PEI For 3D Printer Beds

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PEI For 3D Printer Beds

Post by royg » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:33 am

Greetings All,

There was recently a discussion about Great 3D Printer Build Sheets viewtopic.php?f=6&t=62, and the common consensus seemed to be that GRP, G10, or FR4 materials made for good Printer Bed Surfaces.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to find an Australian supplier for any of those products, and the usual Chinese Web Sites didn't really have anything suitable. There are lots of Amazon listing for these products, but I was unable to find one that would ship to Australia.

So, I went off looking for an alternative product. I ended up going for a PEI (Polyetherimide - if you really want to know). There are suppliers in Australia, if you want to buy pallet loads of 4 foot x 8 foot sheets of the stuff, or you want to buy 100mm x 100mm squares of the stuff. Eventually, I found a supplier on that sold the stuff in a size that suits the large bed Tarantula. Each pack contains two sheets of PEI, and two sheets of 3M double sided adhesive sheet.

Installing it is a doddle. It goes onto a glass sheet, to provide a flat surface, plus the 3M Double Sided Adhesive doesn't stick very well to whatever that crinkly black surface is on Tevo's aluminium print bed. Clean the Glass well with Isopropyl Alcohol. Peel the backing of one side of the 3M sheet, and lay it on the glass, ensuring that you get it on smoothly. The adhesive is pressure sensitive, so you need to rub down firmly to get the adhesive to stick well. I used an old credit card. Then peel off the remaining backing sheet from the 3M Sheet. Peel the backing sheet off one side of the PEI Sheet. Then apply the PEI Sheet to the 3M Adhesive layer. Rub down firmly. Remove the remaining backing sheet from the PEI Sheet. Some PEI sheets have one side gloss, and one side matt surfaced. I choose to have the glassy side uppermost, as supposedly it results in the undersides of prints being much smoother.

Well - How Well Does It Work ?

Very well.....

Clean the PEI Sheet with a clean soft cloth, or paper towel (I use a lint free microfibre cloth) moistened with Isopropyl Alcohol at the beginning of each print job. Do Not apply Glue Stick, Hair Spray, or any other witch's brew, to the PEI. PEI doesn't need it.

I only print with PLA, as my printer is not enclosed (yet). PLA sticks to the PEI extremely well when it is hot, but releases easily when the heated bed cools down. I've done about 48 hours near continuous printing on the PEI so far, and have not had any job come loose during the print process, and I've had no warping.

The Heated Bed Temperature needs to be lowered when you use PEI. On a plain glass bed with glue stick on it, I was running the surface of the bed at 60 degrees C - measured with a non-contact Infrared Temperature Gauge. The print head is running at 215 degrees C. On the first job I printed on the PEI, I used the 215 and 60 degrees C settings, and the job came out really well.

HOWEVER - the first layer of the print was welded firmly to the PEI. I had to destroy the print to get it off the PEI, and the first layer remained firmly welded to (embedded 50% in) the PEI. That section of my first sheet of PEI is stuffed, but I'm still using that first sheet of PEI, and positioning smaller print jobs around the damaged area.
Asking Mr Google resulted in lots of posts by people saying that when printing onto a PEI print bed, that they lower the bed temperature by 10 to 15 degrees. So I tried again using 215 and 40 degrees C. Perfect. The print sticks well when hot. No warping and no prints coming loose during the job.

The Negatives ?
  1. The PEI is easily damaged if you print with the bed too hot.
  2. The PEI can be easily damaged if you allow the Hot End to come into prolonged contact with the PEI, when the Hot End is at operating Temperature.
  3. PEI is not the lowest cost option when it comes to Print Bed Surfaces. Although, Amazon seems to have PEI at much better prices that I could get, but then Amazon won't ship it to Australia.
So, there you go. I hope that information is useful.


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Tevo Tornado (MKS Gen L version) - Genuine E3dV6 - BLTouch
Tevo Tarantula with a Laser Cutter/Engraver Add-on.
OctoPi (on an Odroid XU4)
Fusion 360, Cura, Slic3r, Ideamaker

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Re: PEI For 3D Printer Beds

Post by JaY_III » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:09 pm

PEI and PETG also go hand in hand, so when you are ready to move some better material you will be ready.

My bed for PETG is 85C and 245C nozzle for the 1st layer.
Then I drop the bed down to 70C and the nozzle down to 230-235ish (depends on what I am doing/using)

PETG Prints seem (so far) to remove best when the bed is still warm (50-60C) and has not cooled down to room temp.

Also I have found if you are having problems removing a print that has cooled down with the PEI and everything is sitting at room temperature, simple heat the bed back up.
While the bed is heating up the PEI and your PETG print expand at a different rate while warming, and it seems to release a lot easier that way.

Just like above,
Cleaning is simple, I use a micro fiber cloth and some rubbing alcohol from the drug store.
I am also using borosilicate glass, with 3m gel adhesive to hold the PEI on.
The glass rests on thermal pads to make more even contact with the TEVO bed. Clips are not needed when using thermal pads, but i do use them just in case.

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Re: PEI For 3D Printer Beds

Post by Xerxes » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:15 am

I've never had any luck with PEI (instantly destroyed even if i don't heat the bed) and found that buildtak works but wears out fairly quickly.

The best surface I've ever used is heated glass coated with a filament specific adhesive.

For ABS the best results are with 110C glass (all layers) and ABS juice applied by pouring a small amount of acetone on the bed and rubbing it with an ABS puck.

I imagine the same for PLA and others.. Use purple glue stick or watered down PVA glue. I hear sugar water works well for PLA. PLA also can print straight on heated glass if it is very clean - cleaned with vinegar or glass cleaner until it squeaks.

Heated glass with ABS juice sticks so hard you can not pull the model off while it is hot 100C+. As soon as it cools to 80C you hear crack crack... and it just peels off so easy. I've never found a plastic surface that even compares to that.

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