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?
I am not going to stop using it, that is a given. Years of producing 3D printed items, has established 3D printing is not a replacement for my traditional creative methods. Creative juices do not flow only in plastic pipes.
I have produced a lot of practical molded (printed) plastic Items. I also found a lot of unsatisfactory applications for the material.
I coined a term I call “Plastic Junque.” Plastic Junque is just fun plastic stuff to print. I haven not stopped printing Junque. I just admit to myself that producing such stuff… is what it is. It is printed just because IT CAN BE PRINTED.
I don’t NEED 50 grumpy (printed plastic Junque) owls on my shelves, but I have them. Color samples I call them. A visual reminder of the color, that happens to be presented in the form of a grumpy owl.
It’s 100% totally cool to design something in 3D CAD and then hold that plastic item in my hand a few hours later. It’s Junque when I have no real (practical) use for creating it.
A hand carved one-piece wooden ball in a cage and a 3D printed version are both Junque. But there is a big difference in effort and skill to produce them.
As a kid, I assembled a lot of plastic models. As an adult I can now design and make similar plastic parts, usually already assembled. The hobby 3D printer is a great plastic model maker. Especially since the output of my printers is plastic.
To me, all plastic models are a form of Junque. They just set around and are looked at. Maybe “played” with and examined as in imagining the “real” thing. An object becomes a visual reminder. All my childhood plastic models became “Objects de Junque” and were thrown away. But a lifetime of learning to “make” and understand what those models represented, remain with me.
Dimensional art is a part of human culture. A statue is a “model” of someone or something. It is a dimensional picture. For that, it has value.
If a cast bronze figurine and an exact copy printed in plastic are offered as a choice, the one cast in bronze will most certainly be picked as the most valuable. It’s a type of material “caste system” (pun intended) of value judgement, with plastic being a lower class of material. (I choose to call Junque.)
But maybe all I want is the (low value) plastic replica. I can understand. I don’t NEED the bronze version. (Or a REAL skull of a dinosaur…)
The desktop 3D printer is accepted as an excellent proof of concept maker, that outputs those concepts in fused or resin plastic. If plastic is the finished material of choice with suitable characteristics, the 3D print is the final product. In this use, it is not a model. It is the product.
Most hobbyist like me, will never own commercial 3D manufacturing systems using exotic metallic materials. I can use a desktop printed plastic part as the prototype model for more expensive manufacturing. I do that with some of my silver jewelry creations.
Bottom line. Plastic 3D printing is a great addition to my creative skills. It is not necessarily a better system than other methods. There is an enjoyment, just in the making.
The design is drawn in FUSION360.
Most quilt makers use Imperial measurement (inch) so I decided the pendant would be a one-inch square (25.4 MM). The drawing was made using the metric scaling as 3D printing is always done in metric.
The bars in the design are 2 MM wide and the pendant is 3 MM thick
The pendant will be cast in Sterling silver. A first example was 3D printed using “MamaCetus”, a Cetus (brand) FDM printer so a prototype could be examined. The loop for the jump ring was a bit too small, so a simple correction was made in the drawing and a second example shown here in green PLA, was printed.
That’s what is nice about having a quickly made example to examine in-hand.
The intention is to resin print a group of six pendants using the DLP Wanhoa D7 printer. Good castable prints have been made on this printer. The nice feature of a DLP printer is it can print six copies in the same time span as printing one. Print time on the D7 should be just over five hours.
This is a test of the printer as well as a silver casting project. The reason for this writeup appearing here in the DPS website. the silver casting process is located here: https://dimensionalart.org/art/index.php/lost-wax/10-lost-wax/66-quilter-s-pendant
Plan “B” is to machine carve the pendants from wax using a 3 axis CNC micro mill. The project goal is to cast silver pendants, not struggle with casting a 3D printed master in an intermediate step. 3D printing is in theory, an excellent way to produce 3D master models for casting. Especially in volume as is shown here.
The issue is not entirely with the printing, but in achieving successful mold burn-out of the resin masters in the casting process.
Results of the Print Session
The first print session was a disaster. Three of the six pendants broke free of the supports. My fault, poor support design. Two of the remaining three were misshapen and ready to fall off. One was usable. This called for a new layout and support design and a reprint.
This triple layout printed very well and all were good for casting use. The Fun-To-Do Castable resin and the printing times are right on in the Wanhao D7. Print time in both examples was 5 hours. The number of Items has no effect on print time, only the print height and number of layers.
I have been 3D printing for several years and currently have four printers. Three are FDM (filament style) printers and the forth is a DLP (UV light/resin) style. I'll be describing more about these machines as I publish more articles.
I employed all three of my FDM printers for this project. To produce this much product in a couple of days was a lot of printing. There are 50 coasters in the pictures, but I printed a few more than that in the last two years.
The smaller, star coasters are not my design. They are similar to the Dallas Cowboys emblem, the reason I printed them. The snowflake coaster is also not my design, but was the inspiration for my design shown here to the right.
My wife Gloria is a "Quilter". If you know one, or like me, are married to one, you know they can have an intense group-society relationship over all things quilted. They gather together and go on Quilt Shop Tours and stage several day "retreats" where they get it (quilts) all put together. It forms a a basic fabric of their society. They have a great time and it leaves then all laughing in stitches. (Had to say that...)
Enough about quilting, but it formed the idea about this project. My wife likes to give away "treats" in the form of some of the things I make. Especially some of my plastic Junque. She asked me to make some more of the Star Coasters, so she could hand them out at her next retreat. Dutifully, I started printing. Then I got the idea that since it is a quilting retreat, the coasters should have a quilting theme.
I cast around a bit, fishing for a design. Trying to think of a simple design for a quilters' coaster. Then I got the strike! It's a basic pattern all quilters know... a square in a square in a square. Gloria recognized it immediately and exclaimed, "They will WANT that one!"
Uh-Oh... Now I have to make a bunch! I designed it in Fusion 360 and the #1 prototype was a bit too fat (thick). Easy fix and I soon had the production version ready for the print run. The outside diameter is 100MM as many folks like to use large oversized cooler mugs these days. A small coaster doesn't cut it. The Star coasters are smaller...
So, all three FDM printers were started and production commenced. Gloria claimed the light blue for herself, but the rest are up for grabs. Please note: Most of the production is setting on... a table quilt.
Here is a link to the quilt_sq_coaster.stl.