Create Unique 3D Print Textures with Ember Prototypes’ Customized Print Plates

By on March 5th, 2024 in news, Service

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Finally, a customized 3D print plate service [Ember Prototypes]

Ember Prototypes has launched a customized 3D printer plate service.

The Vancouver-based company is producing PEI powder-coated print plates that include artwork and designs provided by the purchaser.

The artwork is highly visible on the plate, which can be useful for operational photography, but there’s also another benefit: the artwork can leave an impression on the bottom of your 3D prints.

This capability could be used to enforce a pattern on prints. For example, this could be your company name, or perhaps a texture for a functional purpose. If you had several customized plates with different artwork patterns, then you could emboss parts with different patterns as required: one for test parts, one for production, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Ember Prototypes has done extensive testing with the plates using many materials, including PLA, ABS, ASA, PETG, PACF, TPU and others. They say they have perfected the manufacturing process and that the plates are quite durable and offer more than adequate adhesion properties for 3D printing.

How does it work? Purchasers simply upload a PNG or JPG to their site, and this is used to etch the plate. They say they then coat the plate with a protective coating on top.

[UPDATE] Ember Prototypes contacted us with a clarification on their production process that imprints the pattern on the plates:

“”A special process is used to apply a durable and long lasting coating of the artwork. No etching, engraving or damage of the underlying PEI occurs.””

There are some constraints around the image file, specifically resolution, minimum margin and fonts, but that should not prevent the creation of many types of plates. They also accept only line art, as photographs are not going to work very well.

Example customized 3D print plates [Source: Ember Prototypes]

There are two choices of plate: thin or thick. The thick plate provides a much more dramatic emboss on printed objects, while the thin version might be more appropriate for printer visuals.

There’s one catch: currently Ember Prototypes offers plates only for Bambu Lab and Prusa devices. Specifically they offer plates for the X1C, P1S, P1P, and A1 from Bambu Lab (they all use the same print plate geometry, but different from the A1 Mini). For Prusa models, the MK series is entirely covered as their plates also have identical geometry.

It’s also possible to download an SVG of the customized print plate that can be injected into your slicer software. This means your 3D print previews can show the plate pattern, and thus allow perfect alignment of objects onto the artwork.

Pricing for these custom plates is US$49, with free shipping to Canada and the USA. They expect shipping elsewhere to cost around US$10.

This is a unique service that I’m surprised hasn’t been done previously, so kudos to Ember Prototypes for getting this service up and running. It is certain to be very popular, and as of this writing they seem to be sold out.

I expect they will add additional templates for other equipment as their business grows.

Via Ember Prototypes

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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