Considering a Silicone Heated Pad? Do it!

heated pad installed

Two days ago I  dealt with heat bed failures  where I talked about ordering a silicone heated pad.  It arrived yesterday and today I am up and running.  It is absolutely great!

heated pad installed
Silicone heated pad installed

What a Difference

One of the most annoying aspects of starting a print job is waiting for the heated bed to make it to temperature.  With the silicone heated pad the bed reaches 85 C before the hot end is up to temperature (240 C).

The Silicone Heated Pad

The FLSun Cube does in fact uses the same heated bed size as the  Creality 10 so this silicone pad was a perfect fit. I removed the wires and sucked off the solder from the original bed and then cleaned the back surface with rubbing alcohol before applying the pad.  The hardest part was removing the solder.

The Wiring

The silicone pad has very long electrical leads of a flexible 10 or 12 G wire.  I simply added cable wrap and a male plug.  The Solid State Relay (SSR) is the on/off switch for the silicone heated pad. The pad will remain off until the signal line is pulled high to turn it on.

Solid State Relay for Silicone Heated Pad
Solid State Relay for Silicone Heated Pad

The wire on the silicone pad is very flexible and heavy duty, a lot higher quality than most cords.  This was an unexpected upgrade.

Configuration change

The Thermistor is 100K “3950” (Marlin Type 11).  A thermistor attached to the pad is not as ideal as one embedded in the build plate but I did check it out and it seemed to be within 5 C.  I want to research PID tuning the bed but I will leave that for another day.

Summary

My first print is completed and was better than I have ever from that printer.  I feel a lot more comfortable knowing the load from that heated bed is no longer flowing through the control board and whats more I didn’t have to replace the controller.

The Solid State Relay generates no noticeable heat with the heated bed at 85 C.  The wire to the bed remains cool even though the bed is now up to temperature before the nozzle.  I’d say this was a success!

 

Up and Printing with my new Prusa MK3

After a couple of days printing with the MK3 I’ve had more success than months with my A8.  I’m not complaining because I purchased the A8 to learn about 3D printing and it accomplished that goal well.  I am simply lamenting on how nice it is to just print and not be looking at what upgrades I could print to make my printer better.  I believe the MK3 is a trend-setter and now with a little experience with the printer I am more convinced than ever that Prusa has delivered again.

MK3 – Second Day Impression

Getting used to new equipment is usually a challenge and  I’ve found the MK3 is no different.  It is a lot like working with an infant.  You have to give it what it needs, when it needs it, and it doesn’t know how to communicate well. It is simply clear that it needs something.

For example, it is cool to load and unload filament on the MK3.  That also means always having to use menus, some of which are not always available.  I’ll talk more about those in another post.

Yesterday I discovered that for some filaments, specifically my Crystal Series transparent orange PETG, doesn’t properly register with the filament sensor.  That is to say, it sees it only part of the time.  I must turn off filament sensing to print with this filament.  I suspect this may be a problem with other translucent and clear materials.

Eliminating the filament detection also helped me deal with auto-loading.  I’ve found, at least while I’m getting used to the printer, I like to make sure the filament is through the tube and down to the gear before engaging. I’ve found some filament is harder to get through than others, especially if it is the curvy from being the end of a roll.  Turning off Auto Loading simply means you must push the button to load the filament.   When Auto Loading is active as soon as the filament is detected it will beep and start loading.  Sometimes I had  trouble getting the filament through the tube and down to the gear fast enough and would have to cycle it again.  It is nice to have an option.

Summary

I am very pleased with my Original Prusa MK3 printer.  I’ve been printing with PolyCarbonite (PC) and absolutely loving the results.  The bearing races for air-soft 6mm BBs I printed spin and spin.  I printed a fidget-spinner and am seriously impressed with how well it works.

With my A8 I printed parts.  They were rarely of the quality I was looking for and printing was not consistent or easy.  I spent a lot of time tuning, researching, and working on upgrades, and got in only a little printing.

In contrast my almost everything with the MK3 has been stellar.  The build, first printing, tuning, and more.  Moving on to other materials I am getting to know the printer better and truly enjoying the results.  I have absolutely no need to upgrade anything.

I’ll leave upgrades to the MK3 with Prusa.  I have the Multiple Materials kit (MM 2.0) on pre-order which is now scheduled to release in May. It sounds like that is a ‘bolt on’ rather than conversion so I the printer remains the same even with the kit.

The MK3 is a solid machine.  I am impressed with the quality of the equipment, detailed build instructions, and overall operation.  I am very pleased with my new printer.