This article specially is a brief introduction for currently 3D printing sheets features in different materials.

With high speed developments and high demands of 3D printing industry, there are many home-made 3D printing machine devices for common people to use by just developing a special designed file through software, which is wonderful progress for human technology to make your idea into reality.

Due to different 3D printing materials by people’s daily use, there are also high demands for a proper 3D printing build plate, which sometimes directly defines the final printing product quality. So it will be definitely necessary for the 3D printing user to choose the appropriate 3D printing plates.

Currently due to different parameters such as stickiness, heat resistance, and hardness for wear-ability, flatness, and cost, there are several 3D printing build plates for people to choose as following:

  1. Glass build plates
  2. Latticed glass build plates
  3. PEI 3D printing plates by films
  4. PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating
  5. Pure steel plates
  6. Soft plates

Hereby I will make the introduction and comparison for you to know the difference and features of those plates in various situations in order for you to make the right choice when you make the 3D printing.

  1. Glass build plates

Glass build plates are commonly used in the market at the beginning of home-made 3D printing device due to its comprehensive features from the consideration of good stickiness, high hardness with good wear resistance, good flatness, cheap cost and high heat resistance, especially for borosilicate glass build plates, whose temperature for heat resistance can be 300℃。

Normally glass build plates can be sticky well even though there is no glue on the plate surface for many printing materials as long as you fix the plate well by clips, which will be very important for this kind of build plates. And since it is made by glass, so you need to use BLtouch sensor only for the printing.

And be careful when printing ABS by glass build plate, normally you need glue on the glass surface for ABS. But when it is borosilicate glass plate, there will be chemical reaction with ABS materials and glue and the glass plate. The printed parts will be easily broken. So you need to use normal glass plate by doing ABS printing.

  1. Latticed glass build plates

The latticed glass build plates have similar properties as normal glass build plates. The only difference is latticed coating layer on the glass plate surface, which is supposed to increase the stickiness of the plate for the printing parts. However, the actual performance is not so achieved in the printing process unless you put glue on the layer.  And what’s more, the layer is easily broken when you often need to shovel the final parts out of the plate.  So we don’t suggest normal users to choose this kind of plates by paying more.

  1. PEI 3D printing plates by films

PEI 3D printing plates by films are plates with combination of PEI film, 3M glue, steel board, and magnet. PEI 3D printing plates by films have very good stickiness just as glass build plates with glue even if you don’t put glue on the surface layer. And its removability after printing also gives PEI 3D printing plate a good point for consideration. Usually it will be very smooth even for the bottom side.

However, PEI 3D printing plates by films are a combination plates. So it is much easier to have temperature heat resistance problem. For example, when you print ABS parts, you need to adjust the board temperature above 90-100℃. At this temperature, the 3M glue may have problem of bubbles, which will sometimes cause problems for PEI films degumming, especially in the middle areas of the PEI 3D printing plates by films. So that the films will be broken eventually. And PEI film is not in a cheap cost.

What’s more, the PEI film itself can bear lower temperature. Normally temperature higher than 150℃ may cause problem for the film. If you accidentally put the high temperature of injector nozzle on the surface of PEI film, it may got melt.

  1. PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating

PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating is a very good improvement for PEI 3D printing plate. Though it is still a combination of PEI powder coating layer, steel plate and magnet, PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating makes people a very cost-effective way for printing boards.

Due to high heat resistance of PEI powder and steel plate, PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating can withstand temperature of 100~300℃ normally without any problem. It is mainly because of the PEI powder coating performing advantage. Not like PEI film, PEI powder coating sheet for 3D printing doesn’t need the 3M glue layer to stick PEI with steel plate. So you don’t have to worry about the bubbles for PEI film broken or PEI film melting problem in case of wrong processing in printing.

And thanks to different sizes of PEI powder (made by T&T Industry Group Ltd www.ttindustrygroup.com) , PEI sheets 3D printing by PEI powder coating can be functioned well for different materials 3D printing application.  For materials like ABS, PLA, PA, etc, it is better to choose rough size PEI sheets 3D printing by PEI powder coating, which means the coarse powder size of PEI powder are good enough for the sheet to increase the wear resistance of the surface between the PEI sheets 3D printing by PEI powder coating and printing parts. Surely the bottom part will be not exactly smooth as the PEI film one, which normally not a big problem for most clients.

When you want to print materials like PC, PETG or other polyester grade filament, you can use finer size PEI sheets 3D printing by PEI powder coating. Due to the similarity of PEI and Polyester materials, it is much easier for PC, PETG filaments to stay tight on the finer surface of the PEI sheets 3D printing by PEI powder coating. And the underside will be much smoother just like PEI 3D printing plate by film.

And what’s more, since you don’t need to worry about PEI film problem, you don’t need to risk your masterpieces being defected by shoveling way. You just need to take the PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating out, and take one step to bend the steel sheet slightly. Then your workpieces will come out of the sheet much smoother and easier, which will never be realized by glass plate or PEI film plate.

So actually it depends on your demands to choose the correct 3D printing sheets. Some clients will choose double-sided sheets with one side of PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating, and PEI films another side. In our opinion, double sided sheets with both PEI powder rough and finer will be much more effective, which will be the final trend applied for most of home-made 3D printing machine devices.

  1. Pure steel plates

Pure steel plates are a good choice if you just want a plate without any function when doing 3D printing. You need to take glue on the sheet surface for 3D printing due to very low friction of the pure steel plate surface. However, this kind of printing board is not easy for home-made 3D printing machine users. So we don’t mention a lot for this part.

  1. Soft plates

Soft plates for 3D printing plate is similar as PEI 3D printing plate by PEI Film. Only difference is there are three layers only. First two layers are PC sheet with 3M glue layer. Bottom layer is the magnet.  This soft plates can perform well in short time with good cost. However, this kind of sheet is not good for long time printing usage due to its cheap materials of PC, which will be easily brittle after some time high temperature production though this is the cheapest plates in the market.

With the growth of the industrialization of human beings, 3D printing will be the trend for our final purpose daily life of personalized product specially for one. So a good 3D printing machine with good 3D printing plates will be very important. In this article we can make a conclusion, PEI sheet 3D printing by PEI powder coating will be more and more becoming people’s best choice.

If you want to know more about PEI powder coating, click here for more info about Milled PEI Powder.

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