Archive for the ‘Tests and Reviews’ Category

I have also tested ABS printing using the Polyken 296FR tape that I was recently testing with PLA filament as a surface for the build plate of a 3D printer. The results with the use of ABS filament were as good as what the PLA test showed – good adhesion and easy removal of the 3D printed part.

Using regular ABS filament with 230 degrees Celsius for the extruder and 110 C for the heated build plate covered with the Polyken tape did provide really good results.

People that have used ABS filament know that it is much more prone to warping at the edges due to the material shrinking more when cooling down, so the use of a heated build plate is one way to try to avoid possible issues, but the surface of the build plate is also important.

The Polyken 296FR tape does provide good adhesion and easy removal and with the help of the heated build plate there is no warping or even if there is it is really minimal and a subject to some slight adjustments.

The end result is good adhesion, easy removal and no warping of the edges thus no deformed or failed prints when using ABS filament as well as with PLA as I have previously reported. It seems that this unexpected contender for a tape that was not originally intended to be used for 3D printing purposes may actually turn out to be an interesting and surprisingly well working solution. I still need to do some testing with some more exotic filaments, but so far the results are pretty promising…

The surface of the build plate of a 3D printer is very important not only for successful and problem free 3D printing, but also for good quality and reliability of the device. There are a number of specially developed surfaces and coatings developed for 3D printers and there are some others that were not originally intended, but also work well. One of the best build plate surfaces for 3D printers that I have found so far is the BuildTak, though while it works good it is still not perfect and I’m still experimenting. My latest experiment is the use of a bit unusual tape to cover the build plate, an aircraft grade flame retardant fiberglass take – Polyken 296FR.

The Polyken 296FR is not a common item and is pretty expensive as it needs to meet some specific requirements for use in aircrafts, but since I got some and I wanted to try it out . The tape is essentially a very strong and flame retardant fiberglass cloth on top with an acrylic adhesive surface on the bottom.

For more information about the Polyken 296FR tape (PDF)…

There are pretty much two things that a tape covering the build plate needs to do – provide good adhesion of the printed parts and after the print is ready to allow for easy removal of the 3D printed part. Getting both of these balanced right is actually pretty hard as surfaces that usually offer good adhesion also make it hard to remove the printed 3D part after it is ready. Surprisingly the Polyken take actually does offer a really good balance between the two and since it is flame retardant it does not have a problem with heated build plates.

The tape also conducts heat well as there is just a slight drop from the set temperature of 50 degrees Celsius for the build plate when printing with PLA filament. The tape is set to work at up to 135 degrees C, so it should not have trouble with ABS filaments that do require higher temperature for the build plate to print properly (100-120 C), though I’m yet to try printing ABS on it.

Using regular cheap PLA filament printing at 230 C with 50 C for the heated build plate. The filament sticks well to the surface and is really easy to be removed after that.

The texture that is left on the bottom of 3D printed parts is also really nice due to the fiberglass cloth being woven. So this Polyken tape actually does work surprisingly good for 3D printing PLA filaments, though as I already mentioned the price and being not so easy to obtain does not make it a popular choice for build surface. Next I’m going to be trying with ABS filament and higher temperature for the heated build plate to see how well it will work, but so far I’m pretty happy with the results using PLA.


The XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer is currently one of the most affordable that uses the more detailed Stereolitography technology for curing liquid resin with an UV laser, producing higher quality prints as compared to the more common FDM/FFF 3D printers using thermoplastics. Earlier this year, when the Nobel 1.0 was announced it looked like a really good alternative to some other more expensive SLA 3D printers and although we like FormLab’s 3D printers they are still quite more expensive. So recently we have decided to go for the Nobel 1.0 as an expansion of our 3D printers lab in order for us to start using SLA 3D printing as well and dig deeper into the technology. Now it is time to share our initial impressions after using the XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D printer for a while, so if you are interested in SLA 3D printers and are on a more limited budget you will most likely be interested in this device as well.


The Nobel 1.0 3D printer, like most other SLA 3D printers, comes with a smaller build volume than you might’ve gotten used to from FDM/FFF devices, but offers higher printing resolution that comes with slower build times unfortunately. The device itself is affordable and you might end up getting it for less than you might need to pay for an FDM/FFF 3D printer, however the UV resin that the device uses as a material for printing is the expensive part along with the resin reservoir that also needs to be replaced from time to time. The result is that you get better quality prints, but the material that SLA 3D printers can be multiple times more expensive and there are other consumables like the resin tank that make printing even more expensive. Furthermore the Nobel 1.0 3D printer can be used officially only with the official XYZprinting resin as the bottles with the material come with an RFID tag that the printer uses for keeping track of the remaining liquid in order for the resin tank auto refill functionality to work. So far the choice of resins that are made to work with the Nobel 1.0 is quite limited and there is no official support for other more affordable or different type of resins from third parties, so this is a bit of a problem.


The Nobel 1.0 is relatively easy to get started up with and produces good results. As with other SLA 3D printers when the printed part is ready you need to take some extra steps such as cleaning the part with alcohol in order to remove any remaining liquid from the solid part. Also, like with many other printers using the same technology when you remove the 3D printed part from the build platform it is still not fully cured – the object is still softer to to the touch and you need to be careful. This makes it easy to remove any support materials for example or do some post-processing before you finalize it by further curing the part with some UV light at which point the part will become very strong and fully cured. As for the printing time, well, you need to be ready to wait more, especially if you decide to increase the printing quality more than the standard level of 0.1mm – usually the highest quality on FDM/FFF 3D printers. Do note that unlike some other 3D printing software with the XYZware that the Nobel 1.0 uses if you have a problem with your 3D model file it will most likely end up with a broken sliced part that will not print at all, so make sure that you have no issues with the 3D file that you import for printing. So, in general we are happy with the results we are getting from the Nobel 1.0 3D printer so far, we haven’t had any issues with it yet resulting in failed prints, but there are some limitations such as the need to use only official materials that we are don’t like that much.

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