Ultimaker Heated Aluminum Bed

by 3DTOPO, published

Ultimaker Heated Aluminum Bed by 3DTOPO Sep 17, 2012


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I used my CNC machine to mill an aluminum plate to fit using the stock Ultimaker bed bolts and springs.

This is the file I used to create the G-Code for milling. And some brief instructions how to get it working.

I selected 0.25" mill finished stock from 80/20 surplus on ebay. I got enough material to make 2 beds so I can swap them in and out.


Parts needed:

  1. Order a PCB (or mill your own). I chose to order from Ultamachine as they had the resistor and LEDs pre-soldered on the board. $50 with components: http://bit.ly/OUy4qk

  2. Order a thermistor. Ultamachine sells one that is recognized by the Marlin firmware for $2.75: http://bit.ly/SvoHgA

  3. Order a power supply. I choose to replace the power supply included with the Ultimaker and got this 400W 24 volt PSU. $49: http://bit.ly/QhazrA

  4. Round up some wire heavy enough for the power. I used 12 gauge silicon insulated wire often used for RC cars. You will also need some thinner wire for wiring up the thermistor - I used 26 gauge. IMPORTANT: using too thin of wire for the heated bed or the new power supply can result in a FIRE. 12 gauge wire $12 from http://amzn.to/NyvBVu

  5. Obtain an aluminum plate. I chose quarter inch, but I am sure thinner would be adequate. I chose mill finish as it is flatter then the non-milled stock. Material for two plates $24.95 from http://bit.ly/PMcKGI


  1. Download the PDF or Illustrator file.

  2. Generate G-Code for your machine. I used a 1/8" end mill. If you use anything larger the slots won't turn out. Since I didn't use any coolant I chose a federate for 18IPM and a depth of 0.01". Milled flawlessly with these settings on my machine.

  3. Mill out the aluminum plate.

  4. The new PSU connects exactly where the old PSU was connected.

  5. Solder the power leads to the PCB.

  6. Tape the PCB to the milled aluminum plate using Kapton tape.

  7. Tape the thermistor to the aluminum plate very securely. WARNING: if the thermistor comes lose it could cause runaway over heating potentially causing a FIRE.

  8. Drill a hole big enough for your wires at on the wood Z bed holder and in a safe location on the bottom of your Ultimaker.

  9. Obtain a 4.7kohm resistor and follow the wiring instructions at: http://bit.ly/OySmo4

  10. Feed the wires though the holes and mount your milled plate using the stock screws and springs.

  11. Connect the PCB power leads to the 'HEATED3' terminals on the board.

  12. The Thermistor connects to the first and third pins of the 'TEMP3' terminals. I soldered them on mine.

  13. Adjust your z-limit switch for your new height.

  14. Create custom firmware using Daid's excellent web interface at: http://bit.ly/O9EXbT . Only change settings if you know what you are doing. The only option you need to change is "Heated bed temperature sensor". If you bought the Thermistor from Ultamachine (link above) then choose "EPCOS 100K".

  15. Click the "Build Marlin!" button, and when it appears click "Download: Windows Install zip" (even if you are on a Mac!).

  16. Upload the new firmware. If you use Cura, choose "Install custom firmware" from the "Expert" menu option.

  17. Cover your milled aluminum plate with Kapton tape and you now may ditch your blue tape!

  18. When you first turn on the bed (I recommend manually testing with Printrun first) look under the milled aluminum plate and you should see a beautiful little red LED light glowing!

  19. Start printing! You may need to adjust your "Bed temperature settings in your favorite slicer.

I think that is everything, let me know if I missed anything!

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Ok, I got the silicon pad (9x9 24v) and I want to get the right power supply. From what I have read elsewhere, this (http://www.ebay.com/itm/24V-400W-Regulated-Switching-Power-Supply-Universal-DC-/260784230192)http://www.ebay.com/itm/24V-40... is what I should be getting. I'm ok with that but since I'm not an electrical guy (more of a computer guy) I'm not sure how to go about wiring this to the ultimaker. From what I have read, this should replace my existing power supply. But I dont know how to wire it in. Can someone point me to a "for dummies" level wiring diagram please?

This looks like the exact solution that I want. I read down in the comments about using silicone heating pads and found a couple of other vendors of similar pads. Is there a need to change the connections with the silicone pads? Also, do you use a quick disconnect so you can remove the Aluminum plate?

this thing looks amazing!, i got the aluminum cut, with the heated build platform added, only two problems....one....there is no electronics store within an hours drive of me (how there are 3 towns with no electronics store beats me) so can't get extra parts for that right now, and 2, friend i had cut the HBP didn't understand what the blueprint meant and instead made the mounting screw holes 10/32 and in the wrong place...so guess i'm stuck with a plywood mount.

well just an update, took a month to get tired of working with the sandwich bed before i got tired of it, got myself nice and worked up....then grabbed a manual drill(egg beater kind) mental note, sharpen bits BEFORE cutting through that plate. your arm will thank you. question though, is there an easier way to get that tape so even?always been a huge PITA for me.

Use warm soapy water and squeegee it out once in place.

You UM is badass looking!

