I am in the process of making a heated vacuum table to hopefully allow automatic ejection of finished objects. In a conversation with Laszlo he mentioned he was planning to use a heated steel bed and use magnets placed around the object to hold down a sheet of Kapton. I turned the idea upside down. Why not stick Kapton tape to a sheet of steel and clamp it to a heated aluminium bed using magnets underneath?
I found a thin sheet of bright springy steel that was part of an electric toaster. My best guess is that it is one of the grades of stainless steel that is magnetic. It is only 0.3mm thick so it is relatively flexible, but it always springs flat. It came from a Kenwood toaster that gave good service until our cleaner suggested to my wife that she should turn it upside down to get rid of some persistent crumbs. The next time it was used it burst into flames because a crumb got wedged between the element and the steel plate and burnt through the nichrome.
I made a tiny heated table from an off-cut of 6mm aluminium. It is only 105mm x 73mm, which is smaller than a MakerBot CupCake bed but I think it is just big enough to make all the Mendel parts.
I have run out of AL clad resistors so I made my own from vitreous enamel ones embedded in aluminium blocks with tin foil. I used two 6.8Ω resistors in series driven from ~ 26V AC. That gives about 50W and a similar warm up time to my larger bed driven with 200W.
I milled flat bottomed holes to within about 1mm of the surface and embedded five neodymium magnets which are held in with Kapton tape.
I used M3 threaded nylon stand-offs as insulated table legs and mounted it onto my XY-table using a sheet of 4mm aluminium / plastic laminate called Dibond. It is very nice material to work with.
The steel plate covered in Kapton tape then sticks to the top of the table. I heated it to 100°C and tried making some ABS objects.
This worked well and the objects were easy to remove by bending the plate and peeling them.
The magnets are strong enough to hold down even big objects. The only problem I had was that the nozzle snagged on the first layer of this object and managed to slide the steel plate, causing the first layer to be offset.
Contrary to popular belief, FFF does require significant force and benefits from a stiff extruder mounting.
A couple of pins in the corners to act as dowels would solve the sliding problem.
Here is a video showing how easy it is to remove the objects: -
It is still a manual process though, so I will pursue the vacuum table idea to attempt to make a bed that can eject the object itself.