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
If you add a Heated Build Platform (HBP) to your MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer you will need to do some modifications to your working process whenever you want to be able to print with a hot build plate. Using the MakerBot Desktop software with a Replicator 2 with HBP can be pretty easy just switching to the profile of a Replicator 2X, but there are some drawbacks. In order to be able to have more control on your prints with a Heated Build Platform on a Replicator 2 3D printer you probably would want to go for a different slicer such as the Simplify3D that we are already using. Since Simplify3D already has built-in support for Replicator 2 3D printers with installed HBP it is easier to take advantage of that along with the many other available options to control the printing process that the software offers. Enabling the HBP support and using it properly in Simplify3D however requires a bit more to make it work properly, so we are going to be looking at what steps you need to take.
First you need to enable the Replicator 2 with HBP profile in Simplify3D, to do that you need to do the following steps (we assume you have already selected a MakerBot Replicator 2 as the printer you are using in the slicer):
– Start the Simplify3D software
– Open the Tools menu and go into Firmware Configuration
– Go to the X3G tabl and under GPX Configuration select the Replicator 2 with HBP profile
– Click on Save and you are almost ready to go
Next you need to manually add some additional code to make sure your Replicator 2 3D printer will first heat the build plate before starting to print and that the temperature will be kept at the desired value until the print finishes. To do so follow the steps described below, the end result should look like on the screenshot above.
– Click on the Edit Process Settings Button
– Go to the Scripts tab and open up the Starting G-code
– Look for the following line of code: M126 S[fan_speed_pwm]
– After the above line of code you need to add the following two new lines:
M140 S[bed0_temperature] T0 ; heat build platform
M134 T0 ; stabilize build platform temperature
Then add some more extra code to make sure that the 3D printer will stop the heating of the build plate and cool it down after the printing finishes. To do so follow the steps described below, the end result should look like on the screenshot above.
– While still in the Scripts tab and open up the Ending G-code tab
– Look for the following line of code: M104 S0 T0 ; cool down extruder
– After the above line of code you need to add the following line:
M140 S0 T0 ; cool down heated build platform
After this you should be all ready to start 3D printing using the heated build platform on your MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, the only thing left too do is set the desired temperature of the Heated Build Platform that you want to use. You can do that with the following steps:
– Click the Edit Process Settings button of your current printing process
– Go to the Temperature Tab and click on the Add Temperature Controller
– Enter a name like HBP for example or Heated Build Platform
– Make sure that under Temperature Controller you select Heated Build Platform
– Set the desired temperature of the HBP by double clicking on the available Setpoint
– We are using 50-60 degrees Celsius for PLA (if needed) and 80-100 for ABS printing, use these as a reference
The MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer does not come with a heated build plate, but you can add one – either a readily available unofficial upgrade or make a DIY one. The control board of the Replicator 2 does have the needed support to control a HBP if you install one and decide to let the printer control it based on your settings. You would of course need to replace the power adapter with a more powerful one that will be able to handle the extra power requirements of the heated build plate…
The more important question however is how do you use the HBP after you install it on the Replicator 2 with the MakerBot Desktop software (previously called MakerBot MakerWare). What you can do to make the heated build plate is to switch the software to the Makerbot Replicator 2x profile instead of the Replicator 2 that you should normally be using. You can do that from the MakerBot Desktop going to Devices – Select Type of Device – Makerbot Replicator 2x. It however comes with some drawbacks such as slightly reduced build plate size in the software, though your heated build platform may actually be smaller compared to the original space available prior to that.
You need to go through the Print Settings panel in order to get access to the settings for 3D printing and under the Temperature tab you will see the option to enable the option called Heat the Build Plate and set the Build Plate temperature to the desired value. Also since the Replicator 2 has only one extruder, you need to set the temperature for the extruder in the Right Extruder panel.
On the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer you also need to do something in order to activate the support for the Heated Build Plate. You need to go into the following menu Info and settings – General Settings – Set to Yes to the Heated Plate option. Also in order to properly use the Preheat setting from the 3D printer you should also go into the menu Info and settings – Preheat Settings – Set the desired temperature for Preheat under Platform.