Thanks for the suggestion. My stock fan got really noisy and I have to peel up the sticker and put a drop of oil on the motor spindle to get it to run quietly. I may have to print the cooling solution you suggested.

I looked at the MOSFET used on the RAMPS board and figured it was big enough but wasn't sure where to tie the ground from my second power supply. Maybe I need to switch to a single power supply like you did.

I bought the Qu-Bd heating pad but have not had a chance to install it. I'll post an update when I get it working.

Did you ordered the silicon pad, I see they are in stock, I'm also interested in that one.

I ask myself what to take, the 12 or 24 volt version.
Any recommendations?

That is funny. I saw that on the Make Magazine blog and wanted to try it as soon as it is back in stock. Thanks again!

Great job! It takes a while to heat but works well. I love being able to still use the original bed that came with the machine.


really nice description
Have you any photos of the back of the UM?
I'm trying to upgrade a HBP but getting a bit crazy with the wiring...

Thank you

I didn't make any changes to the back. Do you mean under the UM?

Yes, sorry. I meant under the UM.
How did you wire the new PSU to the rest of elements and the HBP?

Sorry, I just realized this info is not in the instructions. I will update them accordingly.

The new PSU connects exactly where the old PSU was connected. Positive to positive and negative to negative.

The PCB power leads connect to the 'HEATED3' terminals on the board. Polarity of these connections do not matter.

The Thermistor connects to the first and third pins of the 'TEMP3' terminals. I soldered them on mine. Polarity of these connections do not matter.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

The new PSU connects exactly where the old PSU was connected. Does this mean you are using the same round plug end that plugs into the Ultimaker board? Can the wiring handle the increased current from the new PSU. I don't know much about electronics. I've got everything wired and the last piece of the puzzle in connecting my new PSU.

Hi strainstress, in theory I could have used the same round plug, but the plug I received with the Ultimaker had reliability issues, so I soldered the new power supply to the board. For electronics you can't really have too much current, problems occur when you don't have enough current. It is the volts you have to be worried about having too many volts. Components will draw as much current as they need provided the current is available and all the wiring etc. is up to the task.

Great. Thanks for help and great job on the heated bed. Looks really good.

Thanks a lot for the clarifications!!
I´ll try this week to complete the upgrade.

I cut a small PCB on my CNC machine for a relay that could switch enough current to control the heater. The heater connections on the ultimaker power the relay and the relay connects my second power supply to the heater.
I looked at the schematics for the 1.5.6 version of the board and you could probably just use the low-side transistor built into the control board like the Ultimaker wiki suggests, but I could not find a good place to connect the ground of my second power supply to the control board. I decided I would rather make the relay board than try to solder a large wire to the ground plane of the control board especially as I have the 1.5.7 version of the board and cannot find the schematics for it.

I opted to connect it directly to the RAMPS board. Of course both options can work.

It sounds like you only have one power supply. That is an improvement over what I did and doesn't require soldering the ground wire to the RAMPS board. I like hearing the relay click to tell me the board is heating, but otherwise prefer your approach.

I can't see exactly where you taped the thermistor. Did you sandwich it in the middle between the pcb and Al plate? Also i noticed you just used kapton tape. I was thinking to spread out some CPU heat transfer silicone (200C max temp), for better heat transfer. If I do that it barely needs tape due to the silicone.
Anyways I'm building a new printer with UM parts. But the bed will be heated from the get go.

Sorry for the late response; I didn't get a notification.  I put the thermistor right at the edge of the PCB flush to the aluminum plate. I didn't want to sandwich it because then there would be less contact with the aluminum plate unless a space was cut out for it. Good idea for the heat transfer grease.

I like the design but:
Did you replace the delrine screw holders UM came iwth? If not will they handle the heat transwer through the screws from the aluminium plate?
Also did you follow the wiring instruction from UM website afterwards?

 Thanks DanLuc. I am using the delrine screw holders. Even at 70c the screws get barely warm at all. Yes, I followed the wiring instructions (for a single power supply) as it is stated in step 8 above.


Love it. Very similar to what I did but mine was laser cut by a friend with the right gear.

I did it in 3mm, and within a week of heating and cooling, the flatness was gone. Aluminium has one of the highest expansion rates with temperature.

I made another one in 6mm, and it is still working well.

I got an identical PSU, and it can be adjusted down to 19v to match the ultimaker power supply, and the built in FET handles the current no problem.

One comment though. I would keep the temperatures lower. I suspect the recommended 110degrees temp comes from the guys using glass, their thermistor
s are on the underside and the actual temp they have at the top is lower. Through experimentation I have ended up using 50deg for PLA and 75deg for ABS. Any higher gives distortion in the layers nearest the bed as they are too warm.
If you wipe the surface of the tape with acetone, you won't get any
sticking problems.


For PLA do you use any glue stick or something, or just printing straight over the kapton tape?

p.s. so far I have just used rubbing alchohol to clean the bed - I haven't used acetone at all yet...

Hi am001, thank you! Good to know about the 3mm warping for you. I am currently using 70 for the first layer and 50 for the rest and works great so far. I might try lowering the first layer temp so it doesn't take as long to start printing. ;)