Ok all my mad scientists and homebrew chemists out there, it’s time for a little alchemy. I proudly present to you the greatest thing since loaded nachos: Wyqid’s Bed Tack.
Once you go tack you never go back. No more glue sticks for you my friend. (I hope you were not using hairspray…) This simple formula will give you amazing bed adhesion, easy release when your print is finished and the bed is cooled, and cleans up with just a few swipes of a paper towel and distilled water.
So what is Wyqid’s Bed Tack?
Patience grasshoppa…. Patience.
Let’s talk quickly about how you use it. When freshly made, the formula is a very low viscosity liquid. That means it is not thick like syrup, but flows like water (distilled water is the primary ingredient, like the soda you just drank). It is applied in just one extremely thin coat. Just enough to give your bed a shine. It is applied with a sponge so you use a very minimal amount. You do not pour it on, just 2 to 4 drops will cover your entire bed. One small 4 ounce bottle should be enough for hundreds, if not thousands, of prints.
To make application easy, you should use squeeze bottle and sponge-style paint brush. You can find them at your local dollar store usually, or you can get them pretty cheap online.
How does it work exactly?
When your print bed gets hot it activates the formula and actually gets more sticky. A nice little chemical reaction from drying slightly. It also serves as a protective wafer-thin layer between your print and the bed surface. Once your bed is cooled to room temperature, your print should come off very easy. When cooled, the formula has a reverse chemical reaction and does not stick to plastic. The bed might feel just a little sticky once cool, and you can see the glossy look of the previously fresh tack is now dull in appearance, but it's still there and ready for the next print. Added bonus: It doesn't usually leave any print lines. Yep. You heard me right.
If you are ready to print another object right away, you can simply swipe some fresh tack over last layer and make it shine again. In practice you actually can print multiple times without using another coat of bed tack.
Between prints I usually dampen a paper towel with distilled water and give it a quick wipe. This renews the existing tack still on the bed. You should only do this for maybe 5 or 6 prints, or if the bed no longer feels slightly sticky. Either way, after 5 or 6 prints or a few days you should wipe all the bed tack off with a damp paper towel and apply fresh tack. (I'll explain that more below.)
There is no scrubbing or scraping involved here people. There is no need to apply a lot of pressure. The magical tack is very water soluble.
Ok, I got it Mr. Wyqid. How the heck do I make it???
Without further ado, let's get cookin.
- 4 ounces of Distilled Water
- 2 teaspoons of PVA glue (School glue, you know… Elmer’s glue. The white or clear kind is fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon of Distilled White Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of Unflavored Gelatine Powder.
I have included links below to buy all the items from Amazon if you cannot find one of them at your local grocery store or that giant blue and gray mega store that provides China with half it’s GDP. I forgot the name but I think it starts with a W. The distilled water (and probably the distilled white vinegar) you should probably just buy at the grocery store. A gallon of water is heavy and cost extra to ship because it's a liquid. You'll pay $12 a gallon online, but only about $1.69 a gallon locally. The unflavored gelatine powder and white school glue is cheaper online. You may also have a hard time finding the unflavored gelatine at your local store, probably because you are looking in the wrong section of the store. It's often with the baking goods, or where they keep the stuff for making your own jellies, jams, and preserves.
Once you have the ingredients, read the directions below FIRST. Don’t just start mixing stuff or you might be vaporized. I’m just kidding. There is absolutely nothing dangerous about the formula. But if you want it to work right, follow the directions.
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Heat the distilled water for 1 minute in the microwave. Or be lazy like me and have Keurig make you 4 ounces of hot water, which is a lot faster (60 seconds or so). It does not need to be boiling, just nice and hot.
Once your water is hot, stir in the unflavored gelatine powder until it is all dissolved.
Next, add the PVA glue and distilled white vinegar and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Allow the solution to cool to room temperature.
Congratulations! You are officially a basement alchemist. Pour the liquid into your squeeze bottle.
Now squeeze a few drops onto your clean glass bed and spread it evenly across the entire bed surface. Paint the fence Danielson.
Remember, we are not trying to soak the bed and get it sloppy wet. A very thin shiny layer is all we want. Less is more. The bed can be cold or hot, it doesn’t matter. I usually apply it to a cold bed and the shiny coat will fade when heated. You are now ready to rock.
Keep the sponge brush in a zip-lock bag so it doesn't dry out and harden.
Wyqid’s Bed Tack should has a shelf life of a year or so. The only biodegradable thing in it is the gelatin. The solution is acidic enough to be very resistant to bacteria. Do not refrigerate the tack.
The bed tack actually lasts a very long time, BUT... and this is IMPORTANT... reheated bed tack gets stronger over time. MUCH MUCH stronger. I had a bottle that I used for months, and because I didn't fully clean my bed every so many prints I keep adding on more and more tack. Older tack piled on top of more tack will practically become superglue. Just make sure to get all the bed tack off at least once every 3-4 prints before applying more.
The formula will become less watery and more like a gel after a few days or so, this is normal. One tiny box of gelatine powder will make a boat load of tack since you only use a teaspoon at a time. I've been using it a year and I've only used 1 packet out of the 4 packets that come in a small box.