First BuildTak experience

Earlier in the week whilst trying out printing ABS on my 3D Printer I found that I was getting warping issues using the blue painters tape that I’ve always applied to my print bed.  I’ve been reading up about different printing surfaces, and ended up settling upon BuildTak since I’ve read some really good things about its adhesion, and it seems to be the easiest to get hold of in the UK.  In short, I was very impressed!

Installing the BuildTak sheet

Installation of the BuildTak sheet was pretty simple.  If you have ever added a screen protector to smartphone or tablet, then the process will be familiar.  I managed to get the sheet added to my glass plate with no trapped air bubbles, though I suspect the thickness of the sheet helped with this.  My glass plate is 200mm x 210 mm, and the closest match I could get for the BuildTak sheet was 203mm x 203mm.  As such, the sheet didn’t cover all of the plate in one direction, and needed some slight trimming in the other.

BuildTak applied to the glass plate on my Prusa i3 Rework.

BuildTak applied to the glass plate on my Prusa i3 Rework.

Printing performance

Generally, the recommended heated bed temperature for printing ABS is 110°C, however I’ve been struggling to get it over 104°C lately.  Because of this, I ended up sticking with 100°C for my prints lately.  Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my first print with BuildTak, a top right Z-Axis bracket for the Prusa i3 Rework, had no warping at all!  Contrast this to the left bracket that had quite bad warping when printed on blue painters tape.  I honestly thought that running the heated bed at a lower temperature would prevent BuildTak from working as well as others have reported, but it seems that is not the case.

Comparison of printed parts with BuildTak and blue painters tape

On the left, the bracket printed on BuildTak. On the right, the bracket printed on blue painters tape.

Once thing that I have been worried about is removing the prints without damaging the print surface, however so far I’ve not had any issues.  I’ve been keeping my scraper as flat as I can to the print surface and that seems to have avoided scratching it, helping my get 5 prints so far off of it and while I can see some glossier parts of the sheet where previous prints stuck down, so far I’ve not seen any degradation in performance.

Closing thoughts

So overall, I’d highly recommend BuildTak to anyone suffering from warping issues with their prints.  I’ve only tried it with ABS so far so I can’t comment on the performance of it with PLA, however given the reputation of ABS to be much more prone to warping I seriously doubt PLA will have any issues at all.

If you have any questions about my experiences with BuildTak, or would like to mention your preferred 3D Printing surface, then please leave a comment below.

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