Heated Printbed

Here are the posts regarding a heated printbed for the CubeX.

Post:   Update for Heated Printbed

If you are using the GRM Heated Printbed on your CubeX, there are three recommended changes you can easily do. (#2 can be applied to the standard printbed also)

1.  Regarding the z-sensor relocation kit:
I applied some extra drops of 5 min epoxy glue onto the side of the magnet and where it mounts to, to secure it better and prevent any movements.
I also put a zip-tie around the new z-sensor clip and the rail where it mounts onto, to also secure it better in place and prevent any sensor movements.
With the magnet and sensor securely in place, I very rarely have to re-adjust the z-gap. I have not for quite awhile. I don't even check it anymore.
I home the printer, heat up the printbed, make sure the filament is loaded, then "Home" again, select the printfile and print.

2.  Applies to standard and heated printbed:
After you leveled your printbed, add a M5 nut (non locking nut) to the bottom of each right and left leveling adjustment screws and tighten it against the mount. This will tighten the adjustment screw into the mount and make it more stable. I did not really have an issue with the printbed platform moving, but I noticed that I can rock it a little bit when pushed against it, so tightening the will prevent the screw to wiggle/move in the threaded mount.
Make sure to use a standard non locking M5 nut so when you tighten the nut it does not turn the adjustment screw and affect your leveling adjustment.

The standard CubeX print platform comes with a locknut, but the locknut might turn your adjustment screw when tightening the nut, so it is easier to use just a regular nut.
3.  Adjusting the printbed heater cycle time.  The initial default heater cycle time is quite long and can cause the printbed height to vary slightly due to the temperature change cycle. This can result into slightly uneven print layers which looks like "ribbing" on the printed part.
This is easily corrected by increasing the heater cycle time.
If you just very recently bought a heated printbed, the default might be already corrected to "3".
Here is how to adjust the heater cycle time:
  • Turn on the heater.
  • Push and hold the "Set" button till the display changes.
  • Then push the "Set" button again several times slowly (it cycles thru the different settings).
  • Cycle thru till the display shows "t 20". (That is the cycle time set to 20).
  • Select the down button to change it to 3.
  • It will save the new setting automatically and return to the normal display after 10 seconds not pushing any buttons.

  • NOTE: Do not change the cycle time lower than "3". With this setting the print layers come out even and a lower setting would just put more unnecessary cycle time on the relay.
    Also no need to adjust or tinker with any other settings on the heater controller.


    Post:   Heated Printbed "Part 2"

    I have had the heated printbed now for 2 month, printing ABS and PLA parts.
    No more part warping. It is working great.
    Since there are more and more CubeX users installing the heated printbed, I thought I post my experiences and what I have learned.

    Here is some of my standard equipment:

    Acetone slurry (Acetone with some small pieces of ABS dissolved in it)
    Exactor knife

    I use kapton tape on the print platform. I use a 5" wide 1mil thick kapton tape. (This spool will last a long time).   Kapton tape link
    Some use blue painters tape, but Kapton works for me better because it gives a smoother part bottom surface.

    First I clean off the printbed with alcohol so the kapton tape adheres well.
    Then start applying the tape from the back side of the printbed and use a credit card to apply the tape to the printbed. It takes a little practice to get it on without bubbles, but does not take long.
    Then cut the tape with the exactor knife at the end of the printbed. The tape can be used for several prints. If it has tears in some areas from removal of a prior part, I just place the next print around it or re-apply new tape.
    (When removing the tape, start at the back side and then pull the tape off the printbed towards the front, and hold the front of the printbed down a little so the printbed does not get pulled up in the front during tape removal).

    The 5" wide tape fits most of my prints. If there is any larger print, I place the tape side by side.

    You can search the web for different ways to apply the kapton tape.

    For example, you can apply some windex onto the printbed and then put the kapton tape on top and position it, then squeegee out the excess windex and heat up the bed to dry it out.
    Note: Don't spray windex all over the system etc., wipe excess off with rag.

