One of the reasons why Polypropylene (PP) has not been too successful in 3D printing so far has been due to the difficulty of printing it, due to the high warping effect presented by common polypropylene filaments. Due to this problem the Spanish company "Smart Materials 3D" has been developing the new PP Smartfil PP filament (1.75mm or 2.85mm) which is a PP filament specially additivated in order to improve its adhesion to the printing surface and thus reduce the warping effect.
Until now, the only way to adhere polypropylene prints to the base was to use polypropylene packaging tape on the base of the 3D printer (due to the affinity between the material itself). But after months of research, Smart Materials has managed to develop a liquid adhesive called Smart Stick that makes it possible to print polypropylene filament without having to apply PP packing tape on the base, which is more complicated to apply and often leaves bubbles on the base that leave a mark on the print.
Smart Stick is a liquid adhesive used to improve the adhesion of FDM parts to the manufacturing surface. With this liquid a strong contact adhesion is achieved by eliminating the warping produced by the shrinkage of the material during printing due to the thermal difference produced.
Smart Stick is particularly suitable for use with Smartfil PP (Polypropylene). Because of the chemical nature of polypropylene, its use for 3D printing is really complicated, due to the incompatibility of this material with most of the existing adhesive materials, causing the part not to adhere to the surface. Smart Stick acts as an interface between the material and the base, achieving a great adhesion.
Although it has been developed to facilitate the printing of Polypropylene filament, Smart Stick is also a valid fixative for the great majority of filaments in the market such as ABS, HiPS, PLA, PETG, Nylonstrong, etc.
In addition, due to its packaging it presents great ease of use, unlike polypropylene tape which is more complex to apply due to the need to have to use a spatula to get to apply it without leaving air bubbles that would leave marked the final piece.
Tips for Use:
Applying the Smart Stick adhesive liquid is very simple. The main steps to take into account are the following:
REMOVE THE SEAL FROM THE CONTAINER: The first time it is used, it is necessary to remove the internal seal under the cap to prevent the contents from spilling before use. Therefore, unscrew the applicator cap and remove the internal seal.
APPLY THE PRODUCT: It should be applied homogeneously on the printing base. This will create a thin adhesive film that will provide adhesion. Once the product has been applied, it is recommended to close the can again to prevent the liquid inside from drying out and clogging the nozzle.
DURING THE PRINTING OF THE PIECE: Smart Stick is a product that works both on 3D printers with and without hot bed. In the case of hot bed printers, the ideal operating temperature is 70-90 ºC. In prints where high adhesion is required, it is recommended to increase the temperature of the base between 90-100 ºC for the first layer in order to achieve a high adhesion between the material and the adhesive and then reduce it again to 70 ºC in order to increase the structural capacity of the adhesive.
EXTRACTION OF THE PIECE: Once the piece is manufactured, the union between materials is very strong, so it is recommended to introduce the tray in water so that this union is weakened and can be extracted later by using a spatula. Another "homemade" trick is to introduce the glass tray with the adhered piece in a refrigerator or freezer to accelerate the cooling.
CLEANING THE PLATFORM: In many cases, the layer created once the adhesive has been applied can be reused with the same results. Once the layer is defective and needs to be replaced, it is necessary to apply hot water to the print tray so that the adhesive is weakened and then remove it with a spatula. PrintaClean can also be used to clean the platform. It is recommended to use the product on a glass base or a removable base so that subsequent cleaning can be carried out easily.