Sep 6, 2016 | By Benedict

Steelmans, an engineering, design, and manufacturing firm based in Leicestershire, UK, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for LokBuild, a warp-free 3D printing surface for FDM 3D printers. The campaign has already surpassed its £4,000 goal.

Many users of FDM 3D printers have endured long and sleepless nights over their print surfaces after trying and failing to cleanly remove prints from the build plate. Some stop-gap solutions exist to tackle surface problems, including kapton, hairspray, and blue builders tape, but 3D printing is supposed to be a smooth, seamless experience—not a patched-up, print-and-hope ordeal. Steelmans, a British engineering specialist with locations around the world, is looking to eliminate FDM surface problems once and for all, and has introduced the LokBuild 3D printing surface as the solution.

A durable sheet that sticks to the bed of a 3D printer, LokBuild bills itself as a “high performance solution at an affordable price.” The product comes in two different sizes that can be trimmed further to match the exact shape and size of a 3D printer’s build surface, and is made from uniquely textured sheets that attach easily thanks to a heat-resistant adhesive backing. The new 3D printing product is designed to completely replace blue masking tape, polyamide films, and other well-used surface solutions.

According to Steelmans, LokBuild is able to prevent curling and warping, as it creates a strong bond between the 3D printed object and build surface. When a 3D print is finished, it can be easily removed with minimal effort, cutting out the need for endless scraping and forcing. Additionally, LokBuild has a durable finish that is effective at protecting the build plate. It is both heat-resistant and durable, and can be used over and over for hundreds of consecutive 3D prints using all kinds of filament.

Being suitable for both ABS and PLA 3D printing, LokBuild is a versatile surface solution which can be left in place even when switching between materials on a regular basis. The product also works with more exotic materials such as HIPS, PET, ColorFabb XT, ColorFabb XT-Carbon Fibre, Woodfill, Bronzefill, Copperfill, Brassfill, flexible materials such as PolyFlex and Ninjaflex, and some Polycarbonate materials.

Steelmans has highlighted other supposed benefits that can be had using LokBuild. These include easier nozzle height calibration, with LokBuild not requiring a high level of calibration accuracy and therefore reducing the chance of peeling away / warping (too far) or over-stickiness (too close). LokBuild is also purportedly easier to fit onto the build surface than other solutions.

After 12 months of testing and development, including trials with numerous FDM 3D printers, Steelmans has finalized its LokBuild product. However, to bring the surface solution to market, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to secure early backing from 3D printing enthusiasts. The £4,000 ($5,370) campaign has already more than doubled its target funding with almost a month left to go, showing that the FDM 3D printing community has been looking for a product like LokBuild.

Backers can secure an early bird single pack of the smaller (203 x 203 mm / 8” x 8”) LokBuild surface for just $9, or the larger (305 x 305 mm / 12” x 12”) for $14. Discounts apply for multipack orders, and Steelmans will begin shipping early bird orders in January 2017.



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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mcs wrote at 9/8/2016 6:49:52 PM:

Isn't this quite "similar" to BuildTak, which is already on the market? Great for us to have more options, but it's at least worth a mention.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/7/2016 9:11:09 AM:

What is always missing with those ads is a full usage of the build plate. I'd love to see how it handles the full 203 mm x 230 mm build plate with ABS especially the removal of said part !

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