Thoughts on the Wanhao print surface

Created on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
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It’s pretty good, but pricey.

 

Wanhao includes two adhesive plastic sheets with the printer, I think it’s thin PEI. Print adhesion on the sheets has been excellent, and warping/curling is very little: < 100 microns of corner lift on a 30 mm box. I think this mostly indicates how great heated beds are, because I used to be getting whole millimetres of lift on an unheated bed with blue tape.

But I have some issues with the Wanhao print surface:

  1. It’s real expensive. The sheet itself only costs AU$4, but shipping it here to Australia costs AU$32!
  2. It’s vulnerable to wear. Just from one day of printing, the purge lines at the front-left already wore a groove into the material, I’d say it’s maybe 5-10 microns deep. I ended up putting a strip of blue tape at the front to protect it there, but any repetitive printing at the same place with have the same effect – calibration prints, for example.
  3. You can’t get the bed too hot. If I went above 50 °C, the PETG would stick far too strongly and I’d risk damaging the surface during removal.
  4. You feel bad about damaging it. I actually did end up cutting into the bed and removing a nice chunk from the center. Felt sad.

The sheet removed cleanly when the bed was warmed to 40 ­°C. I was about to put the second sheet on the printer but I decided to check the price of replacement sheets first. After I saw that $32 price tag, I decided that I’d give good ol’ blue tape another try.

Blue tape (3M #2090) on a heated bed

It works amazingly!

  • Adhesion is great, which is typical for blue tape.
  • Removing prints is so easy. They pop right off once the spatula gets under them.
  • I can get the bed much hotter (near the glass transition temp of the plastic) without risking over-adhesion. I’ve run at 70 ­°C for PETG.
  • Because I can run the bed hotter, I get even less curling than with the Wanhao surface, 35 microns compared to 58 microns!
  • Even after many heating and cooling cycles, the blue tape still peels off cleanly.

It really is true: blue tape is forever.

I’m going to write a guide to how to use blue tape properly.

That's all there is, there isn't any more.
© Desi Quintans, 2002 – 2018.