    Here is my printing routine:
    • Assuming there is already kapton tape on the printbed, for PLA part printing, use a rag with alcohol to clean the top printbed surface. For smaller ABS part printing, clean top printbed surface also with alcohol. For larger ABS part printing, wipe the top printbed surface with acetone slurry, which will improve ABS part adhesion. The acetone slurry will leave a "foggy" looking film on the kapton tape. 
    • Note: Do not use the acetone slurry for PLA printing. Clean off acetone slurry with alcohol before PLA part printing.
    • Turn on the printer and the heated printbed power.
    • Hit the "Home" menu button. This will raise the printbed and therefore open the heated printbed shut off switch. (The heated printbed should be on now).
    • Select the desired temperature. (Default for ABS is 110deg, PLA 70deg.).
    • While the printbed is heating up (2 to 5 min) I prepare the printfile and copy it onto the memory stick.
    • Now I check and clean off any filament debris of any print jets. This can be done from the left side access in the CubeX when in "Home" position.
    • Then I select the "z-gap" menu button and check / adjust the z-gap if needed.
      • (With the z-sensor relocation kit (included in heated bed kit), the z-gap has been more consistent).
    • Then select the "Print" menu button and the file I want to print.
    • I still always watch the first few layers being printed and make sure all is going well.

    Heated bed temperature settings:
    PLA Printing:
    In general, 70deg is good.
    But sometimes I turn it down a little. Here is an example where a too high temperature caused a problem on a PLA part.
    With the print bed at 70deg. the legs at the bottom of the PLA part stayed too warm and the part flexed a little, causing the part on top to get messed up.

    Reprinting the part with the print bed at 60deg, solved the issue.

    ABS printing:
    In general 110deg is good.
    Very large parts with large flat bottoms, I have printed at 120deg to make sure it adheres well and won't lift.

    If the ambient temperature is cool and I am printing a larger ABS part, I also drape a towel over the CubeX to cover the left and front open sides to keep the heat in the print area to avoid cracks or splits in the part at higher print layers. Also crank the heated bed up to 120C.
    Several smaller ABS parts I have printed at 100deg so they are easier to remove after the print.

    So with different settings you can adjust to a certain degree how well the part will bond to the print bed surface.

    It is best to let the print bed cool down after a print, before trying to remove the part. The part will come off easier then and also less chance of marring the part because it is cooled down and harder.

    PLA parts seem to be easier to remove after printing than ABS parts. When I create the build file, I often add a "helper pad" underneath a corner of the part, which gives me an area to get the spatula underneath the part for easier removal without marring the part. The helper pad can then be easily be cut off afterwards.
     Helper disks zip file

    It is nice not having to use the sticky glue anymore and messing with that and not having to take the print platform in and out.

    Using the alcohol and acetone slurry with a rag is clean since it mostly evaporates.

    General CubeX stuff:
    For more advanced users, you can also adjust the print jet temperature.
    The first layer is usually printed with a higher print jet temperature to maximize filament adhesion to the print bed, then the print jet moves away, cools down a little and then continues the print at a little lower temperature.

    It seems like you can also change the filament feed speed, but it changes during the print, depending on the features, so it seems to jump back to the programmed value.

    Playing with increasing or decreasing the print temperature, I found it is best, to leave the preset temperatures as is. They seem to work overall good.
    Currently, when the build file is created, it determines the "best" temperatures for each individual part, which can vary depending on the part and material.

    I am printing right now this Theropod Dino skull in PLA and then again in ABS to compare how they come out.
    Planning to do a Post about ABS vs. PLA, pros and cons about each, and my experiences.


    Post:    Heated Printbed for the CubeX

    If you have printed with ABS, you know that part adhesion to the print platform and part warping are quite a challenge and issue. The much higher shrinkage rate of the ABS material compared to PLA, make the part want to curl up at the edges.

    I have printed some ABS parts with success, but most parts with a larger base, warp too much. The CubeX can print nice in ABS, if you can get the part to stick well to the print platform.
    In this case (Yoda model) the ABS print came out good with the standard setup, and the warped bottom does not really matter much.

    But often ABS parts look like this (above).

    After trying blue tape, different glues, enclosing the whole printer, etc.. etc.. nothing seem to help enough against the part lifting and warping on many parts, when printing with ABS.

    I finally acknowledged and what many suggest, that a heated printbed is most helpful for most ABS printing to get flat or straight parts.

    So I searched and found a company (GRM Products) http://www.grmproducts.com/CubeX_Heated_Bed_System.html
    that designed a heated printbed kit for the CubeX. They have been selling heated printbed kits for the 3D touch printers (similar to CubeX) and gotten very good reviews.

    In my ABS part warping frustration, I did not hesitate to order the heated printbed kit and install it in my CubeX.


