I am planning on building a large enclosed (Cartesian XY-Head) 3d printer. I want to keep the inital build time minimal and it is very likely I would need to build the ~50x50cm heatbed from scratch, because it doesn't exist in ebay. The enclosure itself is not separately heated, but depends on waste heat from the printing process. The enclosure will eventually be vented outdoors with a 12V CPU vent via ducting (air flow unknown).

Do I even need a heated print bed, when I am planning to only print PLA?

  • 2
    "Waste heat from the printing process" is basically 0. The hotend takes around 40W, and the steppers (if they're inside your enclosure) are only about 20W each at best. That's a total of 140W which will not heat up a 50x50xZZ space up much at all. – Tom van der Zanden Oct 17 '16 at 14:29
  • that is useful information @TomvanderZanden - thank you! – allanlaal Oct 19 '16 at 20:03
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The answer is "No" you don't need a heated bed for PLA but it does make the base layer a little easier to lay down and also helps with print removal post print.

PLA is a very easy filament to work with and the majority of PLA printers don't come with heated beds and suggest blue tape and/or elmers glue.

You may find that if you are purchasing very cheap/poorly extruded PLA, that things don't stick as well and a heated bed can alleviate some of these issues.

  • 1
    I was warned, accurately, not to head blue painter's tape above about 50 Celsius because it actually loses adhesion when warmed. But if you go with a PEI sheet, adhesion increases with warmth. – Carl Witthoft Oct 17 '16 at 15:07
  • In that case I guess having a heated bed for PLA is a must for me, because I want auto ejecting/part removal into a bin and I want the part to come off without much force. – allanlaal Oct 18 '16 at 22:26
  • I started a separate question to derisk the ramming action I am planning to use for auto ejecting: 3dprinting.stackexchange.com/questions/2921/… – allanlaal Oct 18 '16 at 22:33
  • 2
    $15 PLA which I use bends (not as much as ABS though) without heated bed. It even pops off sometimes. – fukanchik Oct 20 '16 at 23:04

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