Support Tip: Clean the Build Tray

Recommended Supplies:

Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning Supplies

— sponge with abrasive nylon scrubbing surface (ex: Scotch-brite).

— clean cloth

— compressed cleaning air

— isopropyl alcohol (91% alcohol recommended)

This applies to both the PEI and new 3ntr Diamond print surfaces.

Both Diamond build trays and older PEI sheet build trays are reusable for thousands of parts without the use of special coatings, sprays or tape.
To maintain the easy release of printed parts, it may be necessary to return the surface to original performance levels. Each time a part is printed and removed, some exchange of polymer happens. Each time the print surface is handled or left out in the environment outside the printer, or in the printer when it goes unused, dust and oils may accumulate on the surface.
These events tend to degrade the ability of the surface to hold part rafts to the build tray while printing and may make it more difficult to remove parts.
The solution is a quick refinish and clean to restore the surface to it’s optimal performance.

Below is a PEI surface with some dust and oil from handling.

Build tray to clean
PEI surface with some dust and oil from handling.

Remove dust with a blast with compressed air. Compressed air cans such as the type for computer dusting work well. If using shop air from a compressor, be aware that the air supply may contain oil and water unless the system is filtered.

PEI build surface
PEI build surface cleared of dust.

Next wipe the surface down firmly with alcohol. High percentage isopropyl alcohol is most effective. Water is also a light solvent, and the combination of over 90% alcohol and water can be more effective than alcohol alone is. 70% or less stuff may leave a residue on the build tray. Rubbing alcohol from a grocery store or drug store works well.

PEI build tray with alcohol
PEI build tray with alcohol

After the dust removal and alcohol wipe down, the result should be a fairly clean surface.

PEI build tray cleaned
PEI build tray cleaned
PEI build tray ready for second wipe down.

Follow that up with a second alcohol wipe down to remove grit and left over Scotch Brite. Notice the changed look in the circle. This shine is one way to determine that the surface is reconditioned.

PEI build tray with second alcohol wipe down.
PEI build tray with second alcohol wipe down.

The final result should be a matte, uniform surface that is ready for printing.

PEI build tray with final clean appearance
PEI build tray with final clean appearance

Plural recommends wiping the print bed down prior to each print job. Use alcohol and give it a quick wipe with a clean cloth. Some shop type cloth towels may work just fine too. A cloth can be washed and used again and again.

A paper towel is not recommended. Paper can leave fibers behind.
Fit the print bed back into the printer. If bed heat is being used, then heat the bed to evaporate all the cleaning fluid and continue heating to proper temperature.
Cleaning the build tray is a great task to perform during your pre-job print nozzle purge operations.