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Solution for being unable to buy un-warped garolite to print nylon on

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Garolite LE is a great surface for printing nylon on, but in practice it's hard to buy sheets of a thickness appropriate for printing (e.g. 1/4") that are not hopelessly warped. The 1/4" sheet I order from McMaster Carr was warped at least 1/16" in two directions (dome-shaped).

After trying a couple alternate surfaces and not being entirely happy with any of them I came up with a solution for printing on garolite that I've been printing on for several months and am extremely happy with.

What I did was get a 3/8" sheet of glass cut to the size of my bed, a 1/32" sheet of garolite from McMaster cut to the same size, and some sheet adhesive (I used Killer Humgo Adhesive because I got a 3-sheet pack for cheap) to glue them together.

The 1/32" sheet of garolite is flexible enough that it doesn't matter if it comes warped, and once it's glued to the sheet of glass it has a very consistent thickness. The thickness of my glass-garolite sandwich is consistent to 0.01 mm or so.

I use binder clips to affix to to the bed and a spacer (the same thickness as the glass-garolite combo) on top of the z-stop trigger to offset the additional thickness.


Even buying the glass and adhesive the the total cost was about the same amount as buying 1/4" garolite to begin with.

Garolite + glass print bed for Nylon


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I pretty much came to the same setup. I bonded my thin Garolite sheet to a 1/4" thick sheet of precision Mic6 aluminum plate using contact cement. Then, to get it really flat, I machined it. It can be re-machined, as necessary, to freshen the build surface when it gets too potmarked and chipped under tough to remove sections of parts.

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garolite is a phenol formaldehyde resin impregnated into layer of fabric (cotton or linen) or layers of paper... garolite LE being a linen based version.

in the UK, australia, south africa and most of europe the equivalent product to LE is Tufnol Whale.... tufnol being the brand name of cotton / linen / paper versions.... paxolin being a paper only brand.... all originate in the victorian era.

the only real problem(s) are that, by specification, these products are NOT uniform in thickness and NOT specified as flat.... in fact I include the official "flatness" specifications

The below table is the maximum deviation from flat over a distance of 1000mm using a straight edge.

Sheet Thickness Variation

1.6mm to 3mm up to 18mm

3mm to 6mm up to 10mm

6mm to 8mm up to 8mm

over 8mm up to 6mm

this describes a sheet that naturally domes in the center.... thickness is "usually" fairly precise.

I like the idea of glueing the sheet to glass (glass is a phenomenal engineering material) and aluminium is a good idea....... thin composite sheet and thick very rigid sheet seems great.

composites machine easily and it is easy to "flat" the sheet to improve flatness and adhesion........ however, nylon extrudes best on a high temperature bed and preferably a hot enclosure... and hot phenol formaldehyde is an unpleasant smell (it improves after many uses) and it releases formaldehyde from the resin... formaldehyde is a nasty poison so well ventilate it.

I speak (of formaldehyde) from experience as I have bee seriously ill from phenol and formaldehyde poisoning for 30yrs... my equipment is in a fully enclosed polycarbonate case with recirculating fan passing through a carbon filter to remove the poisons (one day I'll post it on here)... it seems to work well

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