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Ultimaker original heated bed upgrade - what are the benefits?

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So for a few years now i have been printing on blue tape, and using medical alcohol to help prints stay stuck down.

I keep eying up the heated bed upgrade, but for the price, i could buy an entire cheap 3D printer from Ebay!

so what is the benefit of a heated bed upgrade, i dont use my printer too much, but is a heated bed really enough of a step up to bite.

my main reason for wanting it is actually having a better print bed, as my original print bed has slipped a little bit, making leveling it tricky (the screws on the front are as loose as they can go, while at the back they are super tight!)

So my question is very vague, and im really trying to get back into 3D printing, so is the heated bed worth it?

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It's hard to answer if it's worth it for you since like you said, you could buy a printer for that price. However I can tell you the advantages having used a UMO for a while and then a UMO+ for a short while before going to UM2.

The UM2 and UMO+ has the same platform so the user experience is pretty much the same except that the UM2 homes on the bottom and the UMO, the top.

The pros:

-MUCH more hands off. If you're printing PLA, it will stick when hot and let go when cold. Which allows you to setup prints back to back without doing anything to the bed. Super convenient, I can't over state this after mucking around with blue tape.

-Makes your bottoms flatter and smoother. If you ever combine prints or halve them, a heated bed will make the seam MUCH smaller since the edges will be less warped and surface flatter.

-Glass is very flat. Which makes it easier to level.

-3 point leveling instead of 4 point via thumb screws. a HUUUGGEE improvement over the UMO leveling. And no accidental crushing of your hex driver while trying to level as it prints.

-Much more solid flatform than the UMO

-new z-screw

-Heated bed expands your material options.

Basically it makes the whole z-stage into a UM2 z-stage. which is very handy and nice. I think if you're looking to not mess with your tape anymore, a heated glass bed is the way to go. The ONLY thing that glass is not as good for is very small footprint tall prints. Tape + alcohol is still the best option for that. And you can still do that by applying tape to the glass.

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Hi

As Valcrow states, the pros for a heated bed are many...

I have an UMO as well, which I after a year or so started to take apart completely and heavily modify. Amongs those mods are a heated bed, and I have not looked back since.

Now, this was back before the official Heatbed upgrade was announced, and I spent a lot of time researching how to best (and cheapest) do my own.

The main problem with the UMO is that its power supply is not strong enough to pull both printer and a typical ~100W heated bed.

Second the mosfets for the heatbed output as well as the boards main Vin port are not rated for the currents that a good heatbed will typically draw, and many people back then reported that these components failed when they had tried a heatbed install anyways... Along came the UMO+ and the official upgrade kit for the UMO, and problem solved right?

... Well not quite, as you mentioned yourself, the kit is quite expensive... Luckily, there is no reason why you shouldn't do a homemade upgrade just like people did before the official kit, thereby learning alot of stuff and saving some money...

Sure you don't get a completely new z-stage as with the kit, and you have to mess with stuff yourself. But if that dosn't scare you off, I think its still not a bad way to go.

I'd be happy to point you to some guides here on the forum, as well as tell you the way I went about it.

- Regardless of your choice, I think a heatbed is worth it, it is by far the best upgrade I have done.

Edited by Guest

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I've been printing on blue tape since 2012 and been very happy with adhesion,etc..

When wanted trying Colorfabb XT and HT for stronger functional parts and the tape was useless, i tried Buildtak for XT and it stuck very good, but got warping on huge surface prints, so I got the heated bed upgrade and its like a new printer, the glass surface on parts, nonexistent warping was worth it for me, it its expensive but you get pretty much half a new printer with the kit, new z motor, new leadscrew, metal platform, 3 point leveling.

For pla prints only I would maybe just used Buildtak, but printing machine and robot parts in XT with good dimentional accuracy was worth it.

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Especially if you say your Ultimaker is due to some maintenance I think it is definitely something you should consider. For me it was a huge improvement in the hands off experience. Before I had installed the heated bed I kinda had to level the bed every print or at least stick around for the first few layers to see how it goes. Which is not always an issue since I love to watch that first layer anyway, but if you are in a hurry it can be an inconvenience.

