Having good bed adhesion is a very important part of being able to be successful when 3D printing and many users don’t know how to use a glue stick to help with adhesion. That’s why I wrote this article, to teach people how to use a glue stick on a 3D printer.
To use a glue stick on a 3D printer you’ll need to first buy a glue stick, then clean your print bed and apply the glue stick to it. It is suggested to use purple glue sticks as they dissolve easily with water. After that, just start the print and after it’s done, you’ll need to do the cleanup.
This is just the basic answer, keep reading for more information on how to use a glue stick on a 3D printer.
How to Use a Glue Stick on a 3D Printer
These are the main ways to use a glue stick on a 3D printer:
- Buy a glue stick
- Clean your print bed
- Apply the glue stick
- Start the print
1. Buy a Glue Stick
The first step in order to use a glue stick on a 3D printer is to buy a glue stick.
These are some of the most popular options:
There are several different options for glue sticks, but users suggest going for a non-toxic, water-soluble glue stick that contains minimal additives. Purple glue sticks are generally preferred to avoid potential staining or interference with the print’s appearance.
That’s because the ‘purple’ totally dissolves in water and it washes off cleanly. Users think that part of the appeal is that it is not as strong as some of the other white glues.
One user really suggests getting Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Washable School Glue.
He recommends staying away from the Sticks to a more surface version. It doesn’t dry the same and your print might not stick to it.
You can find Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Washable School Glue on Amazon for a great price.
Check out the video below to see a 3D printing enthusiast who always applies purple glue before printing.
2. Clean Your Print Bed
The first step in order to properly use a glue stick on a 3D printer is to clean your print bed for the best possible adhesion.
It is important to make sure that your print bed is clean and free from any dust, oils, or residues. A clean surface is essential for proper adhesion.
If you own a clean glass bed or a mirrored bed, then users recommend using isopropyl alcohol to clean it and using soap and water for other types of print bed surfaces.
Check out the video below for more information about how to properly clean your print bed.
3. Apply the Glue Stick
The next step after cleaning your print bed is to apply the glue stick.
To use the glue stick, just twist the bottom of it to extend the adhesive. This makes it ready for application. Then carefully apply a thin and even layer of glue onto the print bed.
Avoid applying too much glue, as excessive adhesive can lead to difficulties when removing the printed object later on. The goal is to create a smooth and uniform layer that covers the entire area where the first layer of your print will be placed.
One user recommends putting a small layer of glue over where you want to print (or the entire bed) when it’s cool. Let it dry, and then print.
Check out the video below for more information about this step.
4. Start the Print
The next step is to start the print. With the glue stick correctly applied and spread, you are now ready to start your 3D print job. Initiate your 3D print job as you normally would. The first layer of the print should adhere to the glue-coated print bed.
Keep a close eye on the initial layers of the print. Make sure that the layers of the object are adhering properly to the glue layer. If you notice any issues, such as corners lifting or warping, you may need to adjust your print settings or tweak the glue application for better results.
One user recommends just putting one light coat of the glue stick will last for at least ten prints. He stated that he only cleans his glass bed once a week.
Another user who owned a PEI plate stated that he preferred to put a layer of glue before each print he would make. Eventually, he changed his build plate and now he doesn’t use any more glue.
Check out the video below to see a 3D printing hobbyist using a glue stick to help with adhesion.
The next step after the print is over is to do some cleanup. Once your print is finished, it should be relatively easy to remove from the print bed.
The adhesive properties of the glue stick should make the object come off without having to use any force.
If there are any leftover traces of glue on the print bed, you can easily clean them with water and gentle scrubbing.
One user recommends using Elmer’s glue stick as he does on his slick glass bed. To clean up he recommends using Windex after every print is finished.
You can find Windex on Amazon for a great price.
Another user suggests using a drop of Dawn Ultra Hand Soap and warm water. Then letting the glass plate drip-dry. He also recommends trying to not get fingerprints on it.
Check out the video below with detailed information on how to clean a 3D printer’s bed.
Tips and Considerations
To enhance your success with using a glue stick for 3D printing, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
- Experiment with thickness
- Reapply as needed
- Explore other adhesion methods
Depending on the filament type and print bed material, you might need to adjust the thickness of the glue layer.
Experiment with slightly thicker or thinner layers to find the right balance for optimal adhesion.
While glue sticks are effective for many users, don’t hesitate to explore other adhesion aids like hairspray, painter’s tape, or dedicated 3D printing adhesives.
Different methods might work better for different materials and print bed surfaces.
One user recommends switching to Magigoo from the glue stick. He prefers Magigoo as there is a lot less buildup on the build platform and residual on the part.
Another user stated that if you are using a glass bed, then you might find better results by using ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape on top of it, as the user found great success with it.
Check out the video below for a detailed comparison between Magigoo and a glue stick.