Print surfaces have been a major part of 3D printer development and experimentation since the beginning. [Makers Muse] has been experimenting with G10, a cheap high-pressure fiberglass laminate, and found that it’s an excellent candidate for most of your FDM printing needs. (Video embedded after the break.)
You’re probably more familiar with the fire-resistant version of G10, FR-4, the fiberglass substrate used for most PCBs. It’s also known by the brand name Garolite. [Makers Muse] tested with PLA, PETG (on his headphone build), ABS, ASA, PET, PCTG, and nylon. All the materials displayed excellent bed adhesion when heated to the appropriate temperature, and would often self-release the part as it cooled down. For TPU, the bed was left unheated to prevent it from sticking too well. 0.5 mm, 1.5 mm, and 3 mm G10 sheet thicknesses were tested, and [Makers Muse] found 1.5 mm to be the perfect balance between rigidity, and flexibility for removing particularly sticky prints.
G10 has been used in some commercial 3D printers, but there is very little information regarding its use beyond high-temperature materials like nylon. It leaves an excellent surface finish on the bottom of parts, as long as you take care not to scratch the bed. Compared to glass, its lower weight is advantageous for printers where the bed moves for the Y-axis. Another major advantage is the low cost, especially compared to some of the more exotic bed materials.
The results certainly look very promising, and we are keen to get our hands on some G10 for our own printers. If you have trouble finding it for sale, check out your local knife-making suppliers, who sell it as handle materials.