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I often have trouble with prints being especially difficult to remove from the build plate on my Micro3D printer. My wife suggested using a hair dryer on the underside of the plate. I was initially appalled at the idea, but now I think she may be on to something. Is this safe? Good idea? Bad idea? Heresay?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you get the build plate out of the printer for the procedure? I realized that I do not know whether this is even possible when I finished my answer, and it will need to be revisited depending on this ;) $\endgroup$ – kamuro Aug 3 '16 at 7:54
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Typically, people cool down their build plates to get parts to release, rather than heat them up. That said, I doubt a hair drier will get hot enough to do any damage to the build plate. You could try it with no harm done.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've definitely tried it, and it seems to work pretty well in getting the parts to loosen up. I'm just worried about damage to the plate. $\endgroup$ – Chris G. Williams Aug 2 '16 at 18:34
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It's what i do. Painters tape. are you using the m3d plastic? that's why. the coating is to make sure it sticks their only plan to get it off is to bend the plate a little bit. Hair drier won't end the world. don't hold the plate and hair dry it, that might hurt. But M3D sells spare plates it you destroy it. Try it out, tell us what happens.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I use their "3D Ink" and I haven't been using painters tape, and I do flex the plate a little (which also worries me that I'm going to damage it), but the hair dryer trick seems to work ok, though I've only done it a few times. $\endgroup$ – Chris G. Williams Aug 2 '16 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ cool, thanks for the tip. but also, you should look into hatchbox plastic on amazon. its 4 times the amount of plastic for a little more than the m3d plastic. i use it with tape and its awesome and i have so much of it. i think its 20\$ for 1lb roll where m3d is 15\$ for 1.5 lb roll. Logic is there somewhere. $\endgroup$ – Simcha Hoffmann Aug 2 '16 at 18:44
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I agree to Tom's first part of the answer, usually you'd cool down the plate to loosen the print. This is reasoned by the shrinkage of the builplate while the print stays extended. The strain put into the interface helps to get the print of. Warming the plate could essentially do the same, but since you deposit a warm filament, one would assume that by warming up you will reduce the strain that has been built up by the regular cooling of the filament already.

I guess an uneven heating with a hairdryer will probably introduce uneven strain or evan some kind of warping of the buildplate that puts more strain to the interface which makes your approach work. If you want to test whether you have some local deformation you could characterize this by reflecting a laserpointer from the heatbed and marking the reflection on a rather far away wall for some controlled positions you can get the laser in (by say putting it on a photography tripod). The change of this reflections towards each other could tell you about the deformation.

I also agree that most of the hairdryers around would not be hot enough to be a worry, but since most of the Micro3D is made from plastic I would put twice the time into figuring out if that is really true.

Just for the fun of it, you could put an ice cube next to your finished print if you make sure that molten water will not go anywhere it is not supposed to be. Maybe this lifts off the print as well. However, I do not recommend doing this, of course.

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That was a problem for me too. My M3d printer was getting stuck to the plate. However, I now print on painters tape, and I put down painters take on the bed. Then I glue stick the tape, and when I am done, I just pull it up.

You should try it, because it will allow you to print with other then the m3d plastic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. I have considered using painters tape, but I thought the purpose of the coating on the build plate was to eliminate the need for that. Regardless, this doesn't really answer my question about whether it's safe to use a hair dryer to lightly heat up the build plate so my prints come off easier. $\endgroup$ – Chris G. Williams Aug 2 '16 at 18:33
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Before I got an aftermarket heated print bed for my M3D, I regularly used a hair dryer to pre-heat the build plate up to 60-70 °C before printing with no ill effects.

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cold wind can help to acceleratory cool down and dry the build plates to make it easy to part them.

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