There’s a small explosion of build plates occurring, if you haven’t noticed. Another good option has popped up on Kickstarter: GeckoTek.
The GeckoTek 3D printer build plate operates similar to previous entrants: replace the printing surface on your plastic-extrusion 3D printer with one where your print actually sticks properly. Not only will these plates keep your model from falling off during the print, they’ll also provide an easy way to remove them when complete. They’re easy to use because installation is simply a matter of clipping them onto your existing 3D printing surface. No difficult procedures required; just use your 3D printer in exactly the same manner.
The GeckoTek plate is chemically designed to offer a permanent printing surface for PLA, ABS or even Nylon (although ABS and Nylon prints must have a heated bed).
The unique feature of the GeckoTek plate is the magnetic attachment option. Other plates typically use 3D printed clips to attach the plate to the 3D printer’s print surface, but there is a small risk you might knock the machine out of level. The risk varies considerably by machine type, but in some cases it could be annoying.
With the magnetic attachment you simply lift the plate from (or place it on) the printing surface and magnetic force does the rest. This reduces the chance of placing your surface out of level. GeckoTek currently offers magnetic plates cut to fit several specific machines:
- RepRaps (any printer that uses a MK1 or MK2 214 x 214mm heated bed)
- Makerbot Replicator 2 and 2X
- PrinterBot simple
- Solidoodle 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Gen
- Ultimaker 1 and 2
How much for this amazing accessory? Their Kickstarter page offers a number of options, ranging from only USD$39 for a 305 x 305mm plate or smaller, to USD$65-95 for magnetic plates to fit various machines. The project has already made its goal of USD$19,000, so it appears they’ll proceed with production.