How to Use Glue Sticks for 3D Printing

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3D printing has become an increasingly popular method for creating physical objects from digital designs. It involves using a 3D printer to build up layers of material, such as plastic or metal, to create a three-dimensional object. 

While 3D printing has a wide range of applications, it can be a complex process that requires careful preparation and attention to detail. 

One material that can be used to improve the adhesion of 3D-printed objects to the build plate is a glue stick. In this article, we will outline the steps for using a glue stick to successfully 3D print objects.

What Exactly Are Glue Sticks, and Why Is It Used in 3D Printing?

Glue sticks are a type of adhesive that come in a solid form, similar to a deodorant stick. They are typically used for arts and crafts projects and for attaching paper or lightweight materials together. To use a glue stick, you simply twist the stick up to reveal the adhesive, then apply it to the surfaces you want to join together. 

Glue sticks are generally easier to use and less messy than liquid glues, as they do not require a separate applicator and dry quickly after being applied. They are also generally less permanent than liquid glue, making them a good choice for projects that may need to be removed or changed later.

Glue sticks are an important component of the 3D printing process. It enhances the adhesion of 3D-printed objects to the build plate and makes it easy to remove printed objects after printing.

Materials Needed for 3D Printing With a Glue Stick

The following materials are essential for using a glue stick in 3D printing:

3D Printer

This is the main piece of equipment used in the 3D printing process. A 3D printer is an incredible technology that can create a three-dimensional object from a CAD design or even a 3D scan.

3D printers work by laying down layer upon layer of material—plastics, metals, and composites—to form the desired shape. Many different models are available, ranging from basic hobbyist printers to high-end industrial models.

Filament 

One of the most important components of a successful 3D print is the Filament used for extrusion. Filament comes in various materials with different properties tailored to achieve specific goals such as durability, flexibility, strength, aesthetics, or economic considerations.

Examples include PLA (polylactic acid), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane).

Glue Stick

A glue stick is applied to the build plate to improve adhesion and prevent the printed object from warping or lifting during printing.

It contains ultra-strength binding properties, making it a favorite among professionals and hobbyists. It is simple to use, providing a quick and easy method to reinforce prints with optimal strength and accuracy.

Build Surface

This is the surface on which the 3D-printed object is built. Often made of flat, rigid material such as glass or plastic, it provides a steady platform for the 3D printer carriage while it works.

Procedure for 3D Printing With Glue Sticks

Here’s how to use a glue stick with a 3D printer:

Prepare the 3D Printer

Before beginning the 3D printing process, it is important to prepare the printer properly. This includes calibrating the printer to ensure it is functioning correctly and leveling the build plate to ensure that it is even and properly positioned. 

It is also a good idea to clean the build plate to remove any debris or residue that may interfere with the printing process.

Prepare the Build Surface

Once the 3D printer is prepared, it is time to prepare the build surface. The first step is to apply the glue stick to the build plate. This can be done by drawing a thin layer of glue over the entire surface or applying small glue dots in specific areas. 

It is important to allow the glue to dry completely before starting the print process.

Start Printing

Before you can start printing, you’ll need to load the printer with Filament. This usually involves feeding the filament through the extruder and into the hot end, where it is melted and extruded through the nozzle. 

Once the filament is loaded, the appropriate print settings must be selected. These settings may include the type of filament used, the layer height, and the print speed.

With the printer and build surface prepared, the print process can begin. The printer will start by laying down the object’s first layer, using the glue from the glue stick to ensure that it adheres properly to the build plate. As the print progresses, additional layers will be added to the previous ones, building up the object.

Remove the Printed Object

Once the print process is complete, it is essential to wait for the object to cool before attempting to remove it from the build plate. This can help prevent damage to the object or the build plate.

Once the object has cooled, it can be carefully removed from the build plate using a scraper or other tool.

