I recently replaced my China made generic build surface on my Monoprice Duplicator I3 V2 3D printer. First let me say I do not work for GeckoTek and I am not being paid in any way by them for my opinion. The sheet of GeckoTek in this review was purchased by me with my own funds. While considering on what to replace my surface with I caught a review by the JATMN on his YouTube channel. I was very impressed with the review and so I decided to purchase a sheet. GeckoTek is the name of the company and they specialize in hot, cold and magnetic base surfaces for filament such as ABS, PLA, PETG, Nylon, Composites. I have used BuildTak in the past and will discuss the differences in the two surfaces. GeckoTek surfaces come in a wide range of sizes and are easily trimmed to fit your build plate. I bought the 200×210 and didn’t have to trim anything, it fit perfect.
GeckoTek and BuildTak
GeckoTek gives you a very glassy smooth surface when your print is removed, whereas BuildTak prints are textured like that of the BuildTak its self. I have also found that at times I still have to use a glue stick with BuildTak unlike GeckoTek which feels like the parts will be stuck forever. GeckoTek wins hands down when compared to BuildTak, for its ability to yield smooth glass like surfaces.
My New Surface Arrives
GeckoTek sheets arrive in a flat envelope, all you have do is remove your old surface from your printer and apply the GeckoTek to the build plate. Ok well the last part is easy, but removing your old surface can be a pain. You will first need to heat your bed to 50 degrees Celsius, then starting at one corner carefully pull the old sheet from the bed trying not to tear it or leave any of the sticky surface behind. Once you remove it cool your bed and wipe with alcohol to remove any grease or dirt from the build plate which might cause the new GeckoTek sheet to not stick. Once applied, smooth the GeckoTek to remove any air bubbles which could cause humps in your prints. Now you’re ready to print! Well not quite, you still have to level your printer. If you’re not level, prints might not stick or they might stick so good that you can’t remove them without a lot of extra effort. I found that experimenting by allowing the printer to print the first and second layer and then canceling the print worked best for me to determine what the sweet spot was for leveling. I also had to determine a good bed temp and extruder temp (for me 50 degrees Celsius on the bed and 200 degrees Celsius on the extruder) I measured the temperature on the bed and found that the GeckoTek is radiating at +10 degrees Celsius hotter then what you set for your bed temperature.
- When properly leveled prints stick fast
- Leaves a very shiny surface on your first layer (like printing on glass)
- Very easy to install
- Very inexpensive ($19 for a 200x210mm sheet)
- Very durable surface (GeckoTek states that it will last through 100 prints)
- Recommended for printing Nylons
- You cannot use a metal scrapper or you might damage the surface (buy their plastic scrapper)
- Depending on the size of the bed you are covering you might have to waste quite a bit of the GeckoTek surface when you trim it
- You will have to experiment for a long time to find the best level and temperature settings
- If using Ninjaflex, you could damage the surface if you try to remove the part without first cooling the bed
After using this surface now for close to three weeks side by side with my BuildTak surface, I may be purchasing more for my other printers. GeckoTek even sells a surface for a cold bed printer, which I am thinking about trying on my Makerbot Mini. Overall I believe GeckoTek has an excellent product here and I look forward to trying other products that they offer, such as their Magnetic Base surfaces