Ender 5 – Flexible Build Plate

The stock magnetic flexible build plate on the Ender 5 works OK but the print surface was giving me trouble with respect to adhesion. The prints would fail because they would dislodge in the middle of printing and create a mess. Adding ABL was the first step to remedy this issue for proper build plate calibration and a solid first layer followed by a couple of simple to do modifications that not only fixed my adhesion issues but also resulted in a really cool textured build surface.

Glue Sticks

Depending on the material it is often times necessary to use some printing glue. I found that once I started using the textured build plates the need for glue reduced a great deal. I would still recommend having some on hand in the event you have issues with adhesion. .

Magigoo Pen – an All-in-One Adhesive for 3D Printing, 1,67 fl.oz

But then I watched this review from Teaching Tech that demonstrated the effects of the textured build plates. This is probably one of the best upgrades I made to my printer and it was also probably one of the easiest.

The supplier mentioned in the video was constantly out of stock so I ended up buying an EzFlex system from the 3dstudio. This system is fantastic. I rarely use the glue sticks. I just clean the textured plate off with some Isopropyl alcohol and hit print. In fact, I have gotten a bit lazy. With the reduced glue usage I don’t really need to clean the build plates between prints that often.

Consistent Build Plate Temperature

When using a heated build plate, you need to check that the correct temperature is used. This ensures that the first layer(s) of the print stay warm and won’t contract due to cooling. Using the correct build plate temperature has a lot to do with your slicer settings and the filament often has a recommended hot end and build plate temperature printed right on the spool. Once you have the correct settings it the goal is for those settings to be consistent across the build plate and to most efficiently reach and maintain the temperatures desired. The metal of the build plate conducts heat well from the element but it also loses heat to the ambient air around it. This is where a little insulation comes in handy.

Hotbed Thermal Heating Pad Insulation
Hotbed Thermal Heating Pad Insulation

The installation process is pretty straight forward. you just unscrew the bed and adhere this cork material to the bottom. The following amazon link indicates it is for an Ender 3 but the dimensions of the bed for the Ender 3 and Ender 5 are the same so it works for both.

ILS – 2352353mm Heated Bed Hotbed Thermal Heating Pad Insulation Cotton for Ender-3 3D Printer

Textured Magnetic Flexible Build Plates

OK, now for one of the best mods. Textured build plates. The textured effect of the material gives a really nice finish to the prints. The layers of filament on bed facing side of the print essentially disappear. This works great when printing enclosures or switch plates. At this point I print everything with a textured plate. Not only do you get a cool effect but it actually adheres well to the first layer without the need for glue.

EZFlex System on the Ender 5 w/ Hotbed Pad Insulation

You can see the textured finish on this black display enclosure printed with PETG. You also have to look closer to notice the four screws (one at each corer). The texture not only provides a cool finish but it also hides any cosmetic defects and in this case made the screws blend into the material. In a future post I will discuss how to integrate this touch screen control head to your Ender 5.

Textured display enclosure print (Black PETG) using EZFlex build plates

Note: When I upgraded this flexible build plate surface (to include a stronger magnetic bed and thermal pad) I had also updated my hotend to the Hemera 5 and a custom extruder cooling system. Both of these updates I am sure had positive impacts on my prints. Updating the magnetic bed to include insulation on it’s own is a fantastic update with PLA prints but the hotend made all the difference in the world for me on PETG. Plus, I just like to hack stuff.

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