Musings on vinyl as a Makerbot build platform

Tags: 3d printing, abs, build material, build platform, makerbot, reprap, sorbet, vinyl, warping
I had some clear vinyl from the craft store laying around and decided to test it out as a build surface. I used double-sided tape to mount it onto a spare wood build base and printed one of the elliptical gears with it.

It's not perfect, but shows promise.

Note how the ABS has stretched up the vinyl during printing. The vinyl holds fast and doesn't allow the print to rock back and forth but it does warp more than with an acrylic platform and raft.
I used a stripe of extra ABS to prime the extruder kind of like the Raftless skeinforge plugin would do except that I can't get Raftless to work in my Skeinforge.
See the area that didn't adhere properly because the head was moving too fast. Getting the Raftless plugin working would make that stick better because it slows down the head on perimeter lines on the first layer.
Check out the finish of the bottom face, much smoother than using a raft, for sure. The best part about the vinyl is how easy it is to get a print off of it - just pull and it stretches the vinyl and releases the print. The vinyl does return to its original flat shape too.
Some of it stuck to the vinyl, though. The warping is pretty bad because the vinyl just lets the ABS warp all it wants instead of resisting like acrylic does; note the sphere curve going on:
And here's a detail of the failed adhesion at the start of the print:

I think vinyl shows some promise as a build platform material, though it would have to be adhered very well to something a little more firm. It might make a good material for that conveyor belt I've heard ideas about too, if we can figure out how to get it to stay flat.

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Posted by natetrue 5 years ago ( 27-Jan-2010 00:31:52 )

I should also say that in order to get it to adhere I made the Z-stage squish the perimeter lines against the vinyl, then pulled it up as it started doing the infill so that it wouldn't smear around. Hence the two extrusion sizes you see in the photo.

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