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Sticky business: Five adhesives tested for 3D printing

October 28, 2016

We compared five adhesives for 3D printing applications on a Wanhao Duplicator i3. We’ll print a PLA (polylactide) cube, 1х1х1 cm in size.

1.  NELLY LACQUER: We spread it on the clean surface of the table and turn on the Print Mode. The printed model is very well stuck—a pallet-knife is needed to separate it from the surface of the table. The adhesion result is very good.

2.  THE 3D GLUE: We apply it to the table with a cloth, wait for the table to warm up, then start printing. The result is similar to Nelly lacquer. We can’t separate the printed model from the table without any tools. The bottom of the cube is smooth.

3.  PVA GLUE: We spread a small quantity on the table and let it dry before printing. It is not easy to tear the model from the table. The bottom surface of the cube is rather rough and has PVA glue stains.

4.  GLUE STICK: We try to apply a thin layer of it to the hot platform but, because the adhesive is very thick, we can’t do it using a microfiber cloth. To separate the cube from the platform we use a pallet-knife. The bottom surface of the model and the platform surface have white glue stains. Now we need to clean the table and apply an adhesive anew.

5.  STICKY TAPE (an analogue of a blue Scotch): Finally, we paste one layer of it to the table, carefully smoothing it out to avoid blistering. This adhesive is no good for big ABS models as they tend to break away from the table along with the tape.

We try to accurately separate the cube from the table to prevent the tape from peeling off, but part of the tape stuck too well to the cube and came off the table along with the model. Now we’ll have a naked spot (without the tape layer) on the table when we print next time.

Conclusions

  • The lacquer and 3D glue give the best results; the bottom surface of the printed models is clean and smooth, without any traces of adhesives.
  • The glue stick stains the models.
  • The Scotch tape tends to stick to the model and comes off from the table partially or fully.
  • For ABS printing we recommend using a closed 3D printer and a strong adhesive, like NELLY.

If you liked this article, you may also want to read these other articles on 3D printing:

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George Fomitchev is the founder for Endurance... read more


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