One of the main issues for consumer FFF (fused filament fabrication, also known as FDM) 3D printers is the adhesion of the object to the build plate, in order to keep the part fixed during the printing process and to avoid the warping, a common issue when printing with ABS.
So far, the most common methods are using blue tape, Kapton tape or some 'special' glue on the build-plate's surface to keep the first layer strongly bonded to the print bed. Some of them are tedious, ineffective for some materials, expensive or extremely effective leading to broken parts when detaching the prints from the bed.
A Spanish company called Dima 3D has launched a new 'smart' adhesive for 3D printers that addresses many of these issues very effectively. The Dimafix is an adhesive that offers a strong bond between the first layer and the build plate when the bed is heated -above 60 ºC (140 ºF)- while becoming completely powerless at low temperatures –usually below 60 ºC.
The company has sent us a sample to make an independent test and that's the review we are releasing today.
The adhesive comes as an spray, all we have to do is shake the bottle, spray the build plate's surface, wait for the product to dry -just a few seconds- and we can start the print.
The characteristics highlighted on the website are:
- Strong bond during printing
- Suitable for all types of materials
- Avoid warping
- Once printed, the piece will detach automatically
- Easy to clean, the product is water soluble
- Each bottle allows more than 100 uses
- Recommended for printing on heated beds.
Depending on the object we want to 3D print, we'll need a differente bed temperature:
- < 65 ºC -> No adhesion, the objects can be detached from the plate.
- 65 - 75 ºC -> Average adherence, for simple geometries.
- 75 - 95 ºC -> High adherence, for complex geometries and lengthy prints.
- > 95 ºC -> Very high adherence, for very complex geometries and very lengthy prints.
The company offers comprehensive information and instructions on its website to help us, including some videos and a very interesting technical paper where the warping is analyzed.
We have chosen an object slightly different from the typical trapezoid, just to make it a bit less boring. The 'Octopus Magnet' we found on thingiverse is ideal for this purpose. The tentacles have a strong tendency for warping and after the test we'll have a funny octopus for the magnetic board.
We have made four tests at several print bed temperature: 60, 70, 80 and 85 ºC.
The first one at 60 ºC, which is below the minimun recommended temperature, performed just as described in the website: 'No adhesion', therefore, there was no printing as the first layer did not get bonded to the bed.
The second one, at 70 ºC, went ok for a while, but some tentacles began to detach from the build plate. As long as the octopus can be considered a complex geometry this was the expected behaviour.
For the third print we set the print bed at 80 ºC. The first layer got strongly bonded to the plate. Unfortunately we had to stop the print in the middle -for another reason- but we kept the bed temperature for an hour and the piece was perfectly bonded to the plate for that time.
Finally, a fourth test at 85 ºC was completely succesful. The octopus kept bonded for the whole printing process, without any warping at all. Once the print finished, we waited for the bed temperature to lower below 60 ºC and it was practically loose.
After the tests, we can say the Dimafix did exactly what expected, a strong adhesion with high temperatures and virtually no adhesion at low temperatures.
We find it very usefull when it comes to print with ABS or any other material that needs to be printed with a heated bed. In the case of PLA there are other options that can work well without a heated bed.
Another positive point is the ease of cleaning the bed and the object just with a damp cloth, without the need for solvents.
Regarding the price, the Dimafix is priced at about 10 euros ($11.5), that means around 10 cents for every print as the company says it lasts for roughly 100 uses.