Build plate can affect the quality of your print.
In this quick reference guide, let's discuss magnetic vs polypropylene build plate, and we will cover the pros and cons of each type.
Before Any Print
The quality of a 3D printed object starts with a good first layer build, and that requires:
- Good bed adhesion
- Valid part design
- Leveled bed
- Surface well prepared for part removal at the end of the printing process
Note: A perfect printer & accessories can't produce a good part without valid part design or proper preparation
The main difference between magnetic and polypropylene are:
- Bed temperature
- 1st layer adhesion
- Ease of part removal
- Methods of cleaning
Magnetic VS Polypropylene Build Plate Property Comparison
Magnetic build plate - They conduct material based on the magnetic material found on the bottom of the build plate. Some magnetic build plate heats up to around 80 °C, while others can go up to as high as 150 °C. So, the temperature allowance really depends on the specific magnetic build plate that you buy, and it's highly recommended to stick with the manufacturer's bed temperature spec to avoid melting issues
Polypropylene build plate - Polypropylene build plate is plastic, and it generally have a maximum temperature of around 110-120 °C. Over heating can result in irreversible deformation
1st Layer Adhesion
The 1st layer is the most important step of the print, and the main thing is to have the part stay sticked to the surface as the rest of the layers are built.
Magnetic build plate have great sticking performance with PLA, and requires glue or painter's tape to ensure proper sticking.
Polypropylene build plate has a much smoother surface for PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, PC, and other flexible materials. In many ways polypropylene offers better 1st layer adhesion even without extra adhesive prep or after continued use.
No glue stick and hairspray required
It's lighter and flatter than glass making it an ideal replacement for stock build surfaces for most filament types
For 1st layer adhesion preparation, you might have heard about Skirt, Brim & Raft, click here to learn more
Ease Of Part Removal
When most users pay attention to the 1st layer adhesion, but often people forget to consider how easy it will be to remove the part off the plate at the end of the printing process.
Magnetic build plate is generally great for PLA, but slightly harder to remove ABS and PETG materials. But overall, magnetic build plate is removable from the printer, and makes the removal process easier away from the main printer.
Be careful and gentle when popping off a print. Any aggressive removal could cause the bed to have unwanted bends and possibly even a crack.
Polypropylene build plate is much easier to remove the part. The semi-flexibility of the polypropylene allows you to bend the bed a little and pop the part off the plate.
Magnetic build plate - It just works without any issue. Heats up without degauss, and it's Wear-resistant, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, hand-sweat resistant, can be used repeatedly
Polypropylene build plate - Can be easily scratch since it's made of thermoplastic, and it can warp due to constant use and heat exchange
Methods Of Cleaning
For both types of build plates, clean off the leftover adhesive is always a good idea to ensure a clean plate for every print
Magnetic build plate - Use rubbing or cleaning alcohol to clean the bed surface. Try acetone to dissolve any leftover plastic materials before the next print
Polypropylene build plate - Cleaning is easily done with glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Do not using acetone could deform thermoplastic almost immediately.
Both options are both relatively inexpensive
Polypropylene build plate runs about $20ish. Mamorubot makes some good ones