The first layer of a 3D print is undoubtedly the most significant step in printing, as it not only defines how well the model will be supported but ensures that it adheres to its build surface. Getting this first layer right can sometimes be challenging and if not properly secured with an adhesive, your 3D print may start to warp or even worse, separate from the printing bed.
Because of these difficulties, finding the best adhesive for the job is essential for successful 3D prints. Glue sticks are among the most accessible and inexpensive methods for achieving clarity and consistency in your first layer. Through our research we have identified a number of popular brands, allowing you to find what works best for you and your project.
Why Use a Glue Stick for 3D Printing?
Even though there are many various build surfaces and adhesives you may use to make sure your print stays, the modest glue stick is among the simplest. Glue and other adhesive materials have the following advantages:
- Easy cleanup: With water-soluble glue sticks, cleanup is much easier since they simply rinse away with water. This makes them preferable to using tape, which leaves large amounts of sticky residue that requires scrubbing and scraping to fully remove. As an added benefit, the slick surface of the build plate once it’s been washed off helps promote better adhesion between the material and the bed while printing.
- Easy application: Unlike spray adhesives, no aerosol particles or residue will be dispersed into the air, as glue sticks are simply brushed on directly without messy overspray. Adhering tape is also a viable option yet more difficult in comparison; it can be challenging to properly align and attach the tape in an even layer onto the build plate without any bumps or warping.
- Easy print removal: When 3D printing, it can be difficult to find an adhesive solution that doesn’t ruin your build surface or leave your model stuck down as soon as the material cools. Glue sticks are a surprisingly effective option, even on materials like PETG which tend to have greater adhesive properties. The glue serves as something of a protective layer between the printer bed and the object being made, allowing the print to come off easily once the job is complete. This helps ensure that you get each and every object off with minimal effort and no damage to your build surface.
Bed adhesion is a crucial aspect in 3D printing, and while utilizing glue to start a print is an option, there are other ways to ensure bed adherence.
- Before starting a print, make sure your bed is level and set the correct Z offset value to produce a better result.
- Every time you begin a new project, make sure to check your filament to make sure there isn’t any moisture present. This can mean the difference between a failed print and a successful print.
- Make sure to remove any residue that may have accumulated on your build plate after each use to prevent it from hardening and making it challenging to remove the part.
Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Glue Stick
Elmer’s is widely recognized for its wide selection of glues and adhesives, having been in the industry for over 70 years. Many schools and other general education settings across the United States rely on Elmer’s products to help support various projects and assignments.
This one distinguishes out due to its distinctive colour-changing appearance, which makes it easy to tell whether it has been applied properly. After being dispensed, the stick turns purple and shifts back to clear after it has dried and bonded. Thanks to this tactile cue, you’ll get consistent coverage every time with minimal mess and effort. What’s more, the stick is made from an extra hard formula which makes it easier to apply thin layers onto your print bed.
To obtain extremely thin layers and get the most uses possible out of a single stick, some manufacturers advise mixing this glue with isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
Layerneer Bed Weld
The California-based firm Layerneer is dedicated to giving customers the finest 3D printing experience possible with just a single item, Bed Weld. The Layerneer adhesive product is intended to improve bed adhesion for a variety of filament materials, including PLA, ABS, ASA, PETG, CPE, and PVA. What’s even more striking is that cleanup of erroneous prints is a breeze because of its water-soluble nature and low odour.
Not only does it offer a convenient, easy-to-apply alternative to traditional glue, but its special foam tip applicator also helps ensure control and accurate application of the adhesive in the exact quantity you need. Plus, the direct contact capabilities that the Bed Weld foam tip allows for mean your objects will be bonded securely and precisely for even the most meticulous 3D printer jobs.
Bed Weld has risen in popularity due to glowing customer reviews, who praise its ability to keep prints firmly stuck to the bed for a considerable amount of time. Not only that, the substance also has a unique property- it bonds with surfaces when hot and releases them when cooled. This means that one can remove parts from the bed without having to put in too much effort or risk damaging it.
