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Customizable Adjustable Glass Bed Bracket for FlashForge Creator Pro etc

by DrLex, published

Customizable Adjustable Glass Bed Bracket for FlashForge Creator Pro etc by DrLex Dec 7, 2016
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Summary

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.

Intro

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 the Customizer button 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.

Accurately 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. 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 the size of your glass plate is unfortunately not compatible with the brackets. You can try to fiddle with the advanced settings if the dimensions are borderline, but it is advisable to just find some glass that has nearly the same size as the bed instead.

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 model preview in Customizer (or OpenSCAD) will look messed up for most parameters. This seems due to the embedded polyhedron, but it is only cosmetic and the final model will be fine.
 

Printing

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 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.

It is highly recommended to print the spring-loaded knobs instead of the standard ones that come with this Thing. It takes a little extra work to mold the required silicone gaskets, but it will eliminate the risk that the glass shifts around due to thermal expansion of the heated bed.

This must be printed in a material that can withstand the heat of the heated bed. 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.
 

Mounting

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.
 

Using

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 isolator 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.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:

FlashForge

Printer:

Creator Pro

Rafts:

No

Supports:

No

Resolution:

0.1 mm and 0.2 mm

Infill:

25% and 100%


Notes:

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.

If you're willing to spend a little extra time molding some silicone gaskets, printing the improved spring-loaded knobs is well worth it. 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.

As stated before, 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. You should enable the fan to ensure the threads are printed accurately. 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.
  • 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 pins.
  • Print the pins in polycarbonate: this is a good material because it can withstand any sensible bed temperature without deforming. Unfortunately, the minimum extruder temperature for PC is 260°C. This is borderline for the teflon liners in stock hot-ends of typical consumer printers. 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. 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. Keep in mind that PC tends to warp even worse than ABS, it is not an easy material to print.
  • 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.

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. You can even anneal them when they are already installed, by heating your bed to 110°C (for ABS pins) and then letting it cool down slowly, and repeating this a few times. Or you could just start using them, and they will anneal by themselves if you regularly heat the bed to 110°C. I am still using my first ABS pins and brackets, and even though they have been baked slightly brownish where they touch the bed, they hold up well.

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.

Updates

2016/12/11

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.
I have included a ‘divided’ variation of the pin model. This has a tiny cavity that separates the threaded section from the rest. If you print with 3 perimeters 0.4 mm wide, this allows to print the threaded part at less than 100% infill while maintaining the recommended 100% infill for the part around the hole. This is only provided for those who like to fine-tune their slicers into the finest details, others can just ignore this file.

2016/12/12

Allowed larger range of values in customizer: bed thickness can now go down to 5 mm and tabs can go up to 7 mm.

2016/12/27

Added smaller nuts and coarse-threaded variants (using the same threads as Lochemage's remix of the original brackets).

2017/05/09

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.

2017/05/14

Added ‘Rear Corner Fix’.

When to use the ‘Extra ridges’ option

The extra ridges can keep the glass down if it has enough of a bevel or rounded edge.

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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HI and thanks for this! :)
I've got a ffcp 2016 with blue sticker removed as I hated it.. got two glass sheets from same firm.. weirdly one has rounded off corners other doesnt, Bed 153x232 by my amateurish measuring lol and glass is 153x235 (rounded corner glass) so oeverhangs slightly at sides. Can I use this bracket? Cheers.

Yes, you can. If you want to mount the brackets on the front right and rear left, customize them with a ‘Tab Width Left’ of 0mm, and a ‘Tab Width Right’ of 1.5mm. If you want them on the front left and rear right, swap those two values.
I'll try to update the customizer one of these days so you only need to fill in your bed and glass dimensions, and it will either do the rest or say it won't work, instead of having to do all the calculations yourself.

Nope, do you intend to use those to improve heat transfer to the glass? I'm not sure if it will make a big difference.

Someone on a Facebook group uses it to secure the glass! I've ordered one I'll post back.

The sheet I posted above is a huge success. I have no brackets holding the glass whatsoever!

Hello,
is this one good for a 10x9 or (255mmx230mm) gas bed?
if not dose someone have a solution for my FFCP2016 and 10x9 gas bed?

No, you cannot mount a glass plate that large with these clips. In fact you'll have a hard time mounting it in any way, and there is no real point in using such a large plate to begin with. The nozzles cannot go beyond the original 230x155 bed by more than a few millimeters, so you won't gain much printing volume. These clips are optimal for a glass plate that is nearly the same size as the aluminium bed.

