If you haven’t started using a glass bed on your 3d printer, then you have come to the right place. I will take you through the reasons you should consider transitioning across. There are a lot of different types of build plates and all have pros and cons. Some of these surfaces include metal (also magnetic), BuildTak, painter’s tape, glass, and more. New types of build plates are realised every year, but in my opinion, glass is the ultimate printing surface.
I love glass so much all of my printers have a glass bed, even my CR10S Pro V2 has one.
Reason #1: A Glass Bed is supremely flat
Your brand new out of the box printer is shiny and amazing. But the bed that’s come with it will never be perfectly flat. Printers are shipped with a metal printing surface, which is slightly bowed toward the centre or edges. These beds are flexible and cheap and should be treated as such.
I get irritated when people bend the flexible or metal beds to remove prints. They have basically started the deformation of their printing bed. Also, repeated printing and heating can warp your metal build plate further, so the more you use it, the worse it gets.
The quality of your 3D prints depends on how to level your bed is. If your bed is slightly bowed, it can cause you a massive headache. 3D Printing is all about tolerances. Poor tolerances and precision can lead to crap print quality and poor bed adhesion.
But there is a solution, in a glass bed. The glass bed will always remain flat, hard and smooth, it will not deform over time or with heat. Perfect. you cannot bend it so it is even more likely to never deform by your hand.
Reason #2: Glass beds save on prep time
Glass is super quick to prepare. I’ve never gone down the route of using painters tape of hair spray but I’ve read it’s an absolute nightmare to clean. It’s bad enough to have a long print time but if you have to add bed set up a time to it too it can be very annoying.
Clean the glass and move on, it will save you so much time.
Reason #3: A Glass Bed is easy to clean
Cleaning a glass bed takes less than a minute to do and to be honest I don’t even do this before every print. I mostly clean the bed every morning before a day of printing or if the prints start to lift around the edges. Use some 90% IPA and a clean cloth, rub it all done and your good to go.
Reason #4: Bed Leveling
Bed levelling is much easier with a glass bed.
You are guaranteed that your bed is flat, which means that there is no hollows or humps on your surface that you are levelling. If one of your metal beds corners are hollowed and you level it to that you might be wondering why your printing nozzle is too close to your bed, its because your warped bed has been levelled to its low point and that’s not good.
Also (and I know this might be overkill), when you use your feeler gauge to level the bed against and the glass surface, you won’t get a depression against the glass bed. You will be guaranteed the distance is the distance you need. The surface of a metal bed may depress slightly depending on the material. But even this tiny depression will cause you to scratch your head and wonder “WTF”.
Remember an Ender 3 3D printer has a tolerance of around +/- 0.1mm so even the tiniest adjustment is enough to through the whole printer out.
Reason #5: Glass beds give your prints a smooth, shiny surface
If you’ve followed my Instagram journey you will see that I like to design and print retro handheld stands. Glass is perfect for those sorts of prints because the bottom of the print turns out supremely shiny and flat. Glass will always give you a smooth, flat and shiny first layer. (Just make sure your bed is levelled first).
Reason #6: Glass beds are an inexpensive upgrade
Glass beds are a very inexpensive upgrade to your 3d printing setup. My first ender 3 glass bed cost me under $30, while the CR10 glass bed (which is much bigger) was less than $40. If you are buying your first printer I would highly recommend buying a corresponding glass bed. It improves on time, print quality and your overall sleep.
Removing prints should be simple. I get really irritated when I see people bending the flexible or metal beds to remove prints.
So with a glass bed, once the print has stopped and the glass bed has COOLED FULLY, the print should be very easy to lift off of the plate. Sometimes the print will “pop” right off the bed. This is one of my favourite things about owning glass beds, no more hacking at your build plate with a scraper, scratching the surface, just practising waiting a little bit longer for it to cool. Go and make yourself a cup of tea while you wait.
Types of Glass bed
There are several types of glass that you can use for your bed some use a piece of glass cut at their local store, others get a machined piece from the likes of Amazon and the top tiers get what’s called a Borosilicate glass bed. The Borosilicate glass has better resistance to temperature than some of its lesser companions so, printing at higher temps for other materials can be achieved.
Both of my printers have the Creality Carborundum glass beds, which has a slightly dimpled top surface, which aids in bed adhesion and print removal.
Pros & Cons
|Inexpensive||Additional set up required for Z limit switch|
|Flat Surface||Cheaper solutions can be dangerous|
|Easy To Clean||“Heavier” build plate|
|Great for bed levelling||Additional cleaning is required, for good print adhesion|
|Good for a lifetime(Virtually)|
The transition from metal beds to glass can be night and day. Recently I had the pleasure of helping my friend set up his ender 3 pros. He has been printing on the metal bed for a while but eventually purchased the Creality Carborundum glass bed. To say he was surprised by the difference in the first layer print quality was an understatement.
So I hope this has helped in your decision process about buying a glass bed for your 3d printer. They really can massively improve your print quality and considering the price, I believe it’s a no brainer. Just keep the glass bed clean and dry and you should be good to go.
Well, this has been fun, I hope you have learned something, I know I have, having researched a bit more on the topic and asking our discord community for their input.
As always, thank you for visiting and I will talk to you soon.
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