Temp: 80°C

Nozzle gap: Two sheets of paper

First layer speed: 50%

First layer height: 150%

First layer width: 100%

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Other filaments

PETG - works well using the same settings as ABS.

PLA/PHA - sticks very well to the PRINTinZ surfaces. Try printing on an unheated bed and make sure you don't have the nozzle too close for the first layer.

TPU - should be printed on an unheated bed at the filament manufacturer’s recommended nozzle temp. (Some name brand flexible filaments, like NinjaFlex, can tend to stick too much. You should try printing your first layer faster, reducing nozzle temperature and increase the initial nozzle gap for these until you find the best settings.)

PVA - can be printed on an unheated bed at the filament manufacturer’s recommended nozzle temp.

HIPS - works well using the same settings as ABS.

Nylon – small to medium parts can be printed on a heated skin using glue stick*.

*We recommend Elmer’s Extra Strength Glue Stick

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Part removal

If printing on a heated bed, we recommend letting the bed temperature cool below 40°C before trying to remove your parts.

Skim your parts from the PRINTinZ Skin™ using a sharp putty knife or spatula (do NOT use a razor blade.), starting at a corner and working the blade under the part by wiggling it side to side. Work the blade under the part slowly. Try not to pry the part directly up from the surface.

Watch this to get a feel for how it works:

 

Try to keep your tool flat to the skin surface so you don’t gouge it with a sharp edge. Using a spatula with rounded corners will help avoid chips in the skin surface.

putty-knife-on-plate.png

Wear heavy gloves to protect your hands!

PRINTinZ Skin ™ Use of solvents

We recommend cleaning the skin surface with isopropyl alcohol only. This will remove dirt or skin oil and aid with adhesion. Be sure it’s completely dry before printing. Acetone or other solvents can damage the print surface, especially if left in contact for more than a few minutes. Stuck on prints are better removed by skimming with a sharp tool and then sanding carefully to a flat surface. If a part becomes extremely stuck to the skin, it may have to be destroyed to remove it. This video demonstrates the method to remove print residue from an extremely stuck print:

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Modifications

The PRINTinZ Skin™ can be cut with aviation shears, a band saw or a laser. If using shears or a saw, be careful not to create any lumps in the adhesive backing. If you do, they should be carefully cut out with a razor blade to prevent having a high spot in the installed print surface.

! Cut edges should be lightly sanded – they are very sharp!

We cannot replace or refund skins  that have been altered after sale. 

! Make changes at your own risk and use proper safety equipment including respiratory protection.

 

PRINTinZ Skin ™ - Technical Specifications:

Plate thickness: 1.5mm +/-0.2mm  (Note: this is the possible thickness range from one Skin to another - not within one skin.)

Length and Width: +/-1mm

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