The entire Z-stage is far more rigid and easier to level. Some glue is all you need in most of the cases, so no more messing with the blue tape, trying to get your print off.. tearing some blue tape at the last minute.. re-applying the tape, the band is just a little bit thinner.. etc. We have all been there ;)

Bringing your Ultimaker Original to new heights sounds like a better investment to me than buy a cheap new 3D printer which probably would require tinkering, modding and maintenance as long as you use it...

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I've had the UMO Heated Bed Upgrade for some time now.

Yes, price is always a consideration...but this one is a good upgrade.

Pros:

- That smooth finish!

- Vastly easier bed leveling

- It's from Ultimaker, so you know it'll work!

- Much improved Z motor

- You're able to print materials that would be difficult/impossible on an unheated bed

Cons:

- Yes, price...but again, well worth it

- Make sure the platform cover doesn't rub on the back of the printer! (Mine does, no impact to print quality...but check this before you put everything together!)

I think of my UMO as an investment and adding this upgrade saved me from replacing my printer with one that had a heated bed. You'll have to learn how to use it, like any upgrade (right temp for different material, which to use gluestick with, etc).

Put it this way, since upgrading, I haven't looked back and wished I had bought a cheap Chinese knock off... whose reliability would be questionable, at best :)

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If you are happy with blue tape then stick with it. This worked for many people with great quality for several years including myself. But like power windows and power door locks on a car - once you go heated bed you won't want to go back. One of the biggest advantages it that it keeps level position for months with no adjustments.

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Thanks for all the responses everyone, wow!

The fact that the z stage is more stable, and bed leveling is easier, is a plus all by itself, i have many problems with having to re-level every few prints, and i suspected the heated bed would be more stable.

i also guess the 3 points would be much easier. for too long i adjust the screw at the front right, and the rear left moves!

the idea that the base of the print comes out much smoother is very beneficial for model making, and sticking two halves of parts together.

wow i have so much stuff to do on my list, heated bed, the double fan upgrade recently posted, a heated enclosure (as my old one is now obsolete due to bigger spools) and soundproof enclosure (i hate being a noisy neighbour!) / want to move into 3D hubs!

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I don't think you'll regret the upgrade for the heated bed. It's the kind of thing you later wonder...why didn't I do this earlier?

@Neotko's dual fan upgrade is good too. Be prepared for a fair amount of trial and error as you try to tune the fans. Apparently the fans I bought are used for the vertical lift section of the Lockheed F-35 :) Very powerful! I gave a more detailed overview in the thread for it.

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Hello Tommy1208. Would you be willing to share you heated bed build? UM no longer makes the upgrade kit and I have an opportunity to buy a barely used UM original. Want to see if I have the skill and figure out material cost for a heated bed. Many thanks.

 

Hey, certainly, I'd be glad to help and tell/show you what I did, then you can make up your mind if this is the route you want to go or not... For starters here are a few pictures from my rebuild album:

5a3321920d896_heatedbedbuild.thumb.jpg.1501cadb3f36d0e189aa6c01767e605d.jpg

5a332191e0c94_3-pointleveling.thumb.jpg.72d18024d1863e8dadf4a58f1c019969.jpg

Would you perfer (maybe we should be) moving it to a PM discussion, rather than thread-hijacking?

5a3321920d896_heatedbedbuild.thumb.jpg.1501cadb3f36d0e189aa6c01767e605d.jpg

5a332191e0c94_3-pointleveling.thumb.jpg.72d18024d1863e8dadf4a58f1c019969.jpg

Edited by Guest

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well i bit and went ahead with the official heated bed upgrade, and boy do i regret not buying it earlier! wow! prints come out looking lovely, no more getting the pliers out to remove stubborn items from the blue tape (though the option for blue tape when you need somthing not shiny is still there)

the bed is so level, and really easy to modify now. just love it!

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