Polycarbonate printing on FYSETC textured sheet review
Up until now, I have had no end of trouble printing polycarbonate, well, not so much printing, but adhesion issues.
I have tried various surfaces and had mixed results, which when the PC sticks, it ends up destroying the surface.
Buildtac black basically welds itself to the surface, gluestick application is a nightmare, adhesive PEI sheets also end up becoming lifted, decorators tape, also lifts, bare metal does not work period, whatever spray, glue etc you use and I have one PRUSA textured sheet which I don't want to ruin by using a gluestick then washing the residue away since the PRUSA sheet has exposed steel!. You can see the PEI as the raised slightly yellowed texture, but between the ridges, that is steel, which if left wet, will rust, not only that, when trying bare steel in my tests, nothing would make PC stick to it, so straight away, there is reduced grip available.
I’ve only used the glue stick that came with the Prusa PC filament, no problems with it.
And the textured sheet. I clean it all the time with hot water and dish washing soap. Never had one rust on me, at least not before it outlived its useful lifetime.
So, after trying and destroying various build surfaces, I came across a FYSETC textured sheet which I ordered.
First thing I noticed is that the coating 100% covers the underlying steel sheet and goes around the edges resulting in smooth coated edges so the sheet will not scratch the heated bed, It's slightly thicker than the PRUSA sheet, but still flexible, so how does it print?
Without anything, the PC does not stick, so nothing new here, with hairspray, again, no good, so it was time to try the gluestick which up until now was so messy and inconsistent applying to everything I tried before, but this sheet!, wow, it glides on smooth and evenly, how I don't understand, but it works perfectly, then bring it up to temperature and allow to dry and it goes semi clear.
Printing, it sticks perfectly, nothing goes wrong, then even when cold it is still stuck quite well, much stronger than PETG for instance, but it does pop off leaving a white outline where the gluestick layer has seperated.
And now because the sheet is fully coated, I just wash the remaining glue residue off with hot water and a paper towel, give it a wipe with some dry paper and have a surface as good as new ready to be re-used again. No lifted material, no damage and easy to use.
Wish I had found this ages ago.
So some time later....
PC doesn't stick well enough to this to be able to leave prints unattended, I've had too many prints come loose, but this is mainly due to the warping (Shrinking) of the PC as the layers increase, I'm almost giving up trying to use PC to print, it's just not for me and it is not possible to get a flat base unless the print is very thin (Not many layers high).
I can get away with a single part, but multiple parts allow too much cooling time for each part which results in shrinkage.
Think I'll stick to PETG.
Maybe if I ever complete my enclosure I may give it another go.
My recommendation is to not be lulled into to complacency. Alway use a release agent link a glue stick. PC and PC Blend will eventually weld itself to any surface you print on.
So true. And "eventually" may very well be "once". As in the one time I forgot to put glue stick on with PC Blend...
@Chocki - which filament are you using?
It's Prusa PC blend in black, and it is not sticking to this sheet, the glue stick helps, but without it, adhesion is poor to none.
It seems PC either fuses with whatever you are printing on or does not stick at all.
And printing short cylindrical parts causes the sides to bulge or shrink on depending on what is inside, so printing straightish sides is not possible.
It's OK for some parts but not all, really depends on what you are trying to print, the parts I am printing have to be really strong so I am using a min of 4 perimiters, 5 base Layers and a 50‰ infill.
Sorry to hear about these problems. I'm no expert as I've been at this for less than a year, so I can only relay my limited experience. I've used both PC Blend and Polymax, only on the smooth Prusa PEI sheet. I've always used the glue stick that Prusa supplies with the PC Blend as a release agent. I do not have an enclosure but my printer is located in a very small room (a large closet to be honest), draft free and the air temp does rise a little bit during printing. I have had warping issues so I normally use a wide brim and on some parts I bump up the bed temp to the max allowed. If I need a thick perimeter I use a 0.6mm nozzle.
Regarding adhesion, I have noticed that these filaments are very sensitive to the first layer height, so I always do the 'live Z adjust' (which can give a different value to PLA/PETG). I also noticed air bubbles in the clear Polymax that were caused by moisture, so I put that one in the dehydrator before using it. I think PC Blend is better in this regard, but is something else to try.
I'd like to set up an enclosure too, to try to get rid of the warping of some parts. I'd only do it if I can move all the electronics outside and that looks like a pain so I keep putting that off.
The PC Blend is still my favourite 'engineering' filament for what I am doing, where I need structural/functional parts, so worth persevering.
I'll try putting it in the dehydrator for a few hours and see if this helps, up until now I've been using one of those FYSETC reel heaters and holders set to 55 Deg C and to be fair there is no steaming or popping or curling of the extruded filament when it leaves the nozzle, so I presume there is not enough moisture in it to cause issues, but, I have never tried drying the PC blend yet.
Ultimately I probably need to build myself an enclosure.
@cwbullet - what air temp is required to avoid warping? I may need an enclosure myself at some point, as this is still an issue with some parts.