Throw your models a life Raft

In an attempt to make something practical with the new Da Vinci printer, I thought I’d give building this PCB vise a go. Initial thoughts were that this would be quick and simple to make, at last count, there has been over 15,000 downloads of this design. If that many people can make it, it can’t be that difficult?

Difficult not entirely so, frustrating, yes. During this process, many things have been learnt.

It has taken five attempts at printing the vise grips to finally get a complete print. The major hurdle has been the small gripper teeth on the grips. When the print initially begins, small ‘islands’ are required. As the print’s layers build up, they catch the print head, tear off the base and the print is ruined.

No amount of glue or adjusting the clearance between the print head and the base has helped. I’ve even manually set the bed clearance to what seems an ideal value of 0.2mm using feeler gauges.

Pads have pulled off the print bed

Perhaps some more glue will help? Nope.

more glue yet pads still tear off print bed

There were a couple more attempts that all failed. Out of frustration, I let the print continue, thinking that I might be able to salvage something and fix it by hand.

Failed print of grippers

This amount of damage is too difficult to fix. As I learnt, it is best just to get it right in the first place.

Despite what the instructions said that ” they were printed (all the components) without a raft or support for minimum cleanup”. Well, I caved and decided to learn what rafts and supports provide on the Da Vinci.

print dialogue showing Raft selected

And this is the result,

Sliced grippers with supporting raft

Underneath the model, a “fine” matrix of plastic is laid to provide a bed of material for the model to be built from. All the small gripper teeth islands are fused to the raft and the model is able to be built.

Successful grippers showing raft beneath

Success! There will be cleanup required, but there is now some progress.

If your models, have multiple small pads or require a secure footing to support a tall narrow print, consider implementing a raft to give your model the support to get started and save you some frustration.

For more ways to improve your Da Vinci prints, check out the Tips and Tricks page.

2 thoughts on “Throw your models a life Raft

  1. At this time I’m amazed that anyone can get anything to stick to that bed, because I sure can’t, even after calibrating to 240/240/240 and applying glue. The only way I’ve had any great success so far is by using blue painters tape on the bed. I just printed off a few of those levelling nuts and getting them off of the blue tape was difficult. That said, this time I’ve got glue on the bed and blue tape on top of the glue. No glue on the top of the tape though. The main issue I’ve had so far is ABS prints wanting to warp and pulling the tape up off the print bed – hence why I’m trying it with glue under the tape at the moment, which seems to be working so far.

    Thanks for your useful posts as well regarding the various aspects of the printer. I am planning to try putting a pot in series with the bed thermistor to see if I can get it to raise the bed temperature (I’d like to see if printing ABS is easier on this printer with a hotter bed (and the proprietary cartridge filament).


  2. I have 4 f these printers on Repetier. The only glue stick to use is Elmer’s Extreme. It’s white (not blue!) like all the cheap glue sticks but actually works. Nothing I’ve ever tested is better.


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