Glass Print Bed with Aqua Net
I put a round glass print surface on both Delta style printers I have (had), I sold the smaller one. I installed PEI or Buildtak (like) surface on top of the glass on both. I used the glass to assure a perfectly flat printing surface.
I didn’t like the concept of rubbing a glue stick on the surface to get a print to stick. I considered hair spray with the same disdain. But I hadn’t given either method much of a try. I did try a glue stick several times, but considered it a real and unnecessary mess.
But Buildtak was tearing-up with some regularity. Some material like PETG sticks too well. The real mess was getting Buildtak off the glass for the next application. A heat gun (like stripping paint) does a good (but hot) job. Buildtak changes were getting expensive as well.
PEI was also a hit and miss material. When it works, it works well. But then it will start loosing its grip on things…
All stick-on sheets suffer from air pockets. Perhaps the 3M glue gases-off a bit after repeated heatings. I can’t prove that, but I know bubbles form long AFTER initial installation. That’s where a tear-out hoie develops from pulling off prints.
I watched a video on You-tube where a fellow was praising the use of hairspray. Since I had not given it a fair trial, I decided to give it a go. My wife let me use some of her hair spray.
It was a highly perfumed, water based lacquer, for which I can hardly stand the smell, but it worked very well as a “stick-um” for 3D prints. Both PETG and PLA. But it was very hard to wash of the glass, requiring vigerous scrubbing, soap, and hot water.
The video recommended the cheapest “Aqua Net” superhold to be found. My wife found the non-scented variety in 11 ounce cans for $2.00 a can. She bought me 3, which looks like a lifetime supply.
I discovered the Aqua Net is far superior for printing to the variety my wife uses on her hair. No smell what-so-ever and a super flat dry out on the glass. It also lasts through multiple prints, where the perfumed brand pealed off with each print. I don't know how good Aqua Net is for hair use, but printing use it is perfect. And it washes off the glass very easily and cleanly with cold water. It couldn’t be better.
The prints come off the bed with a perfectly smooth contact surface. Rafts are usually not required. The prints will “pop” off the surface if you let the bed cool down. But it works with a non-heated bed just as well.
Aqua Net is my new standard for bed adhesion in FDM 3D printing. Why did I wait so long?