What Is 3D Printing Adhesive?
If you’ve ever done any sort of 3D printing, you might have an idea of why 3D printing adhesives are necessary even if you don’t know what they are just yet. Maybe you’ve noticed in some of your prints that the pieces start to come off the bed prematurely, or the corners or edges are starting to warp and curl. If so, then you’ve seen first-hand how necessary 3D printing adhesives are for the best parts and products possible.
So what is 3D printing adhesive?
In short, 3D printing adhesive is something that you use to ensure the part(s) that you’re printing stay firmly planted on the print bed. The adhesive could be one of many things, from tape, glue, or hair spray to 3D printing specific surfaces and adhesives designed precisely for different filament types. Any way you look at it, 3D printing adhesive is just some sort of solution or surface that helps the print stay in place on the bed.
This process is known as print bed adhesion.
What Is Print Bed Adhesion?
Just like it sounds, print bed adhesion is the actual process of catering your 3D printer’s print bed to make sure that the parts you’re making stick to it. This can actually be done through a number of different methods or products, with actual 3D printing adhesives being just one way. Print bed adhesion is necessary to produce the best parts and products, otherwise they might start to curl, warp, and even fail in some cases.
While using one of the 3D printing adhesives that you’ll read about below is certainly our favorite way to get your prints to stick to the print bed, there are other ways to do it. Some of these alternative methods of print bed adhesion include:
- Getting a 3D printer with a heated bed
- Roughing up the print bed surface
- Tape pieces to the print bed as they’re being printed
Of these options, getting a heated print bed is the best one in our opinion, since it will continue to work in conjunction with the adhesives seen below without having to cause any additional damage (i.e. roughing).
What Is The Best 3D Printing Adhesive?
Now that you have a better idea of what 3D printing adhesive is and why it’s so helpful to get the best final products that you can, let’s take a look at what you really want to know. The best 3D printing adhesives on the market. As you’ll soon see, you might be surprised at some of the top options. You don’t need to break the bank spending money on any fancy, high-end adhesive that’s specific to 3D printing. You might have a couple of these items lying around the house!
Elmer’s Disappearing Glue Stick
That’s right, we’re talking about a standard Elmer’s Glue glue stick that you may very well have sitting in the drawer at your house. If you have kids, then chances are very high that you might already have some of this. But if not, you’ve probably used it plenty of times when you were a kid yourself, for all sorts of different projects. Who would’ve thought that a glue stick would come in handy when you’re 3D printing your own products years later?
But here we are. And Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Glue Stick is our single favorite adhesive to be used for 3D printing. While the main point of the glue stick is the glue itself, we chose the disappearing purple glue stick for a reason. It’s super easy to apply and you’ll be able to see where you’ve already put the glue, so you won’t miss a spot!
This way, you can cover the entire build area quickly and easily and ensure that your print will stick to the plate much better than before.
Wolfbite 3D Printing Adhesive
If the Elmer’s glue isn’t doing the trick for you or if you’re interested in looking for a potentially better solution for a specific filament type, then Wolfbite adhesive is for you. This patent-pending product was designed specifically for 3D printing, and the early results of its effectiveness have been incredibly promising.
Wolfbite adhesives are designed to be used on a glass plate with a heated print bed. The formula of the adhesive is heat-activated, so when the heated print bed and the warm filaments come in contact with one another, the adhesive activates and grips the part tightly. The magic of it all is that when the part and the print bed cool down after printing, the adhesive loses its grip and the part is easily removed from the glass plate.
The company has also designed the various formulas to ensure that they have one that will work with whichever filament you’re using. They currently have five different adhesives on the market, so you should have no problem finding one that will work for you.
LAYERNEER Bed Weld 3D Printer Adhesive
Bed Weld comes with an applicator to make it as easy as possible to use, meaning that you won’t make a mess during the application process. This product is formulated to work with a variety of filaments, including PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA, and CPE. If you’re using any other filaments, we suggest going for one of the other adhesives on this list.
Paul Mitchell Finishing Hair Spray
This is another 3D printing adhesive that you might be surprised to see on the list, but hair spray is shockingly effective! Without going into the nitty-gritty details of exactly why it works, hair spray is one of the easiest products to use to ensure that your print sticks to the print bed throughout the entire process.
Unlike any of the other adhesives that you see here, hair spray literally just takes seconds to apply. Simply clean the plate off and then point the can and spray. Voila, instant print bed adhesion! The key to using hair spray as a 3D printing adhesive is that you want to get a spray with as few additives as possible since they have the best properties for adhesion when it comes to 3D printing.
There are a few different options on the market that work well for this, but our personal favorite is Paul Mitchell Finishing Hair Spray. This spray leads to great adhesion between the filament and the print bed, takes seconds to apply, and even smells good at the same time. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use 3D printing adhesive, this is perfect for you!
Salt and Water Solution
If all else fails and you have no other options on hand, then you can use a simple saltwater solution made in the kitchen. While this solution certainly won’t act as nearly as good of an adhesive as the other options on this list, it will be better than nothing. This works because many of the common filaments used in 3D printing react with salt on some level, so having a saltwater solution will lead to adhesion between the print and the bed.
The best way to use a solution of salt and water is to fill a spray bottle with water and put a few solid shakes of salt in it. Shake it up and ensure the bottle is in MIST mode. Lightly spray the solution onto the print bed and that’s it! It’s super simple to use and is more effective than doing nothing at all. So if you’re in a pinch, this tip could really come in handy!