The stickiest stuff

For some reason (and there is probably a really good one..) my 3D-printer prints on a glass bed. It’s durable and easy to clean, but it’s also rather difficult to get the PLA filament to adhere to.

The internet’s most common advice is to coat the glass with hairspray, so I tried that, but apart from filling my workspace with horrible perfume nothing happened. The 3D-printing company recommended a 1:2 mixture of carpenter’s glue and water. That worked better, but more often than not, the edges of the print slip and warp.

After considering the properties of glass and polylactate, I searched the shelves for a chemical that would bond well, but not too well (Goldilocks would be so proud of me) with the hydroxy groups on the glass and the ester groups in PLA. Preferably something that easily dissolves in water or methyl-, ethyl- or isopropyl alcohol. High vacuum silicone grease came to mind but it doesn’t fulfill the last criteria.

After much serious thinking I concluded that dried up Coca Cola is the stickiest stuff I know so I tried coating with a 50% sucrose solution. And it works …sometimes. For the moment it seems that a 1:1 mix of the sucrose solution and the diluted carpenter’s glue is juuuuust right.

Anyway, here are pictures of the beamsplitter in it’s freshly 3D-printed frame sitting in a very preliminary optic setup with a cheap laser pointer.


And through the beamsplitter..


The laser is focused on one of the lines of the barcode of the kitty can so the reflection is not so bright. Unlike the next image:



For the moment it seems that a 1:1 mix of the sucrose solution and the diluted carpenter’s glue is juuuuust right.

This has proven to work only for smaller prints. I have now resorted to applying strips of masking tape on the glass. The tape adheres well to both the glass and the PLA.


2 thoughts on “The stickiest stuff

  1. We have an ultimaker 2 which also prints on a glass bed. It is heated though. However, we can highly recommend using the Build-Tak for PLA printing. It’s basically just a sticker you put on your print bed, but the PLA adheres really well on it.


    • Hej Søren
      Thanks for the advice, I might look into it someday. I’ve since upgraded the printer with a heated bed and my problems vanished in the sun. The glass still needs a coat of carpenter’s glue for the PLA, but it persists between prints.
      mvh Esben


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.