How Heat Patterns in 3D Print Can Warp Your Vision

Posted on August 28, 2015


One of the soft spots of 3D printing technology is the warping or lack of adhesion in extruded plastic models. Are heated build plates the answer?


In the spirit of true enquiry (and a little self promotion), Californian 3D print ‘farmers’ SD3D decided to test the heat distribution on the plates of several popular printers. Theory dictates that heated build plates (HBPs), while not installed on all 3D printers, can eliminate warping and help model adhesion. Undertaking research and development for their own printer brand, SD3D also looked at the heat distribution of five other printer HBPs in comparison.

Thermal Imaging
SD3D’s assessment of competitor HBPs breaks down like this:

  • RepRap MK2 – not as accurate using ABS because of a temperature drop off in the corners, making the optimal print area potentially half as big as it should be.
  • Flash Forge Creator Pro – even gradient, but has a hotspot that moves around as the temperature changes.
  • Punchtec Ordbot Hadron – hotspots in each corner and uneven cooling down.
  • Robo 3D R1 – a resistive trace element creates non-uniform heat across the build surface.
  • Lulzbot Taz5 – ‘bizarre thermal pattern’.

Having used their research to develop the SD3D 3D Genie’s build plate it is hardly a surprise that their HBP does well in these tests. Experimental (and manufacturer) bias aside, the results are interesting and visually arresting. I’ve posted a few of the GIFs from their page below, but please visit SD3D’s HBP experiment to see all of their findings for yourself.

Form of Cthulhu
Formwurx creative 3D prints are now in full flow, as mentioned in a post on their recreation of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu figurine and the state of indie 3D print firms. Owner Jason Spiller has two Kickstarter projects underway to produce a 200mm and 400mm sized figure. Both are printed on the Formlabs SLA printer, finished and painted in superb detail.

To see what else Jason has in production or to pre-order these excellent artistic builds either go to the Kickstarter pages and pledge, visit the Formwurx Facebook page or go direct to Formwurx’ website.