    The installation is pretty straight forward. You remove the standard print platform base (3 screws) and then install the heated print bed re-using the same hardware. The controller box attaches with high strength double stick tape onto the side of the CubeX, and the self adhesive cable tie holders keep the cables in place. There is a cut off switch which turns the heater automatically off when the print is done. - very nice. The switch needs to be positioned and the switch lever needs to be adjusted to trigger properly. You have to do a little test print and mark the position on the side how far the print bed moves down after a print so you know at what height to position the heater cut off switch. Then you can use the "Move" command to move the printbed up and down at the mark and check if the switch triggers. Once the switch is in place it's good.
    A new z-gap sensor was also installed in a different location, so the temperature changes would not affect the z-gap.


    The design and finish of the heated printbed kit is solid and very clean. The print bed top surface is a high temp glass. The controller keeps the printbed temperature at the adjustable set temperature and is very easy to use. The print bed heats up very quick (2min for PLA (70deg C) and 5 min for ABS (110deg C).  The max adjustable setting is 135deg C.

    The controller has also a 110V socket in the back, which can be turned on or off with a switch at the front of the controller.

    The heated print bed platform is nice and flat. After the installation, you have to of course level the printbed and adjust the z-gap.

    All three print platform leveling screws are accessible.

    I check the z-gap after the printbed heated up, right before starting the print.

    It was recommended to use blue painters tape or Kapton tape. So I started with blue painters tape first.

    The first print was a 2"x1" small part that I could not print on the standard printbed without the part warping,  but with the heated printbed the part printed without warping.
    I used blue painters tape on top of the glass platform to print onto. Print bed temperature at 110C.

    Now printing a larger part:
    The second print was a 6" x 2" square. During the print I saw that the blue painters tape lifted a little at the end of the part at the tape seam. So I aborted the print.
    I only had 2" wide blue painters tape, so on larger parts, there is always somewhere a tape seam underneath the part. So it is best to use a wider tape or position the part that the tape seam is more in the middle of the part vs close to part edges where you have the most part shrinkage (pulling on the tape)
    Next I put a 6" wide Kapton tape onto the printbed and printed the same 6" x 2" square part again.

    The Kapton tape works great. The part stayed flat to the platform without warping. It showed already how well it printed without the part lifting and curling up at the edges. - awesome.

    Next was a 9"L  x 2"W  x 2"H mount. I increased the printbed temperature to 120deg C.

    Since this part is so long and the best possible adhesion might be needed, put a coat of Acetone/ABS slurry onto the Kapton tape. (other 3D printer users with heated printbed and Kapton tape swear by it) It is Acetone with pieces of ABS dissolved into it. I keep it in an acetone proof container and wipe a coat of it onto the print bed with a rag.

    The print came out very nice. Very flat, no warping.  - this is great!

    Using the slurry, the parts can be hard to remove from the platform after the print because the part binds so well to the Kapton tape with the slurry applied. The "helper pads" make it easier to remove the part without marring the part.  Helper disks download: Helper disks zip file

    So on a smaller part I just print directly onto the Kapton tape. Sometimes the Kapton tape can get damaged when pulling the part off, but if it is not in an area where the next print is, I leave it. The Kapton tape usually lasts for a couple prints. Otherwise just put a new Kapton film on. I got a 5" and 6" roll of Kapton tape on Amazon. It's fairly cheap and there is a lot on a roll. It comes also in narrower or wider rolls.

    After the print, it is recommended to let the heated printbed and the part cool before removing it, so this takes a little longer than without a heated printbed.

    So far I only printed three smaller PLA parts on the heated printbed (at 50 - 70deg C). No glue, directly onto the Kapton tape. - No problem.

    I will print larger parts soon and see how it would print directly onto the glass.

    The heated print bed is permanently installed, no need to remove after a print since there is no glue to wash off. To replace the Kapton tape I just lower the printbed and thanks to the remove able top and access to the side and front, there is enough room to apply the tape onto the platform. First I thought oh - no, the heated printbed is not removable, but using it now, I find it is not necessary to remove it at all anyway.

    The heated printbed definitely makes the difference for ABS printing.

    The price for the CubeX Heated Printbed kit is not cheap, but I am very happy with the product, quality and ABS print results.

    It is nice now to be able to get besides great PLA prints, also more successful ABS prints.

    To see the 9" long part print perfectly flat on the heated printbed was quite amazing.

    I will post some more ABS print results as they come along, besides the PLA printing.
    (Note: I am not affiliated with GRM products and have to buy my stuff like everybody else, but I gladly promote companies with great products and services).



    1. Has anyone noticed the two cooling fan either side of the extruder causing problems with cooling the abs to soon?

    2. Could someone give me all the settings for the print bed heater please? All Mine got messed up.


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