The ideal build plate for the job typically depends on the materials you are printing. However, if you're in search of a perfect first layer and effortless print removal, a glass print plate is exactly what you need. Read on as we look at the benefits of a 3D printer glass bed and what to look for when shopping for your own.
A 3D printer glass bed is arguably the best option when aiming for a flawless print bottom. Not only that, it’s remarkably easy to remove prints from glass (providing your bed was clean before the print).
In fact, around the 3D printing community, the joke goes that removing a print from a glass platform is so easy that your print risks sliding along your glass bed, should your printer accidentally get knocked.
It’s widely accepted that no one build plate is best; selecting a print bed largely depends on what you want to print. Glass as a bed for your 3D printer, however, gives many benefits that are worth considering.
Here are the characteristics and advantages of glass that you should keep in mind when in the market to replace your print bed.
Here are the factors to take consider when replacing or buying a glass bed:
As long as glass is not subjected to shock, it is stronger than most people think. Therefore, if you are using a standardized bed, a 3-4mm glass plate should be fine. This thickness is sufficient to maintain strength and spread heat.
If you opt for a very thin glass plate (for example, 1mm), it will be vulnerable to cracking from the high temperatures or accidental contact with the hotend. Thickness should increase with an increase in the print bed size. For a massive print bed, you may want to consider 6mm thickness.
Thermal Shock Resistance
The glass should be highly heat resistant. A glass plate that will crack or shatter when exposed to rapid changes in temperature would not be ideal for 3D printing. You want a glass that will retain its original shape and structure when heated up to 200°F and plunged into 40°F of water. Such durability is known as thermal shock resistance, and it goes a long way in ensuring that a glass plate remains usable for an extended period.
Tempered glass can sustain high temperatures thanks to its high thermal shock resistance.
If a glass plate can endure temperature changes as high as 1000°F down to 40°F without thermal shock damage, then it stands to reason that damage through regular 3D printing use would be impossible, even when using the hottest of extruders.
While this may sound obvious, your glass plate should match your print bed size. You want that ‘snug fit’ between the glass plate and the print bed to avoid having a plate that wobbles during printing. After all, how are you going to use the build plate clamps when your glass plate is too big or too small in comparison to the print bed size?
Thermal Fatigue Resistance
Repeated heating and cooling means that even tempered glass will lose its strength eventually. However, ceramic glass, like NeoCeram, can be used for extremely high temperatures and don’t get affected by the heating and cooling cycles. The strength of ceramic glass remains consistent throughout and qualifies this glass as an excellent material for a print bed when you want to use high temperatures.
3D printing uses extreme temperatures both on the heating bed and on the molten printing material. Therefore, you need a glass bed, like borosilicate glass, which has a low coefficient of thermal expansion.
Borosilicate, which is made up of boron trioxide and silica, is resistant to thermal expansion and thermal shock, and will rarely undergo any physical changes when subjected to high temperatures. This feature prevents it from warping when under use and enables it to deliver prints with smooth base layers.
Remarkable thermal properties and the near indestructibility of borosilicate glass make it ideal for use as a 3D printer bed.
License: The text of "3D Printer Glass Bed – What to Consider & Which to Buy" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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