Custom solution for heated bed on old printer?

I have a super old Makerbot Replicator 2 without a heated bed, and have all kinds of issues with parts warping. I recently slapped on a piece of glass to alleviate some other problems due to a warped acrylic print bed, but obviously nothing sticks to it without some kind of additional surface like tape.

Everything I’ve found online is $200+ for a heated bed…

  • Is there a way I can have an aluminum plate cut cheaply and then purchase a silicone heater?
  • Are there any Makerbot clones that might have a compatible heated bed?

I’m not very experienced when it comes to this so I’m hoping some experts have an opinion :slight_smile:

How big is it? A MK3 bed should be like $20.

Not my images. The actual build plate is 287x171 mm but you have a little less room than that because of how it clips on to the platform below.


I think the correct way to do this upgrade would be to ditch both of the above, cut an aluminum plate (Mic6?), and get some glass to fit right on top? I’m unsure about the heater part or if there’s anything pre-fabricated that I can use.

I was just looking on Amazon today. A full heat bed with magnetic steel sheets were about $100 depending on size.

Do a search for “magnetic build plate” and then another for build plate heater. Pick and choose the sizes you want.

If your willing to take a print size reduction, you could buy a used ender 3 (preferably broken) and steel the heated bead and plate from it… they are only like 150 new. So a broken one should be dirt cheap.

Thanks for the replies. I’ve been thinking…it might be better to just sell my Replicator 2 for parts and get a new printer.

Prusa MK3S is my first choice, but is it overkill? I don’t know a lot about any other options that are currently available.

You could go with a MP3DP

I’m not sure if my Makerbot is up for that task :sweat_smile:

Really choosing a 3d printer is like choosing a car… they come in every size, price range, and quality you could want. And it should be selected based on what you want out of it.

1 Like

If you tell me what you are looking for i might be able to recommend something, otherwise happy shopping :slight_smile:

  • Something with a build plate large enough for MPCNC (obviously :slight_smile: )
  • Heated build plate
  • Under $800 USD
  • some level of support (trying to avoid AliExpress clones)
  • maybe able to do some high temp materials like ABS or nylon
  • auto leveling sensor or the ability to add one later on
  • I heard a bunch negative views regarding v-slot wheels on 3D printers. Is there truth to that, or does it not really matter in the scope of things?

Sounds like a good case for the prusa mk3 kit.

1 Like

I agree with the Prusa MK3s suggestion. They have amazing print quality and they will last longer with less maintenance. They have enough automations and smarts built into them that you will spend a lot less time manually trying to make your printer work. I have two of them. I trust them to just work and they do. The only trouble I have ever had with them was with the MMU2s upgrades. Those are not as reliable.

Ender 3 is a great entry level printer for many beginners. But I recommend many upgrades to get them semi reliable. New mother board, BLTouch, dual drive extruder upgrade, steel sheet magnetic bed upgrade, all metal hot end upgrade. Direct drive upgrade, filament sensor switch upgrade, mgn12 rails upgrade to replace the v slot wheels. Then plan on spending a day or two getting the firmware configuration you want. That’s how long it took me. All of those upgrades and then it becomes almost as smart and reliable as the MK3s. But even then the firmware and slicer profiles on the Prusa are way better tuned.

I eventually bought an Ender 3 just so I could experience it to help friends and family with theirs. I saved myself a ton of time by buying the MK3s initially.

Yes V slot wheels on the Ender wear out over time. But that takes time. That wear can be slowed by making sure the tension on the wheels isn’t excessively tight.

My MK3s printers print mostly PETGand PLA but I have used them to print ABS many times and Nylon a couple times(with an enclosure). The Ender 3 standard hot end would damage the Bowden tube with those temperatures.

1 Like

Agreed, the prusa is a great machine… I have an ender 3… I think some of those upgrades are excessive but I guess it depends on what you want.

I have had no issues with the v slot wheels, though I am sure they will wear out adventuly. I have no issues with my bowden setup (some complain of exsesive oozing but honestly my direct drive SM2 oozes more) i do recommend an all metal hot end upgrade, board upgrade, ptfe upgrade, bltouch and a slight modification to the aluminum extruder. But I feel like my printer is very reliable even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.

But inalso like tinkering and upgrading and I’m cheap so the $150 initial price tag was hard to resist. It is a great little machine, but I have never had the pleasure of using a prusa.


Thanks again for all the suggestions!
Just ordered a MK3S+ :slight_smile: