I have a 3d printed (ABS or PLA) case which houses small single board computer. I want to glue it to glass (car's windshield from the inside) so that it sticks nicely and does not vibrate. However, there should be a chance to remove the case from the glass later if wanted without damaging the glass in any way. Will someone recommend suitable adhesive and removal method (heat etc.)?

  • $\begingroup$ Double-sided sticky tape - for removal alcohol ... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 30 '18 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ Something else to think about, PLA in a windshield in a car will likely get pretty warm and warp a little(or a lot). Especially thin walls $\endgroup$
    – GisMofx
    Apr 2 '18 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Tesa Powerstrips may be an option, though I don't know about their aging stability in sunlight. $\endgroup$
    – Robin
    Apr 4 '18 at 7:58

Because the surface is a windshield and because you wish to have it somewhat removable, consider Solar Mike's suggestion of double sided tape, but add in a parameter for outdoor use. 3M makes a great high density foam tape that I've been using for many years to attach miscellaneous items to the windshield.

The surfaces have to be clean, of course, and the bond between the tape and the plastic should be secure. Because you're considering the plastic to be 3D printed, you may want to sand the surface with fine sandpaper, even to the point of getting it glossy for the best bond. If you construct the part with ABS, performing acetone-vapor smoothing will give you a good surface.

I would suggest to attach the tape to the plastic surface and allow it to bond for a day, then bond the assembly to the windshield. You can see how well the tape is bonding by looking at the glass, pushing against the box to work any visible bubbles out.

I've recently noted that Eclipse Sunshades switched adhesive pads on their product to this 3M product (grey foam adhesive) perhaps because the other verions previously used would release. I'd clean them off, put this 3M stuff in place and be assured of a solid attachment.

Removal means careful slicing with a knife or razor, then additional mechanical removal (fingers scraping) followed by any convenient solvent (acetone - use carefully) or alcohol, although I've not used that, and windows cleaner.

mounting tape

  • $\begingroup$ What about vibrations? How dense is it? Foam may introduce vibrations. The device will have a camera performing computer vision so it should stick to the windshield as much as possible. $\endgroup$
    – Kozuch
    Mar 30 '18 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ The stuff makes a pretty solid bond. It's foam tape only in that it's not a single layer of adhesive and as such allows for removal with a sharp instrument, but I don't believe that it will permit detectable movement. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Mar 30 '18 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Just reviewing your answer after some time. The 3D printed surface to which the tape is attached should probably be as smooth as possible, right? Glossy is probably the smoothest is can be while being flat. You talk about sanding - surely that may mostly remove the "printing lines" from the extruder, but will not make it perfectly flat alone. The acetone-vapor smoothing is a good idea but is likely not a trivial task to do. I think simple painting with a spray-paint may be easier to do and produce very flat/glossy surface. Am I right? Would appreciate your comment if you can :). Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Kozuch
    Jul 1 '18 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ I've built an acetone vapor smoothing system which I consider trivial. A hot plate, large glass cookie jar, frying pan of water (double boiler) and a means of suspending the part being smoothed. Once the acetone vaporizes and fills the chamber, the part is smoothed in 30 seconds or less! Sanding by placing sandpaper on a solid flat surface and moving the part creates a flat part. Hand held sanding means rounded surfaces. High numbers of sandpaper, starting at 100 grit and going to 400 or higher gives smooth surfaces. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Jul 1 '18 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Of all the possible combinations, a painted surface may be the least attractive answer. The paint must bond to the plastic and to the tape and not separate from either interface. Even a non-sanded 3D printed part can be strongly bonded to the tape if sufficient pressure is applied to form the foam to match the ridges. This stuff works on brick surfaces! (well, that's what the pictures show!) $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Jul 1 '18 at 21:33

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