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My thermoplastic FDM printer has a heated bed and uses glass as the printing surface. Sometimes the glass will chip or break entirely when I'm removing my print. This happens most often when the print has a large area in contact with the glass.

What can I do to keep this from happening?

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    $\begingroup$ What kind of glass is your build plate made of? $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Jan 13 '16 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ What filaments are you experiencing this with most? What printer model? And what method are you using when trying to remove items from the glass buildplate? $\endgroup$ – PostEpoch Jan 16 '16 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @PostEpoch Mostly PLA, and a little ABS. The printer is a Zeni Kinetic Origin, which you haven't heard of because the company went bankrupt. To remove parts, I use a scraper to work between the glass and the print. $\endgroup$ – Martin Carney Jan 16 '16 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ Again, the type of glass matters. 3mm borosilicate glass should be fine. $\endgroup$ – Leo Ervin Feb 9 '16 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ don't use metal on glass, it will cause it to break eventually. this is especially true of pyrex. $\endgroup$ – dandavis Apr 29 at 21:54
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I use the glue stick method. I like to take my build plate out and put it in the freezer. The different coefficients of thermal expansion between the glass and plastic usually means that the part just pops off in the freezer.

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Some things I've tried that have helped:

Lay down a layer of masking tape. Most people who do this use blue painter's tape. The plastic should stick nicely during printing, yet release reasonably easily when you remove the print from the heated bed.

Lay down a later of Kapton tape. The principle is the same as masking tape, but Kapton tape has a smooth surface and is more durable than masking tape. The down side is Kapton tape is far more expensive, and applying it correctly is a LOT more work, since you have to use water and you have to keep bubbles from getting underneath it.

Put some ABS scraps into a bottle of Acetone, and allow the acetone to break down the ABS til you have a slurry. Spread this slurry as evenly as possible across the build plate, and allow the acetone to evaporate away. This leaves a thin film of ABS on the plate, and will release much better than if you print directly onto the build plate. I recommend using clear ABS if you can, since some of it will stick to your print and clear will be the least visible. You'll need to re-apply it regularly, since it will come off with your print where it touches the build plate. WARNING: Use proper ventilation and avoid contact with acetone. That stuff's not good for you. Also it's flammable, so keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

I prefer the ABS/acetone slurry method, but it requires good ventilation and a handy fire extinguisher. Also note that you don't have to print in ABS to use an ABS/acetone slurry; I print primarily in PLA and it makes no difference.

I've also heard of others using a glue stick or some other surface treatments that allow for good adhesion during printing while still allowing for easy removal.

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  • $\begingroup$ You mention needing water for applying Kapton… I'm unfamiliar with this. Can you point me somewhere with more details on it? I just apply it very slowly, using a credit card to smooth down and prevent bubbles. $\endgroup$ – Dustin Wheeler Jan 14 '16 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @DustinWheeler The first video tutorial when I google "applying kapton tape" uses this technique. $\endgroup$ – Martin Carney Jan 14 '16 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think you really need a fire extinguisher for acetone, though one is recommended next a 3d printer. The way it burns is not that dangerous also taking into acount what a thin layer you will be applying youtube.com/watch?v=ZJWhfpWlGFg $\endgroup$ – Leo Ervin Feb 9 '16 at 19:02
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You can try using a raft with a bottom that is not 100% solid. Something with lines or crossing lines will lessen the contact area with the bed making it easier to remove.

Note: reducing the adhesion to the bed will make prints more likely to fail.

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Richrap had a detailed blog post on this issue.

TLDR: Glass screen protectors (for ipads or other tablets) are wells suited to protect the glass from chipping.

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    $\begingroup$ While links can be useful, it is typically good practice to provide a short overview of what the link explains in the case of link rot. It is currently unclear that the link mentions glass screen protectors. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Mar 24 '16 at 14:07
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I have 2 suggestions.

First, get better glass. high quality borosilicate plate glass at least 3 mm thick should shrug off even scraping with a razor.

Second, don't scrape it with a razor, put the whole thing in the freezer (or fridge, or in front of a fan, wherever), borosilicate is known for having a very low thermal coefficient, so the plastic is going to shrink more than the glass and should pop right off

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  • $\begingroup$ beforre cooling in freezer, let it cool to room temperature or you blow up bed after bed in thermal shock $\endgroup$ – Trish May 1 at 11:38

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