Guide: Heated bed thermistor mounting done properly!Articles . Blog
So in my early days of 3D printing, heated
beds were still kind of a new thing and for example attaching a thermistor to the bed
was still something you basically had to figure out on your own. So in this video, i’m going
to show you the E3D-like way of attaching a thermistor to an aluminum bed, which i’ve
found to be the most reliable and most accurate way of doing it.
So again, E3D-like, means the exact same way the E3D v6 attaches a thermistor. Some people
hate that, i know, but if you do it right once, you’ll never have to do it again.
In my case, i’ve got a PEI # coated 4mm aluminum bed here that Sven Krause made for
me, i put a link to his Facebook page in the description, that dude is crazy. What’s
going to be heating this 16 by 16cm slab of aluminum is a 200W silicone heater, powered
from 12V to be drop-in compatible to my big Mendel90. At that wattage, i’d usually recommend
using an SSR, but i know my printer can handle it.
For this process, you’ll need a 1.5 or 2mm as well as a 2.5mm drill bit, an M3 tapping
set, a short M3 screw with a flat or # cap head, an M3 washer as well as the thermistor,
in this case the classic Semitec one, and some glass fiber sleeving from E3D. On the
bottom where the heater is going to sit, the aluminum bed has a 5 or 6mm wide area on the
side that is not covered by the silicone heater, that’s what we want to use. If you’re
really feeling lucky, you could also install it sideways into the aluminum plate to save
you a bit of space. The two holes, one for the thermistor’s head, the other for the
clamping screw, should be as closely together as you can get them without actually turning
them into a single one. Typically, that means 3mm from center to center. The blind hole
for the thermistor should be as deep as possible without actually going all the way through,
what i did here was to have it 2mm large most of the way down to give the sleeving a bit
of extra space and then drill the last bit with 1.5mm to give the thermistor a good fit.
The center hole for the M3 thread needs to be drilled to 2.5mm, but it’s a good idea
to drill a smaller pilot hole first, which helps in getting the hole to the exact size.
Add a bit of lubrication, cutting oil or, if you don’t have anything else on hand,
WD40 also works well enough, and cut the thread, preferably with a three-part set, which, compared
to a one-piece tap, are much easier to use and just seem last forever. Deburring the
holes, especially the one for the thermistor is kind of important to keep the glass fiber
sleeving for fraying; of course you # should be using a countersink for this, but a slightly
larger drill bit is going to do the job almost as well.
Now grab your thermistor, cut two pieces of glass fiber sleeving to length, slide them
over, and to get this next part right, you might need to need to get a bit creative.
Since this hole is shallower than the one in the E3D v6, it’s even harder to get the
sleeving in there properly while bending the legs over. So don’t worry if you don’t
get the sleeving all the way up to the head on the first try, just get it as close as
possible, pay attention to the head getting a good fit and tighten down the M3 screw until
it hold the thermistor in place nicely, but not so much that you can’t slide the glass
fiber around anymore. Then grab a pointy tool, a pair of tweezers, or in my case, the tip
of a utility knife, and shove that glass fiber sleeving into the hole as much as you can,
just don’t break the thermistor’s legs off in the process. Then screw down that M3
screw all the way, and try to keep the thermistor’s legs together in the process. By the way,
if you want to, you could also use some non-conductive thermal grease for the thermistor’s head,
but i’ve found that tends to make more of mess than actually helping with accuracy.
Finally, check for shorts from the thermistor’s legs to the aluminum plate, if only one side
is shorted to the bed, it’s not going to cause any issues immediately, but might give
you a headache in the long run, so in that case i’d recommend refitting the thermistor
just to make sure. To connect the thermistor, you can directly solder wires to it and add
a bit of heat shrink, the thermistor’s legs never get warm anyway.
Now, because people keep asking about this, yes the silicone beds come with an adhesive.
Just make sure the bed is clean and just stick that genuine 3M adhesive on there. Make sure
the bulge for the wires does get good contact, that likes to get loose. The big orange cable
is also a good spot to zip-tie the thermistor’s wires to to give them a bit of extra strain
relief. And that’s it, i’ve probably made this
video a bit longer than it needed to be, but i hope there’s info extra bit of information
in there to make it worthwhile. Let me know in the comments what your own perfect thermistor
mounting solution looks like; subscribe and like this video if you did, and if you want
to support my channel, maybe even use the ebay and amazon affiliate links for your christmas
shopping sprees, which would support my channel with a small percentage of what revenue ebay
or amazon make with extra cost to you. Thanks for watching, see you all in the next
Written by Brian Rohrer
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