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I have been reading that glass plates are really good, and the bed plates with the Makerbot Replicator+ are all not so good (I have had curling issues).

So here's the thing: thus far I've been able to cut the curling down by a) putting down a layer of gaffer tape, this seems to work well, and b) some Aqua Net which also seemed to work pretty well too at least so far (fingers crossed on latest print). I also found that simply putting a plastic bin on top of the Replicator + and using paper sheets (basically a huge pad with post-it strips on the top that I cut up) seems to do a reasonable job of keeping the temperature even -- the Z18 I use never seems to have curling problems and I suspect that temperature constancy is a huge factor.

Anyhow, I wondered what would happen if I tried to put a glass plate on top of the bed. I am assuming that I'd have to set the Z offset to like, a whole 4 mm or something crazy and that I'd probably end up with a printer crushing the extruder against a hard surface and all kinds of terrible things would ensue.

To be clear, I was thinking, get a sheet of tempered glass, clip it onto the build plate with like, binder clips or something. Replicator + build plates aren't heated, so I figured at the very least I ran the risk of having an extruder shoved forcefully into a glass plate which then proceeds to break in half.

So thoughts? Is putting a glass sheet down a really stupid idea? Like crazy stupid? It's not like I have a super duper urgent problem here, but I was curious.

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Yes, you can add a sheet of glass to virtually any 3D printer.

But, having a heated bed is pretty essential to printing on glass. Although it is possible to use a glass bed on an unheated 3D printer, it isn't recommended to do that as you'll be running into issues with adhesion.

Glass beds work best when you apply heat and an adhesive like glue stick, hairspray (both are pretty obsolete nowadays) or preferable dedicated print adhesion sprays (3DLAC, DimaFix, MagicGoo, etc...).

Glass, when heated will provide:

  • A very flat surface (aids in leveling)
  • A very flat and shiny/mirror finish bottom layer (great when gluing halves together)
  • A means to take out the build surface with the print to cool elsewhere (when the glass cools, the prints usually dislodges itself due to differences in temperature expansion)
  • A means to quickly change the build surface to start a next print on a new sheet of glass
  • A surface that can easily be cleaned with common household products (glass does provide enough resistance against more aggressive cleaning solutions as well)
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this explains a lot and answers the question I had -- is a heated bed essential? -- because so many discussions of it seem to assume you have one, or that you don't need to say whether a heated bed is essential or not. $\endgroup$
    – Jesse
    Nov 19, 2021 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Jesse It depends on the materials you print, PLA and PETG can be printed on an unheated bed surface. But printing it on glass successfully without heat would require to put down tape on the glass. That is pretty counter productive. The "sticky" bed adhesion solutions also work better with heat. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Nov 19, 2021 at 23:10

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