We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade for MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers from BC Technological Solutions is a must have upgrade for anyone with a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer looking to add HBP capabilities for example to print with ABS or other filaments requiring it. The upgrade kit from BC Technological Solutions may not be the cheapest solution out there to provide you with a Heated Build Platform, but is probably the best in terms of ease of installation and ease of usage. The BC Tech upgrade kit will cost you $175 USD without the shipping and you would need to also get a more powerful power supply capable of at least 9.2A @ 24V if you are using Replicator 2 (another $100 USD or so). The upgrade kit is also compatible with Replicator 2X, but there you already have HBP by default though not as good as this one, as well as with Replicator 1 3D printers and some clones of these devices such as Flash Forge Creator, though make sure you order the specific version you need.
The standard power adapter of the Replicator 2 is a 24 Volt 6.25A and this is not enough to handle the additional power requirements of the Heated Build Platform. So we have purchased a compatible 24V 9.2A power adapter from Mean Well (GS220A24-R7B) that can be plugged in directly in the printer without the need to modify the adapter connector. If you get a more generic 24V power adapter with a different connector you may need to replace the connector, BC Tech sell a power supply connector for $6 USD that you can use to make generic power supplies compatible with the Replicator 2. So make sure you get a power supply that meet the requirements and preferably has the right power connector already to save some trouble like we did with the Mean Well PSU that is ready to be plugged in and works just fine.
We have mentioned that the installation procedure is very simple, you remove the standard build plate of the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and attache the new aluminum HBP plate with a heating element on bottom. You route the cables trough a hole on the bottom of the printer case (you need to remove a plastic cap first) and can directly connect the heating element and the thermal sensor to the main board of the 3D printer – the have dedicated connectors available, so no soldering or anything like that is needed. All in all you can have the new HBP installed in less than 30 minutes when you have everything needed available and be ready to start using it, unlike for example the much harder and more time consuming installation of the Aluminum Arm Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions that we have also recently installed.
Now, after you install the new HBP upgrade you can notice how convenient the removable glass plate can be after you print something in order to easily remove it from the build plate. The glass build plate is attached to the aluminum base with magnets, so it is being attached with enough strength, but is still easy to be removed when needed. Thanks to the removable glass build plate we have seen a significant reduction in the number of times we need to readjust the build plate height between prints compared to using the standard 3D printer build plate. Again we are going to say that in our opinion the Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade for MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers from BC Technological Solutions is a must have upgrade for anyone with a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. That is if you want to get an easy to install solution and one that works great and problem free and actually makes your life easier working with the printer even when hot using the heating feature of the build plate.
Do note that after installing a HBP to your Replicator 2 3D printer you will need to tell your slicer software that you have this capability in order to be able to use it, so we have guides available on how to enable this in the software:
– How to Use Heated Build Plate on Replicator 2 with MakerBot Desktop
– How to Use MakerBot Replicator 2 with Heated Build Platform in Simplify3D
Time for testing another upgrade for our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, we found an interesting offer by a company called AVN Swiss on eBay that offers a performance hotend upgrade for the device. It is a kit containing a specially coated nozzle and thermal barrier tube with a very low friction plating called TwinClad XT. According to the manufacturer TwinClad XT is a nickel composite coating designed to be very hard, corrosion resistant, and have good release properties against plastic. It is supposed to offer one of the lowest coefficient of friction, better then nickel with PTFE codeposit and the hardness supposedly makes this coating abrasion resistant. So if you are working with more abrasive filaments like Carbon Fiber, Aluminates, ColarFabb MetalFill etc. this upgrade is supposed to greatly increase the life of your nozzle and thermal tube. Low friction will also prevent clogs in thermal barrier tube, a critical zone where plastic liquidizes.
We have tested numerous different nozzles on our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, including low friction ones with additional coating, but that did not completely resolve the issues we’ve had with filament jams from time to time. After installing the hotend upgrade kit from AVN Swiss however for about a month already we haven’t had a single filament jam. So it seems that while the nozzle is important the thermal barrier tube also takes part in the cause of filament jams and so the result is that this kit does a great job in preventing them. Definitely a good upgrade, however we should warn you that the installation and adjustment of the new thermal tube and nozzle can be quite hard and is not advised for novice users that are not yet familiar with their 3D printer. So we would recommend this upgrade only to advanced users that are familiar with their hardware and will easily manage to remove the old nozzle and thermal barrier tube and replace them with the new ones.
The upgrades for MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers made by BC Technological Solutions are among the highest rated and recommended ones by users of the device in the 3D printing community. So we’ve had to get them and try them out and after a bit of waiting for the order to arrive we are ready to share our initial impressions starting with the Aluminum Arm Upgrade. What we can say for sure is that the installation of the Aluminum Arm Upgrade is not for the faint hearted and inexperienced users with DIY and hardware as it does require a lot of disassembly and a bit of tinkering to adjust things for smoother operation. The whole process does take some time, but the results are really good after the upgrade. The installation instructions that came with the upgrade kit are not as detailed and as easy to work with for inexperienced users that do not know well their MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. So do have in mind if you decide to order this upgrade, there are more affordable and easier to install alternatives that will provide similar improvement, though not as good as with these.
The parts in the upgrade kit, especially the aluminum arms are very well made, though on one of the arms we received the mounting holes were a bit off which made it a bit harder in the adjustment phase, but was not a problem in general as you have some room for adjustment available from the bearing retainers. Mentioning bearings reminds us for another advantage that the Aluminum Arm Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions offers – it allows you to install bearings on the Z axis as well and since we already did the bearing upgrade for the X and Y axes this essentially completed the bushings to bearing replacement. The standard plastic arms do not allow for the addition of linear bearings on the Z axis as there are apparently no suitable linear bearings available that can fit there. With the custom aluminum upgrade arms however you not only have the ability to use linear bearings instead of the standard bushings, but they are even included in the kit.
Apart from the fact that you need to spend some time disassembling the 3D printer, installing and adjusting and then reassembling the whole thing which can easily take up a few hours the Aluminum Arm Upgrade is nice and works well. At $150 USD it is a bit expensive and it could use some more improvement in the design to make it easier to install and adjust, but the end result is worth it. If you are looking for a more affordable and easier to install solution you can check out the Performance 3D Aluminum Arm Stiffeners upgrade we’ve used prior to installing the arms from BCTS.