For 3D printing enthusiasts, the newest product from Thought3D couldn’t be more exciting. Magigoo is a specially formulated adhesive intended specifically for 3D printing, and it’s easy to apply thanks to its stick form with a felt membrane. Thought3D has been busy refining its product over the years; now they are finally offering a liquid form in stick applicator that has been met with a positive reception in the 3D printing community.
Because of its ideal consistency, which makes it simple to apply, and its ability to deactivate when heated and cooled, removing your final product from the print bed is wonderfully straightforward and stress-free. With this glue, one of the more time-consuming aspects of 3D printing is eliminated.
Not only does this superb product give your printed objects superior adhesion, but you can tailor it perfectly to fit your unique printing needs by selecting the right product for the printing material. With Magigoo, you’ll have complete flexibility when it comes to producing pristine prints that stick without fail, leaving you with a safe, reliable 3D printing environment.
Scotch Purple Glue Stick
Many of us are familiar with 3M’s Scotch brand, famous for its original 1940s transparent adhesive tape. The tape was incredibly successful, offering a great alternative to old-fashioned sticky glue. Since then, the company has branched out and expanded its offerings to include a wide range of tapes and glues as well as arts and crafts products and various decorative items. As such, Scotch has established itself as one of the leading names in the adhesive industry. In fact, its products are so renowned that even generic versions of clear tape all over the globe bear its classic, iconic name—Scotch tape.
This glue stick is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-apply adhesive. It has a firm consistency so you can always trust that it will stay in place and when used correctly, won’t leave any mess or residue behind. An added bonus is that this glue applied purple so you can easily tell you’ve covered everything but once it dries clear, it leaves no trace of its use. Cleanup and reconditioning of 3D print beds can be a task but with this glue stick’s help, the process becomes simple: just wash the area with soap and water to get back to perfect condition.
MatterHackers provide 3D printing users with an extensive range of products that cater to their needs. It stocks hardware from a range of brands such as Creality and Lulzbot, as well as its own brand of filaments and, most recently, its own brand of bed adhesive – Stick Stick. Primarily designed for use on 3D printer beds, Stick Stick is easy to apply using the accompanying applicator and provides a strong bond between the print surface and the printed model.
This unique substance can be easily applied using the specially designed sponge applicator that comes with the bottle, wafting aside any worries of putting too much down on the build plate. The light layer of stick applied greatly improves the adhesion of printed parts and offers stability once properly dried.
Stick Stick is a cool technology that can help achieve better adhesion of 3D prints with certain types of filament. Indeed, Stick is especially useful when hot, allowing for impressive bonding with PLA, PETG, and MatterHackers Pro Series Ryno. While it works effectively in these cases, Stick, unfortunately, fails to provide the desired result with ABS or nylon.
The substance is water-based and odourless, therefore MatterHackers claims that it is simple to clean with warm water. However, other users discovered that using water alone was insufficient to properly remove the glue, and they advise using IPA (isopropyl alcohol) along with warm water.
Founded in 1931, their all-purpose glue is a staple in both household and professional repair shops. It’s also popular among 3D printing enthusiasts as it bonds nicely to most materials used in the process. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s produced and owned by the German-based Bolton Adhesives company, one of the leading adhesive manufacturers with exceptional customer service and quality products. Whether you’re trying to fix a paper cutout or craft something out of wood, UHU’s all-purpose glue can help you do so with ease.
What makes this glue stick so unique? Its soft consistency ensures a smooth application without any messes or clumps, and with its convenient screw-top lid your glue will stay fresh for longer. The grip gives you total control over the amount of glue exposed and helps you accurately apply it for those precise projects. With this trusty glue stick at your side, you never have to worry about drying out or unexpected clumps marring the outcome of your finished project.
Although you’ll obtain comparable results, if you live in Europe, this alternative might be more convenient for you than either of the purple glue sticks.
I am Ganesh Divte. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Dhruvtara WireTech PVT LTD. I have experience in SLS, DMSL, FDM, and SLA additive manufacturing processes. I am very enthusiastic about additive manufacturing and its potential to change the way we manufacture products. I believe that Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and make it more efficient and sustainable.