June 16, 2017

1055 words 5 mins read

Howto: Glass Bed Upgrade for the Monoprice Maker Select v2

One of the most commonly recommended upgrades I’ve found (For all printers) is switching to a glass bed (Technically tempered Borosilicate). While it is not a hard nor expensive upgrade, it can be a bit time consuming. Since your bed is very important to the print process, this shouldn’t be something to rush, so I’d recommend at least two hours to complete (not including print time). Please note that the process here should work just fine for the Wanhao Duplicator i3 and similar series printers however you may need to verify what the correct glass size is.

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Step 1 — Buy the parts:
8 * M3 * 20 mm bolts
8 * M3 nuts
1 * Glass bed sized 213x200x3mm
1 * Thermal Pad — 145 x 145 x 0.5 mm
Step 2 — Print 4 Corner Clamps
I strongly recommend you print these in ABS or PETG, I prefer the latter. PLA will likely be deformed by high bed temperatures.
Step 2a (Optional) — Print 4 Spring Guides
Some online forums swear by these things, I'm not entirely sure. But they are small parts, print fast and you already have to take everything apart — so you might as well install these at the same time.
Step 3 — Wait for everything to cool COMPLETELY.
You probably printed out your clamps and guides then want to promptly use said upgrades... don't. For safety sake, wait until the bed is 100% cool. No trips to the ER, ok?
Step 4 — Assemble your clamps
While waiting for everything to cool down, slide the nuts into the center of the clamps, then start to screw the bolts in.
Step 5 — Remove the thumb wheels
Simple enough, just loosen the thumb wheels until they fall off the bolt & put them somewhere safe.
Step 6 — Lift bed & remove springs
Remember that your bed is wired in so it cannot move very far. Put the springs somewhere safe.
Step 7 — Remove nut & spacer on bed bolts
One of the allen (hex) keys that shipped with the printer fit these bolts however I needed a needle nose pliers on the nut to get everything unstuck. Watch out for the red spacer too, it's small and easily lost.
Step 8 — Install bed clamps
Now that you've taken it all apart, you can put it back together. The order from top to bottom: Bed, clamp, red spacer, nut
Step 9 — Screw it all back together
Make it snug, but not too tight. If you over torque, you will break the printed clamp
Step 10 — Add spring guide to spring
If you haven't already, put the guides on the springs.
Step 11 — Re-install springs
Basically the reverse of step 6, you want to put the springs back in place with spring guide side down.
Step 12 — Compress bed & re-install thumb wheels
This is a tricky step, but I found that if I compressed the bed with 1 hand, I could managed to get the thumb wheel on with the other. If you have someone around, you might want to borrow their hands for this step.
Step 13 — Clean your bed really well
Don't go crazy (most of the 3D printer does not like liquids), but clean your bed. I used some isopropyl alcohol to get it squeaky clean.
Step 14 — Cut & lay out your thermal pad
There is no rhyme or reason to the layout. The thermal pad will not be able to provide 100% coverage and that's not required. You could do just 4 small corner pieces and a center section, or get creative like I did.
Step 15 — Put down your glass bed
This is another tricky step. Clean the bottom of your glass (isopropyl again) before you install it. Try to get it as close to centered as you possibly can, you might need to make a few tries.
Step 16 — Tighten screws until just barely touching
It's really important you don't over tighten the clamp screws. Long before you get them "tight", the clamp will flex (and possibly break). Get them touching the glass and tiny bit more — that's it.
Step 17 — Make sure its even all the way around
While the glass is not exactly the same size as your bed (it's fine, it's still larger than the print area) you do want it symmetrical on all sides.
Step 18 — Remove the z-stop
The default "bottom hole" will not be high enough with the several mm of space you've added from the glass and thermal pads.
Step 19 — Move z-stop up 1 hole & re-install
In my case, 1 hole was enough. If you got thicker glass or thermal pads, you might need to go higher.
Step 20 — Clean & Bed Level
Get out that isopropyl again and clean the top of your glass. Complete your standard bed leveling.
Step 21 — Print!
All your prints now will have a very glossy bottom, with proper tuning and slight over-extrusion it will come out looking like injection molded parts.

Now that you’re all done, a few tips/tricks/suggestions:

  • Start by running several z-calibration prints, just like any bed changes.
  • Glass bed temperatures are 10-15 degrees Celsius cooler than what you set. So if you’re going for 60 C bed with PLA, use 85 C instead.
  • Unlike the default, buildtak glass provides nothing for the filament to hold on to. I’d strongly suggest some water based glue sticks.
Overall, I’m happy with my upgrade. It was an interesting project and not that complicated. However I would note that unless you need “finished-product” quality prints, you might be best to avoid the glass bed. Supposedly PLA will stick with a hot enough bed but that has not been my experience. While the glass does heat more evenly than metal, the adhesion issues can be extremely annoying. The first time I tried to print baby groot, I ended up losing the print after 30 minutes because bits started to come off the bed. Once I started using glue for all the prints, my baby groot came out just fine.