Is a Heated Print Bed Needed? Currently, there are a large amount of 3D printers that offer a heated print bed or offer a choice to upgrade to one.
On the other hand, there are 3D printers that do not, and claim that heated print beds are not needed. Heated and non-heated print beds each have their advantages.
Custom 3d printers are good for many different needs. Many 3d print beds can help you with more successful prints To get a good 3d print you will need to have a heated print bed.
The Price Difference Between
A Heated Bed and Non Heated Bed
While there are some very high end and expensive 3D printers which do not offer a heated print bed as default, it is much more likely to find a budget, low cost 3D printer without one.
Not including a heated bed allows for companies to deliver a lower 3d printer price than normal, without compromising quality in other areas. While heated 3d beds do serve a purpose for certain functions, 3D printers without a heated bed makes 3D printers accessible to a wider amount of people at a more affordable price point.
Heated Print Bed Pricing
Heated beds do increase the price of a 3D printer, but in some cases, the cost can be a minimal amount compared to the filament that could be saved because of the improved reliability.
Since most of the available filaments perform better with a heated bed, the price difference between 3D printers with a heated bed is often worth the price increase. Additionally, even if a heated bed is not needed for a certain filament, the user can always turn off the heated bed in the software settings. The heated print bed only adds a minimal electricity cost, depending on the materials and components which are used to construct and create the bed.
Capabilities of a Non-Heated Bed
The main filament that could be used on a 3D printer without a heated print bed is PLA. PLA can be printed without warping, but it may take some alterations and perfection to the print settings to achieve desired results.
Another filament that can be printed on a 3D printer without a heated print bed is certain nylons. There are some nylon filaments that only require a glue stick to hold the print down, but many nylons will warp without a heated print bed. Some flexible filaments also can be printed without a heated bed.
Capabilities of a Heated Bed
3D printers that have a heated bed can print a much larger range of materials. Even though PLA can be printed without a heated print bed, a heated bed could improve the quality of the results, while minimizing warping. Without any question, ABS needs a the print surface to be heated.
Without a heated 3d bed, it would warp uncontrollably and could potentially even pull itself off the bed completely. This particular situation could lead to a melted mess and wasted filament. For ABS, a heated bed allows for the print to cool at an even pace, which combats the natural characteristic of ABS to warp.
Additional filaments that are compatible with a heated bed are most nylons, flexible filaments, and polycarbonates. Most nylons use the combination of a slightly heated bed with an adhesion booster such as a glue stick, Kapton tape, or another specialty adhesion technique to stick to the 3d bed.
Polycarbonates also need a heated bed, usually requiring the bed to reach high temperatures, as polycarbonate is one of the strongest materials available to a desktop printer but is also one of the most challenging. Finally, heated beds allow for the exploration of unique specialty filaments that might not be very common. Many materials need or print better with a heated bed, depending on the filament.
Non Heated vs Heated Bed General Comparison
Non Heated Bed
- Lower price point
- Less complication involved with software settings
- Basic filaments, such as PLA, are supported
Heated Print Bed
- Software settings allow for the heated print bed to be set to a specific temperature
- Heated bed compatibility with filaments are only limited by the filaments that need to be printed above the temperature the print bed can reach (rare).
- Large amounts of filaments supported
As shown in the comparison, heated print beds are not needed for basic filaments such as PLA, but a heated bed allows for more capabilities and filaments supported. Even if the potential 3D printer user does not believe they will use it for more than PLA, a heated bed allows for the option of using other filaments available. Additionally, a heated bed could save many hours of time and rolls of filament from being wasted. Aside from these things if a user only will use a 3D printer for PLA and is looking for a less expensive 3D printer, a 3D printer without a heated print bed could suffice. Whether the print bed is heated of not, be sure to check the material of the print surface. PLA will stick to most materials, but if planning on trying to print more advanced filaments, ensure the print surface is best suited for the filament that will be constantly used.
No matter what the intended use, a heated bed is always beneficial. If the printer has a heated bed, the filament compatibility is not as limited.
The print bed temperature relies on other 3D printer factors, such as the extruder temperature. Still, a 3D printer without a heated print bed could produce great results and be perfect for hobby use, so just because a printer does not have a heated bed, it is not necessarily a problem.
The 3D printer may even offer an upgrade attachment which can be installed on the printer. Whether a heated print bed is on the 3D printer or not, the 3D printer can be an amazing machine which can create long lasting, fun, and functional parts.