When it’s about 3D printing, so many things come to mind. And a lot of them have a direct impact on the performance of your 3D prints. One factor that plays a massive role in your 3D printing experience is the printing surface.
There are lots of options for 3D printing surfaces. But the debate between build task vs. glass will always come out on top. Choosing between these two can be a bit tricky for some people.
If you feel confused about this part, I am here to help you out with that. Here, I will tell you all about these two printing surfaces. I will also go through a little bit of comparison to see which one comes out on top. Stick with me till the end to find that out.
Let’s get started.
First, I will go through these printing surfaces individually and then dive into the comparison segment. This will draw a clear picture in front of you regarding both these surfaces.
About Buildtak Printing surface
Buildtak printing surfaces are like the stapling surface for most 3D printers out there. It’s the most basic option you can get for your 3D printing surface choice. It usually comes with an adhesive back that you can easily take off and stick to your bed. So, you get the ease of installation in this kind of printing surface.
Another great factor with this printing surface is your compatibility with different items. You can use almost any kind of material on this printing surface. Whether it’s PLA, PETG, ABS, TPE, HIPS, or PEEK doesn’t matter. You can even use wood fill material on this printing surface for your 3D printing models.
The design and build of this printing surface offer excellent durability. You can expect more extended service from this one without having any second thoughts. Along with that removing your prints from this surface doesn’t take too much work or time.
There is an option for adding a magnetic base to your print surface. Attaching the magnetic bed is pretty straightforward as well. With this attachment, you can start flexing your print bed without worrying about them popping off.
Now, it’s not all good about this printing surface. Just like everything else in this world, this one has its flaws as well.
One of the flaws is that it takes a good time to heat the bed properly. To get accurate temperatures on the surface, you have to make sure you heat them long enough. Otherwise, you will end up getting poor quality on your 3D printed models.
Even with the buildtak print surface, you will need a heated bed alongside that. While it may not be compulsory, but without a heated bed, you may come across printing issues. For the best possible results, it’s essential to have a heated bed paired up with this buildtak surface.
Yes, the printing surface is compatible with a lot of materials. But you will still need some special treatment for particular materials. You will need to use adhesives to ensure you are getting the most out of the material from your 3D printer. One of the common materials that require adhesives is Nylon.
Another issue you may feel with a buildtak print surface is that you have to remove them after every print. This means some form of maintenance is going on with this kind of surface. It’s not that difficult to do. However, it can become an issue for some people out there.
Altogether, buildtak is still a convenient and useful print surface to have for your 3D printing purposes. There aren’t any deal-breaking issues with the surface, so you won’t have to worry about that too much.
Related: Sandblasting 3d Prints
About Glass Printing surface
There are several glass types that you can use for your 3D printing surface. There is borosilicate glass, normal picture frame glass, mirror, and tempered glass. There are quite a lot of advantages to using glass as your primary printing surface option. This is why a lot of people prefer using glass surfaces.
The first one is availability. Sure, you can go with official glass printing surfaces made explicitly for 3D printing surfaces. But there are other DIY or alternative options you can try out as well.
For instance, you can get a glass from any picture frame that you find. These are affordable, and you don’t need to go through a lot of hassle to find them either. Also, they work out quite well for your printing needs. The only thing you have to keep in mind is, work with them carefully as they can be very sharp.
Another advantage you get with glass print structures is their easy installation and maintenance. You don’t need to work too hard or put in a lot of time to install them. All you need are some bulldog clips and a perfect place to let the glass surface sit.
As for the maintenance, you don’t need to remove a glass print surface after every print. After printing your 3D models, you can easily remove them from the surface without any doubts at all. It doesn’t go through any kind of wear or tear because of the hardiness on the surface.
Adding to the ease of maintenance comes the fact of easy cleaning. Since the glass surface is quite hard, you don’t go through a lot of trouble while cleaning it. You can even use a blade or a razor to get all the adhesive and remainder material off the glass surface. Remember to use any sharp object at an angle when cleaning things like this.
A great thing about glass printing surface has to be that it’s completely flat. There are no waves or any curves along the way on a glass surface. This helps in getting better quality on the bottom of the print surface.