I printed this out, and I'm seeing a problem. My glass is not really held in place (because the clips don't reach it) and it lifts up during printing. That my be just because I'm using plexi glass instead of tempered, but if you know the solution please help me.

I've replaced the plexi glass with tempered glass, but now the problem is that I don't get good adhesion in the middle because there glue on there, and the clips still don't hold it in place. I think it's just a little bit too big so that one of the clips is not on the bed. Any suggestions on that?

If there is any residue on the glass, remove it with acetone. Less sticky greasy stuff can be easily removed with isopropanol.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean with ‘one of the clips is not on the bed’. A photo would help.

If you do want to try to go on with the plexiglass, it does have the advantage that you can tool and sand it. To make the brackets really grab the plate from above, bevel the edges of the plates (sand off about 3/4 of a millimeter off the edges at a 45° angle), and customize the brackets with the ‘extra ridges’ enabled. This will cause them to grab those beveled edges and clamp down the plate. However, the plexi may still have enough force due to thermal expansion, that it will lift the brackets, so I would again recommend to use real glass instead.

Have you merely printed the default STL models, or created custom ones with the Customizer button? I'm just wondering because if you have created custom models according to the instructions, and use them according to the instructions, then they should fit and grab the plate. I'm starting to suspect that quite a few Thingiverse users don't even realize that Customizer exists…

Plexiglass seems like a bad choice for a print bed. It will flex when heated, because one side will be considerably warmer than the other one, which probably explains why it lifts. Also, it is by far not as resistant to wear as glass, and some filaments may fuse with it. You definitely should get a glass plate. Borosilicate is not essential, but recommended nonetheless.

Thank you for posting this along with the scad file. Superior design compared to all other clips I've found, including my own remix of another. Too many good prints ruined by a small shift in the glass bed.

Hey guys how to you set the home plate so the nozzle dont hit the glass? I saw other kits have stepper additions for the back, but is there a way to reset where the plate goes in the program itself? If so to what hight. I bought the glass part from flashforge direct as I had credit there

Thank you

You need a shim to raise the Z axis endstop position, like this one: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1886458 (if you have an older version of the FFCP and this model doesn't fit, try one of the original designs this one was remixed from).

Z-Axis shim spacer for 2016 FlashForge Creator Pro (for glass bed, customizable)
by DrLex

Thank you for the reply! this is the glass I have, can't seem to find a file for the same size?

http://www.flashforge-usa.com/shop/borosilicate-glass.html

I have just added a 6 mm version which is about the same thickness as those plates.

Hi sorry to bother again, but was wondering if you had to change any settings in heat etc when adding the glass plate? and if so does it matter what thickness?

Seems stuff is sticking alot less printing with ABS and using gluestick as people indicated

The thicker the glass, the more it will isolate the heat. I'm afraid 1/4 inch (±6 mm) may be too thick. Glass is not a good thermal conductor. With a 3 mm plate, I already lose about 15°C on the surface when heating the bed to 110°C, but 95°C is still OK to get good adhesion with hairspray.
You can try a few things:

  • Try hairspray/3DLac instead of glue stick. Make sure to clean the glass well before applying it.
  • Increase the bed temperature. However, if you use printed brackets to clamp the glass, and heat the bed far above 110°C, the brackets could start deforming rapidly.
  • Seal your enclosure as much as possible, for instance use this plug for the door (or tape if you don't have any flexible filament to print this), and this insert to reduce the gap in the hood. Also, do not enable the fan unless necessary.
  • Find thinner glass.
Flashforge Creator Pro 2016 Door Handle Draft/Warp Stopper
FlashForge Creator Pro hood insert 2.0
by DrLex

You are the best! thank you so much

I have a glass 220x220.
What items I need printer?

Dec 27, 2016 - Modified Jan 3, 2017
DrLex - in reply to Mc_KaNaN

These clips are only suitable for glass plates that aren't larger or smaller than the printing bed by more than about 1 cm. If you have a Creator Pro and want to use your 220x220 plates with it, then these clips are of no use. Otherwise, if you have a printer with a bed of approximately 220x220 and screws on the corners, then just follow the instructions in the Thing Details.

" If you have a Creator Pro, then these clips are of no use."

Huh? Why? The headline for the part is 'Customizable Adjustable Glass Bed Bracket for FlashForge Creator Pro etc'

The brackets I have now for my 6.3mm glass plate are pretty unsatisfactory so I was going to give these a try until I read this comment.

