Custom Vacuum Chuck

It seems to me that the best table for any 3D printer would be a heated aluminum vacuum chuck. This would allow you to put a piece of PEI on a very flat and conductive vacuum plate. Once the print completes you just turn off the vacuum and remove the plastic and free the part.

Has anyone attempted this? As long as you have a aluminum plate and a mill/CNC making them is pretty straight forward.

I’ve thought about that, the sticking point to making it work in my brain anyways was with the additional mass added to the Y axis. Even a very thin vacuum plate and hose is going to weigh enough to bog a moving plate system down a bit. A fixed plate fully movable XY printhead design could probably utilize that.

I’ve been thinking about an option along those lines using a 5mm thick aluminum plate that would slide into a receiver groove kind of like how a camera flash shoe fits onto a camera, with a quick release latch at the end, but my CNC mill is still not far enough along to let me make one. You could probably make something like that reasonably strong for only a little more than the weight of what the plate would have been without that latch.

As long as you could make something with a similar mass as the glass plate there should be no difference. You could CNC some ribs into it. I would think this plate doesn’t need very deep grooves to make a strong fit. We don’t need the level of adhesion that CNC mills need.

I’d use a some light lubricant on the outer rib which would hopefully make a strong seal. If you could minimize your leaks to last over a 24 hour period you could vacuum it down prior to running it and let it hold the entire run.

What about taking the aluminium plate that currently supports the heat pad and glass. Drill holes into the aluminium plate horizontally (So they would be pretty small) and then come down vertically into the plate from the top to join into the horizontally drilled channels. Tap the edge of the plate for a fitting and hook up a vacuum source. Obviously this will create a few fittings on your build plate but maybe there is a better way?

2 piece build plate that gets screwed together with channels machined into it?

Stratasys , machines have been doing it that way for years. They use a silicone o-ring around the perimeter.