Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thermal Performance of UMMD's Print Bed

UMMD, my recently built coreXY 3D printer, has been at the Milwaukee MakerSpace for the last week while I put the finishing touches on it before it's public debut at the Milwaukee Maker Faire at the end of September.  One of the members, John Olson, brought his FLIR camera to the makerspace meeting tonight and we were able to make a couple images of the bed with it.

In case you haven't seen UMMD's bed design, you can read all about it here.  The bed is a piece of 300 x 300 x 8mm, MIC6 cast aluminum tooling plate with a 0.7 mm layer of PEI on top and a 750W line powered heater on the bottom.

In the images below, I set the bed temperature in the controller and left it for a few minutes to stabilize.  The controller uses PID temperature regulation and drives an SSR that switches power through the bed heater.

In the first image, the controller was set to 70C, typical for printing PLA.  You can see there is some offset between the controller reading and the FLIR temperature reading.  But more important than absolute temperature, you can see that there is only about 3C variation in temperature across the bed surface, with some droop at the corners and edges, as expected.  There appears to be a hot spot at the front edge of the bed- that's actually just a reflection of the hot-end.

In the next image, the controller was set to 105C, a temperature typical for printing ABS.  Again, the bed temperature is a few degrees lower than the controller thinks.  This time there's about 5C  variation in temperature across the bed surface, expected because the higher temperature will cause more convection that cools the edges and corners of the bed.  

It's hard to beat cast aluminum plate for even heat distribution.  Between the flatness,  even heating, and PEI print surface, I have very few problems with prints releasing from the bed before they are finished.


  1. Mark,
    I love your blog, I've been using some of your ideas, I am still doing my first build, but there are some great ideas for my next build which I intend to do from scratch.

    I wanted to pick your brain about else though,
    This is in regard to an old post on the RepRap forums:

    I am currently converting a CubeX.

    I was wondering if you ever figured out how to use the filament sensor breakout board.

    It has those 5 pins, and I'd like to utilize the functionality, but I havent been able to figure out how it works.

    I never noticed the optical sensors until your post, just the filament sensor post that connects into the jumpers.

    Can you shoot me an email at a (dot) l (dot) timmons (at) gmail
    without spaces and all that.

    1. I never tried to use the board from the extruder.

  2. I have some other questions as well :)

    I just got my heated bed in the mail yesterday. Now I just need work to settle down so I can get back to building.


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