Jan 3, 2017 - Modified Jan 3, 2017
DrLex - in reply to MarkHargrove

You should read things in context: that was a reply to someone who said he has glass plates of 220x220mm. These brackets are for plates roughly the same size as the 230x155mm FFCP bed. 220x220 is way too different, therefore for this person these brackets are of no use (I updated the reply to avoid further confusion). The difference between bed and glass plate should not be larger than about 10 mm in either dimension to use these brackets.

Ah, sorry -- I did miss the context. Now these are my next-up project to print!

I'm having trouble with the nuts slipping on the pins. Printing in PETG, most of my other prints are pretty accurate in terms of dimensions (nut holes etc are spot on). Any tips?

Coarser thread versions of the nuts and pins are now available (I used the same ones as Lochemage's remix).

I wouldn't recommend PETG if you're going to heat the bed above 75°C. If that's not the case, then print at the lowest temperature that produces a strong result, and provide ample cooling during printing to prevent details from melting into each other. You could try to print the pins in upright position as well, but that will require a good raft.
Somewhere in the coming weeks I'll try to add an alternative set of pins and nuts with coarser threads that are easier to print.

Thanks that would be helpful. For now I printed the bolts scaled down to 96% which seems to have done the job. Regards temps the PETG doesn't melt until around 180'C and I rarely go above 80'c on the heat-bed so I'll give it a go and see how they stand up.

Ayyyy I wanted to say thank you. The plate holder is the only thing I still argue with on the FFC so I'll slap these in next week and see how it is.

Will not hold the glass properly against the base plate ! it will lift it as you tighten the screw.
Here is one that does: In fact,
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1947870

Glass Holder for prusai3 or similar 3D printers
by Forc3D

If the brackets are printed with a correct bed size such that they have no vertical play, and the nuts are not over-tightened, then the plate won't lift. The screws should only be tightened just to the point where the plate can no longer move, otherwise the tension in the plastic will cause it to deform from the heat anyway.
Any design that clamps down the plate from above will need to have stuff sticking out above the plate, with a risk that the nozzles will crash into it.

Dec 8, 2016 - Modified Dec 8, 2016
MKSA - in reply to DrLex

Not at all, it will lift the glass plate because the part will give ! Others here have made similar holder, I told them and after having measured with shims, they saw the problem.
You should use a slanted contact surface against the glass edge that will force down the glass.
Anyway spring steel is better for this usage..
For example a U shape pinching the glass plate and base made out of steel shim or spring wire is more secure, the printed surface lost is minimal if one make it thin enough.

If this is such an obvious problem, I would have expected it to be reported in the comments of the two original Things of which this is a remix, which exist for almost a year now. I find none, only things like “works great”.

This remix has a more central position for the screw and nut with respect to the bracket than the original designs. This makes it even less likely that it will start to tilt upwards. Moreover, my instructions clearly state not to tighten the screws any more than is required to secure the plate. If anyone wants to turn the knobs until everything starts to bulge, then it is user error.

I have already done a 3-hour ABS print at 110°C with these brackets, and the plate didn't move in any direction. The only caveat is that the bed has a much larger thermal expansion than borosilicate glass, therefore it is important to preheat first and check that everything is tight before starting the print. Bed levelling should be done with the bed preheated — this is true even without a glass plate as I have learnt from months of working with BuildTak. I even did the test of preheating to 110°C, tightening the nuts, and then letting it cool back down all the way to 15°C, which is about the worst case of additional stress imposed on the brackets due to thermal contraction. Nothing happened, nothing lifted.

I don't care about a few mm of lost space due to a clip on the glass, I just don't want to constantly remind myself that there are things sticking out above the build surface and I might crash into them if I would modify my pre-print or bed levelling procedures.

Anyway, I have added an option to the customizer to extend the model with an extra ridge at the top edge of the tabs, that could offer some extra downwards clamping force, especially if the glass plate has rounded edges.

Dec 9, 2016 - Modified Dec 9, 2016
MKSA - in reply to DrLex

"Anyway, I have added an option to the customizer to extend the model with an extra ridge at the top edge of the tabs, that could offer some extra downwards clamping force, especially if the glass plate has rounded edges."

OK, as you do what I suggested.

Just noticed this guy proposed the same thing as you but earlier.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1940192

Flashforge Creator Pro Glass Adjustable Bed Bracket with bolt action and duplo threads

“Just noticed this guy proposed the same thing as you but earlier.”
Explain.

Good stuff Doc! Hopefully this works on my PowerSpec Ultra, I think it has the same bed size.

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