Customizable Adjustable Glass Bed Bracket for FlashForge Creator Pro etc
by DrLex, published
- Print Settings
- How I Designed This
- When to use the ‘Extra ridges’ option
- When to enable/disable the ‘Rear Corner Fix’ option
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I know, there's quite a bit of text here, but reading all of it is worth it. Even if you're familiar with Customizer and printing strong heat-resistant parts, you should still read the ‘mounting’ and ‘using’ sections for some important hints.
Yet another iteration of the adjustable glass bed bracket, originally by chewbone and then modified by omegatron and Lochemage. This time, not only the bracket itself is adjustable, so is the model! This customizable bracket fits the FlashForge Creator Pro and any printers with similar build plates that have M3 bolts at their corners. Due to the adjustable knob, it is easy to swap out glass plates if you have more than one, so you can start printing on another plate while the first one is still cooling down.
The main advantage of this particular design is that it allows to mount the glass plate without anything sticking out above it. This means you never need to worry about the risk of your nozzles crashing into the brackets.
Obvious disclaimer: I am not responsible for any possible damage caused by the use of these brackets, not if you follow my advice, and certainly not if you ignore it.
Creating a customized bracket
Do not just print the example STL file, it is unlikely it will fit your setup. Instead, use Customizer to generate brackets that match your particular bed and glass dimensions. It is limited to plates that are roughly the same width and depth as the heated bed itself. If you yet have to buy a glass plate, I recommend one that is just a few millimeters smaller than the bed, and has rounded or beveled edges. Borosilicate glass is highly preferred over regular glass. Avoid plates thicker than 4 mm, they will take long to heat and will cause a large temperature drop w.r.t. the heater.
Measure the dimensions of both your print bed and glass plates, and enter those values in the required fields in Customizer. More specifically, measure width, depth and height (in other words X, Y and Z) of both the bed (without glass) and the glass plate. Be as accurate as possible! Aim for at least 0.5 mm accuracy, this is possible with a simple ruler and a keen eye.
If you have multiple supposedly “identical” plates, there will often be small differences between them: take the minimum width and depth across all plates.
You can opt to mount the brackets on the front right and rear left corners, or front left and rear right. One pair of brackets is sufficient, but should you want to clamp all corners anyway, just run Customizer twice for both configurations. The models are marked so you know where to mount them: FR = front right, FL = front left, RL = rear left, RR = rear right.
The default is to center the glass on the bed, but if you want to align one of its edges to an edge of the print bed, you can select that in the options. For instance, I have aligned mine to the front edge because my start G-code chops off oozed filament on that edge.
You can choose to add an extra pair of tiny ridges that may help to keep the plate clamped down. This is most useful if your glass plate has rounded or beveled edges. See the image and explanation at the bottom of this page.
If the customizer shows “FAIL,” either you entered non-numerical dimensions, or your glass plate is unfortunately too large or small to be compatible with the brackets. You can try to fiddle with the advanced settings if the dimensions are borderline, but it is advisable to find some other glass instead, that has nearly the same size as the bed.
There is an option ‘Rear Corner Fix’ in the advanced settings to compensate for an oddness of the FFCP (at least mine), it is enabled by default. Check the photo at the bottom of this page to see if you need to disable this option. Do this even if you have a 2016 FFCP, they might have shipped your printer with a different bed.
(Note: the preview in Customizer can look a bit messy. This has no impact on the final result.)
Next to the customized bracket model you created above, you must also print one pin and one nut (knob) per bracket. If you choose to print the ‘CoarseThread’ version of the pin (easier print but rougher adjustment), you must also print the CoarseThread version of the nut.
The regular pin comes in two variations: a solid one, and one with hollow thread section. The latter is less likely to warp during printing, therefore print this one unless you have a good reason to print the solid one. (There is no hollow version of the CoarseThread because its larger thread leaves no room for a hollow space.)
There are XL versions of the pins, these are slightly longer than the normal ones and you should only print these if necessary (printing them in ABS or PC will be even more difficult than the shorter ones). If these still are too short, you definitely need to find a glass plate that more closely matches the size of the heated bed.
The nuts come in two sizes. The larger is the recommended one, but if you have a thin bed and the knob sticks out above the glass, you may need the smaller nut.
