Charles Edward Pax

Open Source 3D printing research and design

Heated Conveyor Belt Build Platform

with 9 comments

Last night I added the MakerBot heated build platform to my conveyor belt build platform and experienced success.

In the first test the Kapton is unsanded. The printed object sticks pretty well during the build and pops off easily when reaching the conveyor belt’s end.

In the second test the Kapton is sanded with 220 grit sand paper. While sanding clearly works well with the Kapton in the MakerBot heated build platform, I could not tell if it improved anything with my belt Kapton.

During both of these tests the belt was not under much tension. This allowed the edges of the belt parallel to the direction of belt motion to bow up. I believe the air gap between the belt and build platform due to bowing left the kapton belt at a lower than ideal temperature, reducing the adhesive force.

Further research questions:
-Does sanding help with this material?
-Does thinner aluminium help?
-Does thinner belt material help?
-Does tension solve the bowing problem?

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Written by Charles Edward Pax

2010.04.20 at 12:34

Posted in makerbot

9 Responses

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  1. [...] Pax of NYC Resistor has been experimenting with a conveyor belt design that would allow him to fully automate the build process and create a ‘print queue’ of [...]

    • Why not try Silicone Rubber heaters?
      They are flexible, have texture and are less expensive than kapton?

      nick yaron

      2010.04.21 at 13:57

      • Things don’t stick well to silicone. That’s why it’s used in cookware. Maybe ABS stick well to silicone at high temperatures. Have you seen any success with that?

        Charles Edward Pax

        2010.04.27 at 13:09

  2. I do wonder if it’d make sense to sand the *inside* of the belt, to increase the grip of the rollers, and help keep them from having the problem that zach had the first time — the bed-belt slipping.


    2010.04.21 at 12:20

    • If grip is a problem it might be wise to not make the belt continuous. Then you could screw each belt end down onto an axle, no more problems with grip.

      Reinout Heeck

      2010.04.21 at 14:55

      • I was thinking about a scroll set up like that. I guess I could use a coil spring on one shaft to keep tension while the other shaft would be connected to a motor.

        A Kapton belt over stainless steel rollers has just enough grip to move the belt, but it’s not terribly reliable. I put some tape on the shaft surface and that provided plenty of grip. I’d like to find a stock (not custom) rubberized shaft to design around. If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.

        I also want to try heat shrink tube around the shaft.

        Charles Edward Pax

        2010.04.27 at 13:14

  3. A tensioning system has been a design challenge. I’d like to have part of the belt be a stretchy material. It may be harder to make such a belt than an alternative tensioner. Any ideas out there? Drawings?

    Charles Edward Pax

    2010.04.27 at 13:16

    • I couldn’t stop thinking about this.

      Here’s the simplest construction I came up with so far:

      -Have the the two scroll take-up spools sit close to each other, both in fixed positions. Print a gear for each and have these gears mesh, print a smaller gear for the driver motor and have that mesh with one of the spool gears. Mount his contraption near one end of the bed.

      – At the other end of the bed have a roller (idler) that is spring mounted, this is the tensioner.

      The tape follows nearly the same path as the endless loop version, except for the gap between the two take-up spools. Grip and tension are implemented in two different parts of the construction allowing for separate re-engineering/tweaking of these parameters.

      Reinout Heeck

      2010.05.01 at 05:40

  4. [...] my previous posts to see how the project developed into its current [...]

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