One of the most frustrating aspects of 3D printing can come at the very beginning, or the end of the printing process, when it’s either time to remove the object from the build platform, or when the very first layer of filament is extruded onto the platform.
A typical experience, which almost all 3D printing enthusiasts undergo, both new and old, is making sure the first layers stick securely onto the platform. If the first layer does not stick, you might as well cancel the entire print. If you are lucky enough to pass this obstacle without issue, then there are usually two other obstacles which could get in your way of successfully fabricating your 3D print. Once the print is completed, it can be nearly impossible to remove the object from the build platform without damaging either the platform or the object. Then there is the whole process of removing the build plate and trying to reconnect it to the printer without screwing up its calibration.
Two New York based product designers, Viktor Jondal and Peter T. Regonetti, who have a combined 22 years of experience in bringing new products to market, have decided to bring a solution to these 3D printing mishaps, to market via a Kickstarter campaign. The two business partners have unveiled their Fleks3D build plates.
Fleks3D was built in order to give its users the easiest, most uninterrupted, fluid 3D printing experience possible. It is able to accomplish correcting most of the major issues 3D printing enthusiasts run into on a daily basis. These include:
Difficulty in removing the 3D print from the build plate
Fleks3D overcomes this by allowing users to bend the flexible plate. The highly resistant thermoplastic used within the plate can be flexed to a high degree without damage to the plate. A simple flexing motion will pop whatever the user is printing right off of the Fleks3D build plate.
Difficulty in getting an object to stick to the plate during printing
The Fleks3D plate overcomes this often-seen shortfall by using a patent-pending texture on the plate, which makes hairspray, tape and other chemicals unnecessary.
Messing up the leveling of the bed while changing or replacing a plate
The Fleks3D system allows for extremely quick, relatively unintrusive removal and installation of the plate before or after a print. Instead of having a plate which is mechanically attached to the printer, the system uses a permanent frame in which the plates are easily placed into, meaning no more calibration issues.
Fleks3D build plates come in multiple sizes, and will fit pretty much any 3D printer you have. It is important that you order the right size for your printer though. The universal plates come in the following sizes: 6 x 6″, 8 x 8″, and 10 x 10″ There are also two additional plates, one for all MakerBot Replicator 2 machines, and one for MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation machines. Fleks3D is offering their plates to backers starting at just $20, and expects to begin shipping their first orders by December of this year. The company is looking to raise a total of $9,999 by September 18th to begin full production.
Have you backed this project? Let us know your thoughts on this new build plate system in the Fleks3D forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below:
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