Over the years, 3D printing has become more and more advanced, and in recent times, magnetic beds have become the go-to choice for many modern 3D printer users. This is because of their simple setup and implementation, as well as their capacity to allow for reliable adhesion during prints. Another valuable piece of this type of bed is that once a print is complete, there’s no need for scraping or any other tool use –the prints usually stay put until you actually want them to be removed.
While you’ll certainly be able to get creative and start printing when you select any one of Creality’s Ender 3 series 3D printers, there are more upgrade options available to further customize your setup. One of the unique features to consider is upgrading from the default build surface that each model ships with.
If you choose the entry-level Ender 3, then polypropylene will be there waiting for you as soon as you open your box. Things just got a little bit more interesting with the Ender 3 Pro as it has a C-Mag magnetic platform sticker that adds a lot of conveniences and simplifies routine calibration tasks. As if things couldn’t get any better, The Ender 3 V2 could be enough alone to urge DIYers all around to give it serious consideration, as it ships with an experiential textured glass bed.
Now that we’ve figured out what kinds of options may be available to us, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Ender build surfaces and examine the best options for adding a magnetic build plate to your 3D printer. Ender 3, Pro, and V2 owners have been especially excited about this upgrade, as it can make adhesion stronger than ever.
The Authentic Ones
Although the original Ender 3 has a simple polypropylene build plate, both of its sequels improved upon it. Before we get into the magnetic upgrades, let’s look at what the Ender 3 Pro and V2 come with.
Ender 3 Pro
The Ender 3 Pro comes with a build surface similar to that of its predecessor, featuring the same slightly softer touch and grainy texture. Attached to the build plate by magnets, it is flexible yet secure which leads to reliable results. In other words, users are generally content as this surface is an ideal pairing that helps them achieve their 3D printing goals. All in all, the Ender 3 Pro’s build surface proves an effective tool for consistent outcomes.
- Flexible enough to release prints easily
- Works exceptionally well with PLA
- Cheap to replace, if necessary
Ender 3 V2
One of the most prominent features of the Ender 3 V2 is its tempered glass build plate. You can expect excellent adherence with a wide variety of printing materials thanks to the special design. The texturized surface further assists in keeping prints secure, as its small dips and rises effectively grip the first layer into place so that it doesn’t lift up during printing. However, it’s important to only level the bed when it’s heated up since tempered glass is known to expand slightly with improved temperatures.
- Most materials stick to the building plate
- The textured surface better grips the first layer of prints
- You can only level the bed when it’s heated
- Glass is fragile
If you’re like many Ender 3 owners, you know the stock build surface isn’t as reliable or dependable as you’d like. Fortunately, thanks to smart innovations from today’s market, there are now a number of magnetic build surfaces available for your Ender 3 that offer big improvements across a variety of areas.
These build surfaces are designed to be more durable than OEM alternatives, expand the bed temperature range so more filaments can be used, and even make it simpler and quicker to both stick and remove your prints from the bed.
The Wham Bam system has taken the 3D printing community by storm since it was fully funded on Kickstarter. After the idea was pitched to multiple interested purchasers, it was readily embraced and grew in popularity – unleashing the creativity of both enthusiasts and professionals alike.
This unique kit comes with a magnetic sticker, a spring steel flexible build plate and a smooth PEX (cross-linked polyethene) coating sticker, each one coming together to make a formidable team for your 3D printing needs.
The PEX coating which forms the third leg of the Wham Bam system is especially noteworthy in that it can support higher temperatures than traditional PEI sheeting, allowing you to use materials that would give off more heat or require more heat during the printing process than what PEI can handle. Furthermore, PEX also comes with the extra advantage of being easily replaced in case of any damage.
- Easy to install and use
- Wider material compatibility with consistent results
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Parts sold separately
The Wham Bam starts at $29 for the smallest bed size (Ø115 mm) and goes up to $202 for the largest (510 x 510 mm).
The BuildTak FlexPlate system has become a trusted and respected name in the 3D printing community, especially for users of the popular Ender 3 Pro printer. What sets it apart from similar surface sticker systems is its temperature compatibility which allows for successful prints at higher temperatures.
The FlexPlate system consists of a magnetic mounting base, a spring steel sheet, and a textured surface sticker – the latter being a departure from other systems on the market like Wham Bam’s smooth PEX sheet.
To learn more you can check out our review of BuildTak’s FlexPlate system where we provide comprehensive information about its features and performance.
- Durable and resistant to higher temperatures
- Easy to use
- Provides better first-layer adhesion
- Available in all standard sizes, covering the majority of 3D printers
A BuildTak FlexPlate starts at around $22 for the smallest size (219.96 x 219.96 mm) and goes up to around $205 for the largest (500.38 x 500.38 mm).
The Easy-Peelzy magnetic bed is an amazing alternative to the stock Ender 3 Pro bed surface thanks to its similar material and tactile qualities. Unlike other magnetic beds, it consists of a two-part system; a magnetic base and build surface with no spring steel sheet required.
Available in only a few sizes, it may also need to be adjusted to fit many different build plates. All things considered, this magnetic build surface is an affordable solution that could provide PLA-printing results far beyond satisfactory.
If you’re interested in learning more about Easy-Peelzy, our full review is a great place to start!
- Easy installation and use
- Slightly more durable
- The price is relatively cheap and offers excellent results for PLA printing
The Easy-Peelzy’s smallest square (200 x 200 mm) is around $15, going up to approximately $50 for its largest (500 x 500 mm).
It’s no wonder the Ziflex system by Zimple has been a highly-successful Kickstarter campaign – this product demonstrates excellent innovation and problem-solving. Not solely a two-part system like its competitor Easy-Peelzy, Ziflex foregoes the use of spring steel and instead uses stronger, temperature-resistant magnets to get its excellent end results.
For those who need their prints to withstand different temperatures, it pays to make sure you get the right kit. The low-temperature kit is designed for beds going up to 70°C while the high-temperature kit can scale up to 150°C, with both kits offered almost interchangeably and without having to pay extra.
- Available as a low- or high-temperature kit
- Available in custom sizes
- Easy installation and use
- Stable positioning from strong magnets
- Reasonably priced
The Ziflex’s smallest size (128 x 128 mm) starts at around €18 (~$20) and goes up to approximately €26 (~$30) for the largest (220 x 220 mm).
Unleashing the Most Powerful Magnetic Field
Finding the right bed for your Ender 3, Pro, or V2 can be tough! You want to make sure you get a bed that is both easy to use and will help create excellent prints – but there are so many options out there. Whether you go with a heated silicone-based build plate system or a glass build plate with an adhesive surface, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs and preferences.
Start by considering how satisfied you are with your Ender’s stock build plate. If it’s not quite working for you then think about other material(s) options. Will you require the ability to withstand higher temperatures as this could affect what material bed you choose? Whatever choice you make, from plastic to composite, it’s important to do some research and find out which ones match your budget that will deliver the optimum performance for your printer. Once you’ve made a decision about which kind of 3D printing bed fits the bill, we guarantee that you’ll be thrilled with the outcome!
I am Ganesh Divte. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Dhruvtara WireTech PVT LTD. I have experience in SLS, DMSL, FDM, and SLA additive manufacturing processes. I am very enthusiastic about additive manufacturing and its potential to change the way we manufacture products. I believe that Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and make it more efficient and sustainable.