I've heard that using hairspray is useful for keeping the 3D objects from peeling off of the bed, but every example I have seen where someone uses hairspray, they use it on a glass bed.
Is it okay to use it on a metal bed as well?
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I have been using a sort of a very strong hairspray called 3DLAC for about 2 years directly onto the aluminium heat bed of the Anet A8 printer I have.
Basically, all those sprays contain copolymer constituents, PVA (PolyVinyl Alcohol), Vinyl or Acetate. These are also found in certain glue sticks or wood glues. For me this spray works perfectly! On day one I assembled the printer, the paper tape tore and I was too anxious to wait for new tape to arrive. This worked so well that I have not changed it for that printer.
Cleaning is very easy as PVA or any of those constituents are solvable in water, so a moist cloth or paper towel over the plate is all to clean it. Furthermore, you do not require to spray before every print.
To answer your question if you should use a PVA based spray like hairspray directly onto the metal build plate is a matter of preference, but you definitely could use it as I have been doing it for about 2 years.
To address the comments:
I spray the heat bed platform whilst it is attached to the printer. I do pull it forward and gently spray the bed or just the location where the print is going to be build. Note that you do not need to do that for every print. I recently did notice very little spray on the X guide rods (maybe I have been careless once or twice), but that has not been a problem for my Chinesium iGus ripoff plastic bearings. It is very easy to clean with a damp cloth. It also works great on the glass bed of my Ultimaker 3E, but I usually (unless when I'm lazy ;) ) remove the slate of glass before printing. You could consider shielding the rods with a piece of paper, but it has not been necessary for 2 years.
I have a home-brew printer with a 3/8" thick solid aluminum heated bed. The bed is bare, with no additional tape, plastic film, or glass. For PLA I use purple Elmers glue stick or Aqua Net hairspray directly on the aluminum. For ABS I use acetone/ABS solution.
Yes, it is OK to use hairspray on an aluminum metal bed.
The adhesive that you use is determined by the type of filament that you are printing. For most types, PVA (White glue) will allow for adhesion to the build plate. Filaments like PETG will tear off the glue when it comes off the bed. PLA however does not. ABS requires ABS slurry, and Nylon sticks to PET film.
Do you mean bare metal or metal with some film on top? You can apply hair spray to bare metal, but you will have troubles cleaning it off. Solvents do not evaporate hair spray, they only turn it into thick sticky goo you will need to clean off. I recommend that you try glue stick or even beer (seriously) before hair spray.
You should also know that any adhesive is required only when your printer has bed leveling issues. After I finally dealt with bed leveling, I print ABS, and even ABS/PC mix (nasty) without any adhesive, on a bare kapton film over a metal bed. I rub it with alcohol before printing.