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I've observed printing PETG that the primary if not the only reason for using a high bed temperature seems to be preventing the bed from acting as a huge heat sink and rapidly cooling the initial layers such that they don't bond well to each other. In particulat, the heat is not needed for adhesion-to-the-bed purposes. This got me thinking whether there's a way we could get rid of the requirement, as a way to save time and all the energy spent heating the bed and cooling the room it's eventually dumped into.

With that in mind, are there viable bed materials that are good thermal insulators? Just putting down a layer of any insulating material between the underlying bed and buildtak or whatever surface you want might work, but I would think these kinds of print surfaces are designed for moderate to high thermal conductivity themselves, and wouldn't be as bad a heat sink as the underlying metal, but might still sap a noticable amount of heat out of the part right away.

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  • $\begingroup$ glass/tile beds might be nice specifically because of this. $\endgroup$
    – Abel
    May 22 at 22:31
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You can place a 2-4 mm thick MDF board on the bed and print directly on it, or you can place a 2 mm thick cork foil (IKEA office desk supplies) between magnetic plate and aluminium heater. The magnetic plate should not absorb too much heat and the cork will avoid conduction to the aluminium heater.

If you want to avoid the magnetic plate, print on paper/cardboard on top of cork.

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Very early (pre-RepRap) commercial 3D printers used foam build plates. They were single-use as the foam would be damaged when removing the print, but it's probably as insulating as you can get.

This blog post details some experiments on using foam as a build plate and mentions a particular type of foam that is apparently most suitable.

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I’m pretty sure it can be brought separately but usually comes with a lot of heat-beds; It is a type of foam that has adhesive on one side and aluminum foil on the other. Here is an example of what I mean:

Bed insulation material

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    $\begingroup$ As I understand it that's insulation material for the back side of the bed to prevent heat loss to the air below. It's not something you could use as a print surface or between the print surface and bed because it's not at all rigid. $\endgroup$ May 24 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ Ah.. I see what you mean now. What temp do you have your bed at? $\endgroup$
    – HotGlue
    May 30 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ Off. The question is asking about how to keep the bed from rapidly sinking heat out of the print. But you could also ask at a lowish temp like 40 or 50 where it's easier. $\endgroup$ May 30 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ I knew that was what the question was about. I just wanted to know what bed temp you had. What build surface? $\endgroup$
    – HotGlue
    May 30 at 21:37

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