Replicator 1 Glass Build Platform

by AdanA, published

Replicator 1 Glass Build Platform by AdanA Dec 3, 2012
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Lemme jump to the punchline: don't use Kapton tape anymore!

We've just wrapped up a nice group buy thing-a-ma-jig over on the MakerBot Operators' Google Group. Hammerhead suggested posting the file so others could follow suit, and so participants could fly the flag.

This is a plate of glass that goes directly over the aluminum heated build platform on a Replicator 1:

  • 3.3mm borosilicate glass
  • 230mm x 150mm, +/-0.030" tolerance
  • edges seamed for safety


I made the buy from Industrial Glass Technologies in North Carolina. There was a $6.21 per plate charge, and a $50 minimum order. We cleared that pretty handily :-)

Once you have your plate, however you come by it, clip it to the top of the aluminum platform with either medium-small binder clips or printed clips (I modeled some that I'm using, but I'm not in love with them: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:35687). I'm looking into better options for holding the plate on/down.

Note that some people leave a layer of Kapton there between the aluminum and glass. I'm not sure if that helps or hinders things in any way. It's an insulator, but probably not very significant. I prefer the glass-on-aluminum approach.

You'll also need to trick your Z axis limit switch: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:35530

I've been using an HBP temp of 115°C, but I just applied thermal interface grease between my heaterplate and aluminum, so that may allow me to reduce the setpoint. Untested so far.

I've been having the best luck so far using hairspray on top of the glass to improve ABS stick to it. I use it liberally. I apply it outside the Replicator: it can't be good for all the moving bits in there. It's also important to raise the platform a half a hair (literally) to increase first layer "smoosh." From what I've heard (haven't yet tried), PLA is a gimme, even without hairspray.

Hairspray brands: I've only tried two;
1.) Suave Super-something-or-other: worked okay, smelled terrible (pump bottle)
2.) Fructis Extreme Control Anti-Humidity (with natural bamboo extract): dubbed by Hammerhead as "Nuclear Hold," it actually held so well that it allowed his ABS print to tear up a chunk of glass as it warped. Upon hearing that I rushed out to get some :-) Smells fruity. holds well. Reported to work with taulman's Nylon 618 too.

Others report success with Aquanet. I have a bottle but haven't tried it yet.

I use my little razor handle (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34481) to get stuff off. You could also cool the plate rapidly under water or in the freezer; the plastic and glass cool at very different rates.

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Any plans for another group buy in the near future? At that price I'd be in for 2 or 3 plates...

Hi there - I'm not presently planning, but may at some point. I'll let ya know!

Anyone still interested in getting a glass plate for their Replicator, you can buy them at McMaster-Carr from http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/3616/=m7w9kuhttp://www.mcmaster.com/#catal... at about $19.02 each.

I ordered one at: 9"x 6" at 1/8th Thickness and it seems to work just fine.

Sigh… they refuse to sell to me. I am not in the US.

That's unfortunate! Is there any kind of comparable industrial supply option that serves your region? It's a universal need.

Nope. I am still looking around. Hope ppl around here can do a group order again.

I hope so. I wish I were able to help with that, but doing two of those group orders was about as much as I'd like to do at the moment. Maybe a few months from now.... once I forget how much effort it took! :-)

Haha…. I will be first in your Q. And hope you willing to send it to Singapore.

Ha! If USPS goes there, sure thing.

Yap USPS does send here. Just got a nice upgrade from bottleworks by USPS yesterday and finish installing it a few hours ago.

That's great to know, thanks! I love McMaster-Carr.

The AquaNet Extra Super Hold hairspray works OK with the glass plate, but not great. Frederic Fekkai Coiff Sheer Hold hairspray was much worse. So the cheaper the hairspray, the better it works !

However, the best sticky surface I have found so far is to coat the glass with a thick solution of ABS and acetone applied on a hot platform by my finger.

Looks really messy on the plate, but it works great !

Interesting! I only tried that once and had little luck.... The print peeled, but then the rest of the plate was hard to clean. I'm glad it works for you, though.

I had to use a razor blade to clean the plate, but it was no problem.

The borosilicate glass surface is so much better than the aluminum HBP and Kapton, there's just no comparison. Note this is one situation where you should definitely buy two or three plates @ $6.21ea.

Well done Adan !!

If you need to cool things fast in order to get the print off the plate I would suggest possibly using a can of compressed air held upside down. Creates a freeze spray that will cool things VERY fast and everything evaporates quickly.

That's definitely effective! Sometimes it discolors the print (accelerants in the spray, I guess?). But if it won't come off some other way I'll turn to it, for sure. I used to do that a lot more when I was printing on the aluminum Rep1 plate. But now that I can remove the glass plate and not worry about damaging the main structure I'm rarely tempted.

Any ideas how this might relate to Replicator 2 and PLA?
issues i'm trying to resolve
1) flatness, the build plate came warped and isn't likely to get better
2) PLA has been shrinking, and popping off the plate mid build

I was thinking of doing this and frosting the glass lightly.

I've had good luck printing PLA with glass and hairspray. Also with blue painters tape. My glass was cut by the helpful person at Micheal's Hobby. My build platform is 60 C.

A glass print surface will definitely be very flat. I've never printed with PLA, so I don't know exactly how to deal with that... but it's my understanding that it's supposed to be very easy to print PLA on glass. 

You may be able to help adhesion by adjusting your leveling screws to "smoosh" the first layer a little more firmly into the platform.

Apparently there was a lot of research into this "back in the day" (past few years). I was referred to these two links by JetGuy on the MakerBot Operators Google Group:

Sanded VS non- sanded in the past:The negative point:http://groups.google.com/group/makerbot/browse_thread/thread/ca39f1b510aec9f9/3b5cb4dc9a2f8cf3?lnk=gst&q=sanded+kapton#3b5cb4dc9a2f8cf3Thehttp://groups.google.com/group... positive counter point:http://groups.google.com/group/makerbot/browse_thread/thread/e85966da4394c6fc/bad6acaad9ae2fac?lnk=gst&q=sanded+kapton#bad6acaad9ae2fachttp://groups.google.com/group...

Depending on the type of hair spray you use, just let the part cool on its own accord, and it'll practically pop off on its own.  And, if you have multiple plates, all you need to do to keep printing is to swap them out as you go...

Yeah, it's varied a lot, the degree to which it comes off on its own. I'm not sure I have a good grasp of all the variables involved yet. Time, time.