Ok everyone, I have a new question I haven’t seen discussed yet. Has anyone here tried using an aluminum print bed that has a non-smooth surface finish? I’ve been thinking of getting an aluminum plate textured with a somewhat small, shallow pattern that would help with bed adhesion without having to apply tape, glue, etc. if possible. Yes, this will give a pattern on the bottom of parts, but that’s ok and if I don’t want the pattern, I’ll just use a raft. This could also cause a problem with the bond being TOO strong and damage the parts during removal…not to mention bed cleaning.

PEI (Polyetherimide) Sheet applied to the bed or glass (I prefer the latter) would do what you’re asking. We are talking about ABS or PLA right?

You would need a very aggressive mechanical tooth on the aluminum to hold the material to do what you are describing.

I’m trying to get away from PEI sheets, tape, glue or anything applied to the bed, if possible. Yes, they are proven solutions…I use those methods currently too. While I know there’s an associated cost up-front, it could still be beneficial in the long run to have a textured aluminum bed. Look at the Zortrax bed. It is basically a perforated top-sheet and from what I’ve seen, it works very well. I don’t care for glass sheets since I had had a limit switch go out and shatter the glass. I can print on a regular aluminum sheet with hairspray applied, but it gets messy over time. I’m looking to just see if anyone has tried something like this to see how well it works.

Hey @Jory,

While I don’t have an aluminum bed for my FDM printers, I do have a metal build plate on my SLA printer. It’s gotten fairly pockmarked and scuffed from use, and now removal of my prints are a royal pain. The prints definitely stick TOO well to the buildplate now that it’s a bit textured! It used to take me under a minute to remove prints; now I have to hack away at my bases to get them to release.

Hi @Jory, I wouldn’t want a textured bed as I’d never be able to get that perfect smooth finish you can get from glass. If someone wants, say, a control panel, it’s nice to be able to produce a perfectly smooth, glossy surface; printing on a raft won’t do that. Yes, glass can (and in your case obviously has!) break if there’s a failure by the printer, but a different failure could send your nozzle dragging/digging across the aly plate, or burn out a motor or … well, lots of things. I don’t think you can dismiss glass when it’s got so many advantages just because of one specific failure.

Why not combine the best of both worlds? I use a glass plate that’s easily removable, mainly so I can switch out models for cooling, but it also means they’re easy to properly clean and you can spray them “remotely”, not inside the printer itself. If you’re set against glass, why not look at doing something similar with an aluminium plate, making it easily removable for cleaning/spraying, but still non-breakable?

On my MendleMax, I’ve intentionally scratched up/scraped the build plate and it has helped with bed adhesion compared to the smooth plate it used to be. That’s part of why I’m inquiring here, to see if anyone has gone the extra mile and actually had their bed modified thru chemical/laser/mechanical etching or some other process.

Hi @cobnut, thanks for the response. I personally don’t like having one area of the print with a perfectly smooth surface when all the rest are clearly different. I don’t mind printing on a raft so the part has a more uniform look to it, so long as the raft sticks to the bed well. I also am totally with you for having the bed easily removable so it can be treated (if needed) outside of the machine.

That’s exactly the type of response I was looking for! I figured that this would be the case and that a little trial-and-error on the texturing could give me a surface to print on with minimal additives to help keep the part from curling and/or coming loose during the build. Thanks!

Hi, Anny updates on your alumumium base plate? I’m curently triing diferent sending paper grits