If you're willing to spend a little extra time molding some silicone gaskets, it is well worth it to print the improved spring-loaded knobs instead of the standard ones from this Thing. The silicone springs reduce the risk that the glass shifts around due to thermal expansion of the heated bed. You don't even need to print the ordinary knobs to already use the brackets while waiting for the silicone gaskets to cure. Just use the spring-loaded knobs without gaskets and tighten them manually after preheating, as you would do with the ordinary knobs.
This must be printed in a material that can withstand the heat of the heated bed. Especially the pins will have to endure the most heat. PLA is a no-go unless you never print anything else than PLA. PETG is also dubious unless you will never heat the bed above 75°C. If you'll never heat the bed above 110°C, then ABS will do fine. If you are able to print the pins in polycarbonate, that would be ideal because it can withstand up to 150°C. See the ‘Print settings’ section for more details.
The model that comes out of Customizer is ready to print without supports. The worst overhangs are 45°, which should be easy to print if you have tuned your printer well. A fan can help with the overhangs, but make sure to print hot and slowly if you print ABS with a fan.
This design differs from the original, in that the pin must be placed straight against the underside of the bed instead of sandwiching the bracket between it. This offers a more balanced mount when tightening the knob, while also making it easier to move the bracket.
The included pin is different from chewbone's original and is intended to be secured by means of an additional M3 nut. Mount it with the recess upwards, covering the existing M3 nut. If you don't have any M3 nuts to spare, you can also print the pin from the original thing and mount it using the existing nut, with the recess downwards. I do recommend using my version of the pin with an additional nyloc M3 nut.
Important: only tighten the M3 nut just to the point where the pin can no longer move vertically. Do not tighten it further, unless you printed the pin in polycarbonate or will never heat the bed anywhere near 110°C.
If you use the spring-loaded knobs, read the instructions on their page and skip the following paragraph because those knobs make it redundant.
Otherwise, the correct workflow is to first preheat your bed with the glass plate on top, and only tighten the knobs when the temperature is stable. The reason is that borosilicate glass has a much lower thermal expansion coefficient than the bed, therefore if you would tighten it cold and then heat it, the plate may not be secure and wiggle around. The whole point of these brackets is that it is very easy to adjust them, so it is better to adjust them when it is not really necessary, than not to adjust them when it is needed.
Do not tighten the knobs like crazy. Just tighten them up to the point where the glass cannot move. Over-tightening may cause the plastic to deform, or the plate to lift if you did not print the brackets with accurate dimensions.
Should you remove the blue sheet or BuildTak when using a glass plate?
If you don't foresee that you will ever print on the sheet again, you should consider removing it. The sheet acts as an insulator and will cause a drop in temperature between the bed and glass that can be as high as 10°C depending on the temperature and thickness of the sheet. One small advantage of leaving the sheet installed, is that it provides some friction, making it less easy for the glass to slide around than on the bare metal surface. However, it should be the brackets that keep your glass in place, not the surface.
0.1 mm and 0.2 mm
25% and 100%
The nuts and pins were printed at 0.1 mm, the corner itself at 0.2 mm. I printed extra slowly for additional strength. I used a brim on the corner pieces, but this was probably unnecessary.
Again a reminder that the spring-loaded knobs will make your life easier if you're willing to spend the little extra time to mold the silicone gaskets that act as springs.
The brackets will do fine when printed in ABS, even if you occasionally heat the bed beyond 110°C. As stated before however, the pins need to be the most heat-resistant. You have a few options, sorted roughly according to obviousness:
- Print the pins in ABS. If you do, use many perimeters and/or 100% infill. To get the best detail on the threads, print slowly at 0.1 mm layers with the fan enabled. Use a raft. If you are unable to print the pins correctly, try printing them upright, and/or try the ‘CoarseThread’ versions. ABS pins are perfectly OK if you never heat the bed above 110°C. Even at 110°C, they will hold up for a long time if you do not tighten the M3 nuts beyond the point where the pins have no vertical play, and if you never tighten the brackets beyond the point where the glass doesn't move. Print new pins when they are deforming too much (should only be after many months of usage).
- Have the pins printed in polycarbonate or another heat-resistant material through 3DHubs. It will cost you a bit, but probably less than if you try polycarbonate yourself and something goes wrong, or if you constantly need to print new ABS pins.
