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SandervG

Using the correct side of an Ultimaker glass plate

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Hello! 

You may have heard stories about glass plate having one side which brings you slightly better adhesion compared to the other side, or perhaps you have experienced this first hand yourself. 

Allow me to provide you with some background information and some instructions to figure out which side you should be printing on and which side you should use if you want to add an adhesion sheet. 

 

The difference is first introduced during production. When our glass plates are being made, near the end of the production line there is a hardening process. During the hardening process, the plates float on a layer of tin and are heated from above. This creates a difference between the two sides. 

 

There are two main factors that ensure good adhesion to the glass plate: wetting and flatness.
Wetting is the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface. Lower surface tension means better wetting. The non-tin side (i.e. upside during the hardening process) has a lower surface tension than the tin side. Therefore the non-tin side is recommended to print on. 

 

If the sticker that is on your glass plate fell off, you can do a simple small test to identify which side is which by placing a drop of water on both sides of the glass. (Not at the same time though). The non-tin side, the side you want to be printing on, is hydrophilic and the water disperses.

On the tin side, the water will form a droplet (this side is hydrophobic). If you want to use an adhesion sheet, it is recommended to stick it to this side. 

 

997772421_Glassplate_Sidetest.png.7b7dbf9a1fdf64bcd1705535690cf45d.png

 

Hope this helps! Let me know below if you have any further questions! 

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Wow, I had absolutely no idea that the two sides of glass were not the same. That is fascinating! I guess my "other" plate which has a chip out of it (CPE, I'm looking at you. I think it was you) should be best kept for use with adhesion sheets.

 

I often print with a thin coat of PVA (ok, actually hairspray). Does this negate the difference? One would think so, but since I had no idea about the glass, now I doubt everything 🙂

Edited by PaulK

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Really? So there are 2 different sides on the original glass? This is extremely important information!

Never knew this.  Some glasses, (i have about 5 on the UM3 and 2 on the UM5) are turned over because of chips. And the i remove the little sticker to be able to use it flat. After that i swapped the directions probably several times. Introducing a extr variable.

Sander, we should have known this much sooner!

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50 minutes ago, RudydG said:

Really? So there are 2 different sides on the original glass? This is extremely important information!

Never knew this.  Some glasses, (i have about 5 on the UM3 and 2 on the UM5) are turned over because of chips. And the i remove the little sticker to be able to use it flat. After that i swapped the directions probably several times. Introducing a extr variable.

Sander, we should have known this much sooner!

I am with you RudydG

 

As much as I appreciate the information; this should have be part of the original information as provided with the printer as well as with the replacement glass build plates.

 

I have always been told by both the  Ultimaker Support team and the distributors that both sides of the glass build plate are the same hence the ability to turn them over when chipped.

 

In my opinion; this is another great example of value of the aluminum build plate.

 

Takes care 

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17 hours ago, Smithy said:

I think it's only gonna make a difference if you print right on the glass. With glue or spray, it won't make any difference.

Hi Smithy

 

Your thoughts do not negate mine nor those of many others.

 

I have had random adhesion issues and after understanding that the glass build plate has completely different properties on each side I am certain that I “now” understand why.

 

Takes care 

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The sides of the glass plates are different? 😮 Never really saw much difference... I print on the 'back', relative to the sticker, of one of my glass plate due to the way it is slightly bent, and it sticks as well as the other side when the printer is properly calibrated, ie first layer is squished enough.

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Quote

On the tin side, the water will form a droplet (this side is hydrophobic). If you want to use an adhesion sheet, it is recommended to stick it to this side. 

 

I understand the difference between the sides if you want to print directly on glass. But why is it recomended to use the Tin side with adhesion sheet? What is the benefit to use Tin side with adhesion sheet? What will be the problems, if you will use the None-Tin side with adhesions sheet?

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@SandervG: This is weird, because I had the exact opposite experience when printing on bare glass, before I started using the "salt method. When the water spread out into a very thin layer, bonding of PLA would be bad: filament would curl up, the corners would lift, or the whole model would even come off. And vice-versa: when the water would stay in nice round bubbles, bonding would be reasonable.

 

Now, with the salt method, the water also stays in nice round drops. And bonding of PLA is very good, as long as the glass is warm.

 

So my reasoning was that the substrate (=surface to print on, thus the glass) should have a very high surface tension, and the wetting agent (=here the molten filament) should have a low surface tension. So that the molten filament easily attaches to the glass and spreads onto it. This is the concept what glues are based on, if I understood it well? (Correct me if I see this wrong.)

 

Anyway, salt increases surface tension and increases bonding of PLA. And soap and oils reduce surface tension and reduce bonding.

 

But I am no chemist, so I would like to hear the viewpoint of a chemist experienced in glues and bonding, for a better understanding of the basic laws of nature on this.

 

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:08 AM, zungara said:

 

 

I understand the difference between the sides if you want to print directly on glass. But why is it recomended to use the Tin side with adhesion sheet? What is the benefit to use Tin side with adhesion sheet? What will be the problems, if you will use the None-Tin side with adhesions sheet?

 

There won't be any problem if you use an adhesion sheet on the other side. But since the non-tin side provides decent adhesion by itself, perhaps you don't want to hide it underneath an adhesion sheet 🙂

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1 hour ago, SandervG said:

@geert_2, interesting that you have those experiences. Do you think the additives (like salt) make the water behave differently? 

 

Yes: they change surface tension: soap decreases surface tension (so the water spreads into a very thin layer), and salt increases surface tension (the water tends to pearl). That is how I came to the salt: I reasoned: if soap and oils reduce surface tension *and* bonding, then maybe I need something that increases surface tension, and hopefully bonding too? After googling, I found salt is one of the few things that increases surface tension. And it seems to work, at least for PLA, compared to printing on bare glass. But I am not sure this is the real cause, there could still be another explanation.

 

Also, in manuals on glue, you find that the *glue* should have a very low surface tension to make it spreak easily, so it can easily wet and penetrate the parts to glue. And thus the part to glue needs to have a higher surface tension than the glue.

 

I don't really know the chemics/physics behind it, apart from this simplification. If we would know more about the real mechanism, maybe we could find even better methods. And maybe this principle could also be helpfull for filament-development, to make it stick better to glass.

 

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