3D printing using ABS filament does have some specific requirements for the printing device, the most important of which is to have a heated buиld platform in order to prevent the printed part from warping up and to have it stick well to the base. Unfortunately not everyone has a printer that is capable of using ABS thermoplastic materials for printing as is also the case with us and our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that is designed to support only PLA printing officially. That is precisely why we were looking for various things that may allow us to print using ABS filaments without the need to add a heated build platform to our Replicator 2 and we might have found a good workaround. We have stumbled across this idea and have decided to try it out – printing on a prototyping perfboard used for generic electrical projects. So we have found out some different perfboards and bought them to try out printing with ABS on them and our initial tests have produced very good results as you can see on the photo above. With that however there are a few catches that you should be aware of if deciding to try out this workaround, the important thing is that it works however.


The trick that prevents the warping of the prints using this method are the holes of the perfboard where some of the filament gets in and thus, you need to print the models with a Raft however to get good prints that stick to the build plate. Do note that this solution has some drawbacks and other inconveniences that we’ve discovered while trying things out. First we had trouble finding big enough perfboards to cover our full build platform, so we have settled with the biggest ones we could find, but thiс means a more limited size for the prints using ABS. When we got the perfboards it has turned out that they are not perfectly flat and that can cause issues while printing, so we’ve used the flattest one to get better results. After inserting the perfboard on the build plate you will need to do a level adjustment as it will add something between 1 and 2 millimeters on top of the level you normally would use for the standard build plate oф the printer. You need to attach the perfboard well to the buиld plate so that it will not move during printing, but at the same time will still be easy to be removed when you need to get hte printed part off it and then you would need to clean the holes of the perfboard from the remaining material. The cleaning part is very important as the holes do the trick and if they are not cleaned after a print you may start getting the prints warping again, you can use a paperclip to easily remove the remaining ABS material. We are still playing with the ABS printing on perfboard, but things are really looking promising on the Replicator 2 based on the results we are getting, so stay tuned for more information based on our experience.

One of the most troublesome thing with most 3D printers, or at least the ones using FDM/FFF technology or essentially extruding various kinds of thermoplastic to build the desired 3D print is the fact that you need to have the filament stick to something. In order for the first layer to stick to the build plate, so that the model will not warp during printing, we employ various tricks such as putting different tapes on the build platform. But we have to replace the painters tape, or the Kapton tape or reapply whatever else we might be using from time to time as these materials wear off and with that also comes the need to level the build plate again and again. GeckoTek might have the solution for this – an alternative build plate that has a permanent coating that provides enough adhesion for the materials to stick well and then be easily removable. Without the need to reapply something on the build plate and go through the process of leveling the build plate again and again, you would still have to, but probably less often. The only thing that the GeckoTek build plate apparently does not solve is the need to still have a heated build platform for printing ABS materials or when using other 3D printer filaments that need to have a hot bed in order to stick on.

The GeckoTek 3D printer build plate started as a Kickstarter project earlier this year and it has been successfully funded. The company has stated November shipping for the project backers and they are apparently already taking pre-orders from users that did not take part in the crowdfunding effort on Kickstarter for early 2015 delivery. You have the option to pre-order a GeckoTek build plate only or the plate along with a custom magnetic base for easier removal of the build plate from your 3D printer and there are models available for a variety of popular 3D printers. Kits are available for 3D printers by Makerbot, Ultimaker, RepRap, Printbot, Solidoodle, Blue Eagle Labs, Wanhao, Flash Forge, SeeMeCNC and Robo 3D. Depending on the size of the build plate it costs around $40 USD and if yuo get the GeckoTek 3D printer combo that includes a magnetic base and build plate you would need to pay about $85 USD for it, thought hat can vary based on the specific printer model. We have pre-ordered a combo kit for our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and that one was $85 USD, though you would also need to include shipping cost that can vary depending on your location. Payments for the pre-order are done now via PayPal, so you are charged immediately and not when your order is ready to ship or is shipped.

Visit the official GeckoTek website for more information about their 3D printer build plates…


Ghostly International is a record label, design house, and technology innovator that provides works of high quality, integrity, and individuality. Ghostly and MakerBot have joined to present to you the MakerBot Ghostly Vinyl Challenge – using vinyl records and turntables as a starting point, you need to use your design skills to create novel objects that will delight record collectors, music lovers, and audiophiles alike. More specifically things to decorate, augment, or personalize your records and stereo systems.

To take part in the challenge you need to just upload your designs to Thingiverse with the tag #GhostlyVinyl before November 30th at 11:59PM EST. Entries must be tagged #GhostlyVinyl to be considered. A panel of MakerBot and Ghostly employees will judge entries on creativity and printability and winners will be announced on December 15th. The first-prize winner will receive Ghostly’s 2014 full length vinyl catalog and a MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer. Three winners will receive spools of MakerBot Filament (Three spools for first place, two for second, and one for third) and have their design featured on Thingiverse.

For more information about the MakerBot Ghostly Vinyl Challenge…