3D printer bed clips tend to get in the way, and they will interfere with the area available on your print bed. However, what if I told you that you could secure anything to your print bed without using bed clips with a bit of creativity?
The 8 best alternatives to 3D printer bed clips are:
- Custom 3D printed clips
- Binder clips
- Painter’s tape
- Double-sided thermal tape
- Silicone thermal pad
- Borderless picture frame clips
So, let’s look at these printer bed clip alternatives together. I’ll explain the pros and cons of each and help you find a bed clip solution that will work for you, your budget, and your 3D printer.
1. Custom 3D Printed Clips
Are you feeling creative? Why not make a custom bed clip with your 3D printer?
Printing your own clips gives you the ability to free up printer bed space and eliminate any nozzle-knocking obstructions. Plus, you’ll have the option to use the colors and filament of your choice, making for a totally unique clip.
Of course, if you don’t want to go through the design and development phase, tons of custom clips are available from websites like Thingiverse. For example, I use these low-profile glass bed clips from Thingiverse user Dakanzla on my Prusa MK2, and they have served me well for several years.
Still, there are plenty more out there, so run a quick search for your model printer, and I’m sure you’ll find that someone has already put the work in for you!
2. Binder Clips
The most common alternative to branded 3D printer bed clips is binder clips. These cheap, small metal office clips are helpful for any binding purpose.
Still, some people complain that the nozzle hits the clips during print jobs. So I’ve found that it’s best to slide the metal “keys” out of the clip, leaving only the flat-ish metal piece if you want to minimize the possibility of obstructing the nozzle.
In addition, you won’t need to use them on all four corners. Placing two of them on the back corners usually does the trick, and it will also give you more print bed space.
In addition, binder clips can give your 3D printer a bit of a custom look since they come in thousands of colorful designs.
Clamps like these luluxing Stainless Steel C-Clamps (available on Amazon.com) are a cheap and durable alternative to traditional 3D printer clips, and you might even have a few lying around if you do any other sort of crafting.
Unfortunately, these clamps aren’t low-profile, so you may have difficulty with the nozzle hitting them when you make larger prints.
However, they hold down the bed tightly and are easy to adjust, so in my opinion, they’re a great alternative.
In addition, since you can adjust the tightness, you might be able to get away with only using one or two, making for more print space on the bed.
4. Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape is a convenient go-to tool for most 3D printers, and aside from being an excellent print bed adhesive, it can help you secure your glass print bed.
Painter’s tape makes for a suitable temporary solution, but it can come loose and wear down faster than the other clips and adhesives on this list.
That said, the most significant pro of using painter’s tape is that you can print objects on top of it. So, you won’t have to sacrifice any space.
Hairspray will do the trick if you wish to attach a glass plate to your print bed.
Hairspray will make one side (or both sides) of the glass sticky, allowing you to temporarily glue down the glass to the print bed and stick your print to the glass with one convenient, cheap product.
Since it sticks so well, most 3D printers recommend Aquanet Extra Super Hold (available on Amazon.com). I haven’t used any other hairsprays for print beds, but I will say that this one does the trick.
When you’re done, spritz your glass plate with a bit of isopropyl alcohol for an easy clean.
6. Double-Sided Thermal Tape
Double-sided thermal tape offers a strong hold that will resist burning or melting. In addition, it goes on the back of your glass plate, which means that you won’t have to deal with any clips or obstructions on the top side.
Tapes like this AVNTKER Thermal Adhesive Tape (available on Amazon.com) are fantastic for adhering glass to your print bed, and they usually last quite a while, too.
Still, you’ll have to change it out every once in a while, mainly if you use your heated bed at higher temps frequently. However, you get a lot of tape in one roll, and it’s incredibly affordable.
The only real con to using double-sided thermal tape is that it may leave a residue. Yet, all you have to do is wipe your bed and plate down with some isopropyl alcohol to remove it.
You can also use this tape for electrical purposes, so it’s never a bad idea to have some lying around.
7. Silicone Thermal Pad
A silicone thermal pad is a grippy, conductive sheet that you can place between your glass plate and print bed.
These pads won’t catch on fire or melt since they are silicone, but they get stickier when warm. So, as you print, the pad will grip more and more, making the bond super secure.
If you often use a glass plate, these are the way to go. They’ll last many years, and they don’t reduce the space on your print bed or obstruct the nozzle.
I always recommend this ZUPAYIPA Silicone Thermal Pad (available on Amazon). It is thin enough to keep the glass plate warm, but it grips perfectly. It’s also a decent size, so you can cut it down to make it fit your 3D printer model.
8. Borderless Picture Frame Clips
One tip I’ve picked up from other 3D printing enthusiasts and pros is to use the clips from borderless picture frames as bed clips. In fact, this super creative solution is probably the most affordable.
Clips like these Uxcell Picture Frame Clips (available on Amazon.com) are fantastic. They are almost the same clip style as the Creality printer bed clips, but they are easier to find and come at a fraction of the cost.
Still, these clips aren’t any better than the brand-name printer bed clips, and they may still obstruct your nozzle. However, if you only want an alternative clip because you’re on a budget, then these are the way to go.
There are tons of things you can use to secure a glass plate to your 3D printer’s bed, and they don’t have to be expensive or fancy.
Materials like thermal tape, painter’s tape, hairspray, and silicone mats are ideal if you’re looking for a way to maximize your print bed space. On the other hand, custom 3D printed clips, binder clips, and picture frame clips are cheaper, easier-to-find alternatives to brand-name products.