Speaking of the bottom, you also get excellent smoothness coming from the bottom of the printed model. While the flatter surface helps them get that, the smoothness of the glass also has a direct impact on that. Since they don’t get stuck on the surface that heavily, you end up with some smooth finish on the bottom of your prints.
Once your prints cool down to their room temperature, you won’t have any trouble removing them from the surface. Because whenever the printed models become solid, they lose that adhesive nature on them. Now, this works out perfectly for a glass surface, as without any adhesive, the models won’t keep sticking on the surface at all.
Even with all these facilities, the glass printing surface is very affordable. You don’t need to worry about paying a whole lot to get this kind of feature on your printing surface. While DIY or alternate options are, even the official glass surfaces don’t cost that much.
There is no question about how great and effective glass print surfaces can be. But they also have their set of flaws. To be exact, there is one crucial flaw in them that you should be aware of.
Using a glass printing surface requires some preparation work. You have to prepare your glass surface to get the best results for your 3D printing. There are typically two types of preparations that you have to go through with a glass printing surface.
One is warming up the glass. Since glass can shatter when they suddenly change temperatures, especially when you take a cold glass plate and put it on top of a heated bed, it can easily shatter. That’s why you will need to make sure that you heat the glass plate before using it. In short, you have to take the glass through a gradual change of temperature.
Another preparation you have to do is, clearing up the edges of the glass. If the glass edges are still sharp enough to cut your hands, they aren’t ready for the work yet. So, this is a prep that you have to go through with a glass print surface.
As you can see, the drawbacks and issues with glass print surfaces can be easily avoided. These aren’t issues that should specifically stop you from using a glass print surface.
Buildtak vs. glass
Now, it’s time to get to the real thing here. Which one you should choose and why you should choose it. Well, to make things much simpler for you, I will go through the comparison between Buildtak and glass. There will be some factors that give you a clear picture of the comparison and which one you should go for.
Here are the differences that you should be wary of.
When choosing a print surface, you have to consider how good the print removal is on the surface. Here, I have to say; the glass printing surface is a clear winner over Buildtak.
While Buildtak isn’t necessarily bad, glass seems to be a better option. Because as soon as the printed model hardens up, you can easily remove it from a glass bed. Whereas with a buildtak surface, the process isn’t that simple. There is still some adhesion on the surface, making it a tad bit more complex than a glass surface.
So, if you are considering print removal, a glass surface is the way to go.
The winner here is also the glass surface. Once again, it’s not that buildtak doesn’t provide you with a smoother bottom on your print, but glass is just better.
Buildtak surface usually has some rough parts on the bottom with small indentations here and there. So, when you start printing on this surface, you get those feedback on the bottom surface of your prints.
On the other hand, the surface of the glass is completely flat and smooth. As a result, there are no imperfections on the surface to affect the prints. This is why glass is a better printing surface for getting a smoother bottom on your prints.
Ease of installation, use, and maintenance
When it comes to ease of installation, both are pretty similar. So, it’s hard to say which one is a winner there. However, there are differences in terms of usage and maintenance. And it’s going to be difficult choosing one. While the glass surface is easier to maintain, the buildtak is easier to use.
You don’t need to go through much hassle after using the glass surface for cleaning. It’s very easy to clean and keep clean. At the same time, you have to replace your buildtak surface after using it for a while because they wear out pretty easily.
On the other hand, when using a glass surface, you have to heat it before using it carefully. Otherwise, you may end up shattering the glass. With a buildtak surface, you don’t have to worry about that.
Considering all these factors, I would still say the glass surface is a better choice because they are very easy to clean and doesn’t need regular removal.
Finally, coming to the cost of both the printing surfaces, there is a difference between them. Even with all those advantages, glass is a cheaper option than buildtak surfaces.
Along with that, they are also very much available than buildtak surfaces. You can even use DIY solutions for finding an official glass surface alternative. This is why in terms of cost and availability, the glass surface is a clear winner.
So, these were the differences between the two printing surfaces. By now, you should have a clear idea of which one is better.
All in all, in the debate between Buildtak vs. Glass, you know who the clear winner is, right? It’s glass printing surface all the way, with a lot of advantages in different factors. But does that mean buildtak is bad?
Well, of course not. Buildtak is also quite excellent in performance. It’s just when you are comparing this to the glass surfaces; then there are plenty of advantages on a glass surface that you don’t get on buildtak.