Printrbot Simple Metal - Bed upgrade

I need a larger print area in order to print a printer

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I wanted to upgrade instead of just buying a new one. at the same time I decided to fix some other small things while I'm at it.

Problems to fix:
Intermittent power failures (probably power supply plug or power supply itself):
-Skip fault finding and Install a new one (make it bigger too)
Printbed not big enough:
-Laser cut a new one
New printbed is at least twice as large and twice as heavy:
-increase base size so that the printer doesn't become unstable when printing

I'll update the details here as I go along as well as add a link to all of the parts I've made in Thingiverse.

**Take care when screwing with a working and proven system!

By modifying my printer I've sometimes unwittingly added small issues that weren't there before like: new Rattle on the X-axis, Over tightening screws holding down the Linear bearings. nothing too serious, just be on the lookout.

  • 1 × 3mm Bed frame 3mm Lasercut Stock Aluminium plate
  • 1 × 4mm Printbed 4mm Lasercut Stock Aluminium plate
  • 1 × 12V 20A Power supply (Plus 1× 30mm cooling fan)
  • 1 × 2m Timing belt Always good to have extra, just in case you mess it up
  • 3 × X-axis Guide rods 380mm × Ø8mm Hardened steel rods (Chrome plated if possible)

View all 11 components

  • I love Kapton

    RenierM10/05/2015 at 13:46 0 comments

    I don't know how it took me this long to get with the program...

    Of all of the modifications I've made to my printer, I'd say Kapton is the best modification / addition so far.

  • Heated Bed current draw

    RenierM08/22/2015 at 12:06 0 comments

    So far I've measured just over 11A when both the Heated bed and the Hotend are both active.

    MAKE SURE YOU ARE AT EXACTLY 12V, i had my Power Supply set at 12.1V and continuously had random disconnects when heating or cooling the heated bed, must have been over voltage protection doing its job :)

    I've also added {M140 S0 ;} to the end G code section under "Printer Settings" in Slic3r.

    this disables the heated bed after the print finishes.

    **UPDATE: I think I've found the answer,

    Bill had a similar problem "Bad heated bed. The bed was sporadically pulling enough current to trip the PSU short-circuit protection. I replaced it with a RepRap MK2B heatbed dual power from Amazon and after 20+ hours of trouble-free printing it is clear that that was the problem."

    It may be that the fancy Kapton Nichrome heater is causing a similar problem on my board.

    At the moment the reset problem seems to be contained to the heat up process and just after a print. luckily whenever I get the print stared it runs through and only resets and hangs up after finishing so I'm OK with it for now until I find a solution, It also works much better since I added the indicator LED.

  • Thermal Insulation is a good idea!

    RenierM08/22/2015 at 11:59 0 comments

    I found a 3.5mm sheet of cork at the hardware store, and after installation my entire setup works more efficiently.

    The printbed doesn't lose heat as quickly as before when it was touching the printbed frame, much less heat loss due to conduction. I've also taped up the bottom of the bed to insulate it further.

  • It's finally working like it should

    RenierM08/19/2015 at 20:20 0 comments

    The heated bed installation turned out to be more complicated, had huge overheating issues with the wiring and the Power supply.

    Rright after installation I had to add additional wiring to hadle the current as well as add a fan onto the Power supply and heatsinks to the MOSFET's on the Printrboard (rev D). I think that the MOSFET for the heated bed was overheating and may be what was causing the intermittent resets during prints since installation yesterday.

    After fixing all of that it seems to be printing just fine.

  • Heated bed

    RenierM08/19/2015 at 03:32 0 comments

    Great! my heated bed arrived today, I ordered one of the flexible PCB heaters that just peels and sticks onto your printbed. I've mounted it right above (±13mm) printed parts so I'll only be using it at lower temperatures, 40°C~60°C

  • Stick the brim and the circular plates to the bed! (for cold printbed)

    RenierM08/15/2015 at 16:25 0 comments

    Ensure nice straight parts by sticking it down instead of using glue or hairspray

  • Bright mild steel doesn't cut it...

    RenierM08/15/2015 at 16:08 1 comment

    This picture shows a decent gash in the new polished BMS round bars, and that after just one week's worth of intense printing. I'll replace these with hardened chrome coated rods a.s.a.p

  • 2nd and 3rd Prints

    RenierM08/10/2015 at 11:23 0 comments

    Final bed print area is 270mm × 205mm × 140mm

    There's a slight rattle on the X-axis that i want to sort out, it causes some minor printing artifacts whenever X-axis changes direction fast, but nothing serious. I will have to make a new part.

  • Assembly and First print

    RenierM08/09/2015 at 20:03 0 comments

    So far so good, I managed to figure out how to manually set the X and Y Print area parameters.

    Use the M208 (or in my case M211 X 260 Y205) and then set the desired values, hit M500 to save.


    You'll notice that right underneath the hotend, the new printbed seems to sit right up against the screw head that holds the X-axis motor to the frame. I didn't notice until after Itook the paint off of my printbed frame...

    anyways, it is because i had planned my bending line of the material at 1/3rd the thickness of the material (used for steel) turns out Aluminium bends a little different. I temporarily fixed the problem by replacing the hex screws with smaller phillips screws.

View all 9 project logs

Enjoy this project?



RenierM wrote 08/19/2015 at 05:20 point

That's a good idea using nylon sleeve bearings, I hadn't thought about that. How is the corner detail after installing the nylon setup, especially on sharp corners?

I ask because even after installing the third guide rod and now having 6 bearings on my ,slightly heavier 4mm Alu printbed, I still seem to have a slight rattle on the X-axis. Not enough to see with the naked eye, but enough to cause "ringing artifacts" on corners, it's barely noticeable so can't really get it to show up on a photo.

Room for improvement I guess.

  Are you sure? yes | no

jeff.ballard.86 wrote 08/19/2015 at 12:34 point

in my experience with different 3d printers, the ringing artifacts at corners are best reduced by lowering your speed significantly.

As it is now, no worse than before.

  Are you sure? yes | no

jeff.ballard.86 wrote 08/19/2015 at 04:31 point

I actually increased the size of my printrbot bed by going to aluminum linear rods, 2 makerbeam supports and 2 3d printed end supports.  print bed is a about 2mm thick aluminum sheet.

While at it i took out the linear bearings (noisy, and will destroy the aluminum linear rods) and replaced them with nylon linear sleeve bearings.   my print area is about 7" by 13"

this setup has over 300 hours of print time on it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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