- Print the pins yourself in polycarbonate: this is an excellent material because it can withstand any sensible bed temperature without deforming. Unfortunately, it is not trivial to print with. The minimum extruder temperature for PC is 260°C. This is borderline for the teflon liners in stock hot-ends of typical consumer printers like the FFCP. If you don't want to invest in an all-metal hot-end upgrade, you might get away by obtaining a 10 m polycarbonate filament sample, and printing the pins at 260°C, 30mm/s or slower. This will take about an hour, which might not cause too much degradation of the teflon liner, but I would check it afterwards and ensure you have a spare ready in case it has been cooked. Keep in mind that PC tends to warp even worse than ABS, a raft and hot sealed enclosure are essential.
- Buy stainless steel M8 x 1.25 bolts and transform them into the shape of the pins, or create the shape from scratch with metalwork tools and skills. Stainless steel is ideal due to its low thermal conductivity. Of course this is not for everyone unless you're the AvE kind of guy!
Whatever plastic you plan to print the parts in, it may be worth a try to anneal both the pins and brackets to make them the most heat-resistant and least likely to deform. They will probably even anneal to a certain degree if you install them without tightening the knobs, then heat your bed to 110°C (for ABS pins), let it cool down slowly, and repeat this a few times.
I have used ABS printed pins for about half a year, after this they were somewhat bent but still usable. I recently printed new ones in polycarbonate and I expect those to last forever.
How I Designed This
I took omegatron's model, cleaned it up in Blender, and chopped off all the parts that would vary when making it customizable. I exported it to STL, and converted this to an OpenSCAD polyhedron using stl2scad, because Customizer does not allow importing STL files. Then I added the necessary customizable shapes using the usual SCAD magic.
‘GlassBedNut-v3’ is the same shape as the original, although I cleaned up the STL a bit to avoid weird glitches in Slic3r.
I updated the pin model to be longer at the side of the bed. This should make it more resistant against deformation. If you print new pins, be sure to use this new model. Remember: do not tighten the pins any harder against the bed than necessary. Otherwise you'll end up with the counter-intuitive situation where the pin becomes the more loose, the more you tighten it.
Included ‘divided’ variation of the pin model (this had a cavity that might allow to print the threaded part with less infill, however this was unpractical so I removed it again).
Allowed larger range of values in customizer: bed thickness can now go down to 5 mm and tabs can go up to 7 mm.
Added smaller nuts and coarse-threaded variants (using the same threads as Lochemage's remix of the original brackets).
Completely overhauled Customizer so it is much easier to use, and offers a wider range of parameters.
Created Spring-loaded Knobs remix, which I highly recommend over the plain knobs.
Added ‘Rear Corner Fix’.
2017/06/04: Bumped default tabWidthOffset from 1.2 mm to 1.5 mm.
Added a version of the regular pin with the threaded section hollowed-out. This makes it less likely to warp when printed in ABS or polycarbonate.
Fixed the broken preview in Customizer/OpenSCAD.
Minor update 2017/07/25: made error messages in customizer preview more readable.
Added XL versions of the pins, these are about 6mm longer.
Wasted some of my precious time due to the stupid “Token Expired” bug in the Thingiverse site. If this kind of crap keeps happening, I'll just stop uploading models altogether.
When to use the ‘Extra ridges’ option
If your glass has beveled or rounded edges, it is worth it to enable the ‘Extra ridges’ option in Customizer. As the figure shows, the ridges can clamp down the glass by grabbing it on the bevel. This is not strictly necessary when using borosilicate glass, but regular glass or other materials that have a significant coefficient of expansion, are more likely to warp and lift at the edges when the bed is heated.
If you want to have the same clamp-from-above effect with glass that has straight edges, you can only do so by ignoring my advice of never letting anything stick out above the glass. If you make the brackets about 0.2 mm taller than the glass and enable the ridges, they will also clamp the glass from above. This is not worth the risk however: trying to clamp down the glass is pointless if you follow my usage instructions.
When to enable/disable the ‘Rear Corner Fix’ option
Check the bottom side of your heated bed at the rear (hint: use a mirror or take a snapshot with your smartphone) and compare it to the photo. If the screws look like in the left photo, you don't need to change anything to the defaults. If they look like in the right photo, disable the ‘Rear Corner Fix’ in the advanced settings.
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Customizable Adjustable Glass Bed Bracket for FlashForge Creator Pro etc by DrLex is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license.
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