Heated Build Platforms

What is it?

MakerBot Hotness is controlled heating of the build surface of the MakerBot CupCake CNC to minimize warping, improve 3D printing, enable larger object builds, and provide a host of assorted other goodies such as raft-free printing, easy object release from temperature responsive surfaces such as glass, …

Why do we need it?

warping… raft-badness…

Who's working on it?

Lots of people and groups are working on their own versions and designs. Hive76, Pleasant Software, MakerGear, AllArtBurns…

How to build and use?

The heated build platform can be constructed from a number of parts:

  • the build surface, either the stock surface supplied with the cupcake or a replacement
  • the build platform, which holds the build surface to the Y stage
  • a heater element, either on the build platform or between the build platform and the build surface
  • a temperature sensor
  • a controller (either passive or active) to power the heater element and maintain the temperature
  • possible software changes to set the temperature

MakerBot Cupcake Heated Build Platform v2.0

Build details are available on the wiki here as well as on Thingiverse

What are the different designs?

—ONLY POST YOUR MOST CURRENT OR BEST DESIGNS HERE, but feel free to link to a history of your designs on a different wiki page if you like —

MakerBot Hotness == Hive76 design, heating with electricity stabilized by silicone insulation

this is the first heated build stage design that started them all, designed through collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania.

"Pleasant Warmth" - Design from Pleasant Software

Inspired by the success of the Hive76 design, I built this heated platform out of a 6mm aluminum plate, heated by 3x2.2Ω power resistors. The aluminum takes care of a uniform and stable heat distribution.
The design was the first driven and controlled by the Extruder Controller board (so no extra controller or power source needed).
The whole thing is documented in my blog:

Meanwhile, the firmware changes for the second temperature zone are part of the official firmware. So you you can just get the most recent version of the extruder firmware (and ReplicatorG) from the MakerBot GitHub archives.

Please note, that the Raftless tool requires the newer version of Skeinforge ("created at 2009-11-06"). This version is available as part of the ReplicatorG archive. It doesn't work with the "official 0006 release"!

ssd2 (01/14/10):
Alternatively, you can eliminate the raft by setting the number of Base and Interface layers in the raft to zero, while still allowing the raft module to center the part and bring it to the build platform level.

zaggo (01/16/10):
The Raftless script not only switches off the raft, but let you slow down the printing of the 1st layer's perimeter loops. This helps a lot when printing complex (i.e. not rectangular) shapes without a raft.

Nichrome Aluminum

Similar to Pleasant Warmth, use kapton tape to attach 30cm of nichrome (enough to make 6-10 ohms, same as the extruder heater element) along with the thermistor to the bottom of a plate of aluminum, and heat and control it with the extruder using upgraded firmware. Use the build surface supplied with your machine or replace it with a glass or ceramic surface if you are using PLA.

Note that some care must be taken that:

  • The nichrome wire doesn't directly touch wood where it could get hot
  • The thermistor is not crushed between the platform and the Y stage
  • The thermistor is in contact with the build platform and getting good readings (so you don't end up with thermal run-away), and is not ripped lose by the weight of its own wires.
  • the wiring is carefully routed to not get tangled in the Y stage, or any of the stage motors or pull on the platform while it moves

It would also be nice if there was a modular plug for the wiring near the platform or mounted to it.

Connect the thermistor to the three-pin header on the Extruder Controller 2.2 board marked "A6". The pin at the top, nearest the A6 label, is Ground. The middle pin is VCC (+5V). The bottom pin is Signal (connected to the A6 analog input of the processor). Connect the thermistor between Signal and Ground. Connect a 4.7KΩ resistor (color code Yellow-Purple-Red) between VCC and Signal. Connect a 10µF capacitor across the thermistor (from Signal to Ground). Make sure that the + side of the capacitor is connected to Signal and the - side is connected to Ground.

Note: The description of the Extruder Controller V2.2 board says that the top pin ("nearest the label A6") is Signal but the circuit board traces show that the top pin is Ground and the bottom pin is Signal.

MakerBot Cupcake Heated Build Platform v2.0

This is the second design to be sold in the MakerBot store.

Build details are available on the wiki here as well as on Thingiverse

The design utilizes traces on the PC board to generate heat and an aluminum plate with assistance from thermal paste to create a heated build surface.

The red LEDs are not required, but provide an opportunity to practice your soldering skills.

Roboteernat's FR4 and Nichrome wire heated build platform.

This design is available on Thingiverse with build details on his Nats Nonsense blog.

This design depends on readily available parts (except perhaps for the Copper Clad FR4).

next design here

How do I make one?

The two things you need are heat and control. Control is very important (no fires please!), and is generally accomplished with a thermistor or temperature sensing element for feedback. But there's a lot of room for creativity, you could get very crafty here… PTC heaters, hair dryers, … are all valid designs and some have even been successfully used in the field as reported on the makerbot operators listserv.


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