Benefits of Using Glue Sticks for 3D printing

Glue sticks are often used in 3D printing to improve the printed object’s adhesion to the build plate. There are several benefits to using glue sticks for this purpose:

Improved Adhesion

Glue sticks can help improve the adhesion of the printed object to the build plate, which can help prevent warping and improve the overall quality of the print.

Easy to Use

Glue sticks are easy to apply and do not require special equipment or training.

Non-toxic

Most glue sticks are non-toxic and safe to use, making them a good choice for those concerned about the potential health risks of using certain adhesives.

Affordable

Glue sticks are generally affordable and readily available, making them a convenient and cost-effective choice for improving adhesion in 3D printing.

Easy to Remove

Glue sticks can be easily removed from the build plate after printing is complete, making it easy to remove the finished object and prepare the build plate for the next print.

Best Glue Sticks for 3D printing

The following are some of the best glue sticks available:

Scotch Purple Glue Stick

Scotch is a market leader in many product categories, including tapes, glues, and home décor. Due to its widespread recognition, “Scotch tape” is now commonly used to refer to generic transparent tape.

Scotch Purple Glue Stick has a firm consistency and applies easily. It applies purple and dries clear so you can see any spots you missed. Cleaning and reconditioning a glass 3D print bed with this glue stick is as easy as washing it off with soap and water.

Magigoo

Magigoo, developed by the startup Thought3D, is made specifically for 3D printing. The glue’s consistency is perfect for smooth application. After the hot print bed cools, the glue loses it adhesiveness. This makes it easy to remove the printed object.

In addition, Magigoo has different products for various printing materials. This makes it possible to obtain the required level of adhesion, no matter what material you’re using.

Layerneer Bed Weld

Like regular glue, Layerneer’s Bed Weld is easy to apply. It features a foam applicator designed to keep you from using too much while still making direct contact.

In addition, the glue is perfect for the smooth removal of printed objects as it sticks to surfaces when hot but releases them when cold.

UHU Stic

The first batch of UHU’s all-purpose glue was made in 1931. Interestingly, their glue can also be used in 3D printing, in addition to the usual applications of paper, cardboard, foam, and other similar materials.

This glue stick is particularly easy to work with because of its flexible texture. In addition, the grip allows for precise control over how much glue is exposed, and a screw-top lid keeps it from drying out.

Conclusion

Using a glue stick for 3D printing is an effective and easy way to improve the adhesion of printed objects to the build plate. To use a glue stick, it is important to prepare the 3D printer and build plate, apply a thin layer of glue over the entire surface and allow the glue stick to dry completely before starting the print process.

By using one of the recommended glue sticks, such as Scotch Purple Glue Stick, Magigoo, Layerneer Bed Weld, or Uhu Stic; you can ensure that your prints adhere properly and are easily removed from the build surface after cooling. With these tips in mind, you should be able to get better results with every print!

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Use Glue Stick for 3D Printing

Does Glue Stick Work for 3D Printing?

Yes, a glue stick is suitable for 3D printing. It is often used to adhere the print bed to the build plate and help the print stick to the bed. Glue stick also helps provide a smooth surface, allowing for better filament adhesion.

How Do You Use a 3D Printer Glue Stick?

To use the glue stick, simply draw a thin line along the build plate, usually in a single direction. Once the glue stick is applied, you can start the print. After the print is finished, the glue can easily be removed with a rag, alcohol, or acetone.

What Glue Is Best for 3D Prints?

The type of glue best for 3D prints depends on the print’s material. Cyanoacrylate (super glue) or ABS glue is recommended for ABS plastic. For PLA plastic, polyurethane glue works best. For wood or metal, epoxy is the best option.

Why Do My 3D Prints Not Stick?

There are several reasons your 3D prints may not stick to the build plate. It could be due to incorrect bed leveling, incorrect nozzle height, incorrect temperature settings, an unclean or damaged build plate, or incorrect adhesion settings.

How Can I Make My 3D Printers Adhere Better?

To make your 3D printer adhere better, use a better adhesion surface, increase the temperature of the build plate, use an adhesive spray or glue stick and clean the build plate.

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