-more than worth it.
As far as upgrades go, this one is spendy. $170CA for my Ender3 pro max.
As expected with this industry, the documentation and instructions are somewhere between non-existant and counter-productive.
But Oh My. What a game changing bit of tech.
What is it?
-3m adhesive and paper
-Poly Magnetic mat
Why would I buy it?
No glue, no tape, no spray.
Cleaning is reduced to wiping the residue of additives to your filament every once in awhile.
Like other magnetic, or steel spring plates, you can, if you choose, remove the finished print with the plate attached and gently bend it across the x and y axis to release the print, but most of the time, this is not necessary. *
What is PEX?
Polyethylene chains laid down in a cross-hatch pattern.
The cross-hatching gives the material ‘memory’, meaning it strives to return to it’s original configuration.
This is the stuff delivering water to your taps in homes built this century. It is solvent resistant, but don’t push your luck; stick with isopropyl alcohol.
What’s up with the anxiety-inducing instructions?
Two things bothered me:
-Should we attach our new plate to the Aluminum base or the glass (or whatever) bed. Which one?
From a practical standpoint, we would prefer the aluminum base. Less material to heat = faster action. Also, less reliance on the skeevy clamps they send us.
So, Check both the plate and the aluminum with a trusted flat-edge and back-light and go with the flattest. Longer heating times are shorter than failed prints.
-Installation of the sticky magnetic pad.
This is not rocket science, but two factors are critical.
You need a clean, flat base.
Make sure the edges and screw holes of your base are smooth and nothing is on the top. Use a metal file if you must.
No air pockets between the magnetic pad and your base.
This is not hard, but it is one of those things you have to do right, the first time.
The instructions are correct in that you expose enough of the sticky stuff to get started across the back.
Get that lined up perfectly while there is minimal sticky stuff in play.
Then, pull all of the backing off.
Ready a finger in the middle and lower the pad until you can run that finger from back to front, and then let go of everything.
Now you have a sealed edge along the back, and one up the middle.
Starting from the middle back, apply pressure out and forward on each side, imagining air pockets and their escape routes.
Try a print without any abrasions.
You will see how much better this surface is.
I wouldn’t trust my own mother to buy the steel wool we need, and I wouldn’t trust baby Jesus to do what they want us to do with it.
Ignore this completely.
The goal is to scratch up the PEX surface just a little.
Give it what painters call ‘teeth’.
These are microscopic abrasions big enough to give our extrusions something to grip, but small enough so you can’t see them on the finished product. A tricky balance.
Do yourself a favour and use the green side of a Dollar Store sponge, very very lightly, in little circles.
You will see the surface get duller.
My advice is to err on the side less scratches. As you print, you will be cleaning the PEX with the same sponge, and can always add more scratches.
If this is your first rodeo, and you can afford it, buy this, but get someone experienced to set it up.
It has a plastic surface you can easily destroy with the wrong settings.
If this is your second rodeo, buy this because you are tired of glue, tape, sprays, cleaning and repeating.
If your bed is level and the right temp, the prints simply don’t release until you want them to.
You will save money, time, and waste in the long run, not to mention the frustration.
If I was the Boss , these would be mandatory.
*Every time you lift the plate, you could get goobies in there, so be careful.