Let's say I print a part out of ABS and wait for it to cool. I could theoretically do this with several copies of the same printer, modified to use print beds of different compositions.

Will the material a bed is made out of affect how long it takes a part to cool?

  • $\begingroup$ Is the bed heated? You're printing ABS so presumably yes but if the bed is heated the question isn't how quickly the part cools, the question is how quickly the bed cools. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2016 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


What bed material cools faster?

I found an extensive list which relates various materials to their thermal conductivity, k [W/mK]; the lower thermal conductivity, the better the material insulates, and the slower the print bed will resist changes in temperature - both heating up, and cooling down.

Here are the thermal conductivity for some common materials for 3d printer beds:

Aluminum    205
Glass       1.05
Acrylic     0.2
Air         0.024 (for reference)

There is also the matter of thermal capacity, but I will not go into that right now (need to do some research myself first!).

Will bed material affect cooling time?

Bed material, I believe, is not necessarily related to print cooldown time: it depends on the situation, such as whether we are discussing cooldown during or after printing, and if the bed is heated or not.

  1. If you are not using a heated bed, I believe the bed material doesn't matter at all.
  2. With a heated bed while printing, only the first dozen layers or so are probably affected by the rising heat sufficiently that it affects the printing process.
  3. With a heated bed after printing, the thermal characteristics of the bed will determine how quickly the print cools (and thus can be removed).

Also remember that other physical properties, such as flatness (both cold and during heating) of the bed material is vital for successful prints, and that not all materials can tolerate heating equally well!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looks like you beat me to it lol Very well explained! $\endgroup$
    – tbm0115
    Jan 15, 2016 at 19:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This image from "A Visual Ultimaker Troubleshooting Guide" shows an example of point number 2: d33v4339jhl8k0.cloudfront.net/docs/assets/… A lot of the difference in layer widths is attributable to differences in cooling between the first bunch of layers in contact with the heated bed and the layers above it, which don't receive much heat from the bed. $\endgroup$
    – PostEpoch
    Jan 16, 2016 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @PostEpoch, Excellent example! Thanks for sharing! $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2016 at 18:56

Assuming you are meaning the build plate and not confusing it with a printed raft, yes, different materials for the build plate will have different cooling rates. I don't know the values of hand, but a Google search can get you to a formula to calculate how long a certain size build plate of a given material type should roughly take to cool. (I'm using the mobile app right now, so I'll have to get back to this answer later to give links and more details)


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