I really can't tell how useful it is to have this tool in the workshop. I have various ones for a variety of uses. I bought a lot of professionnal squeegees, from 3M (P.M.-1) or Avery. But when you need it, you may not have a squeegee in good shape or clean enough or with the right tip for your use. Good news : you can literally make your own (or a bunch of) in minutes !
What you want is a flexible plate of any kind nor any size. The most important is to get the good flexibility for the job. If needed, you can add a material over one edge. The type of material is also up to you. Professional ones have usually a felt end for a soft contact avoiding scratches or marks on tender materials, like vinyl or Plexiglas. But some other kind of banding may suit different applications. Here is a quick list of the most used in my shop and their applications:
- Felt : for film and adhesives, paper/cardboard jobs...
- Fabrics : for glass, wax application, hot plastic shaping...
- Leather : for softly pushing things in, paper/cardboard jobs, honing/polishing...
- Microfiber : for cleaning, solvent removal...
- EVA foam : for spreading glue or resins, removing water, shaping silicone...
- Silicon : for paint and liquids, plaster, clay...
- Invent your own to match your needs !
- A 3D printed squeegee or a piece of plastic (polypropylene works well) or an old credit cart
- Double sided tape, resin or glue (tape works great for dry use, be sure choose the right resin/glue according to the future use, especially if you plan to work with chemicals)
- A banding of any appropriate kind (see above)
Step 1: Quick and Easy
Get your materials.
I like my squeegees 3d printed but occasionally I make larger or chemical resistant ones for specific uses. But basically you need a rectangle of half flexible material (credit card is a good flexibility reference), a banding of a kind matching your needs. Then you want some glue or a way to stick the banding onto the squeegee. For dry uses, don't try to reinvent the wheel, some thin double sided tape works just fine.
I recommend to keep one side free, and one side covered. But if you want to put a banding on each edges, try to use different colors or a way to differentiate each end. It's always safer to identify instantly what is the clean or the dry end. This way you will avoid mistakes that can botch your workpiece.
Prepare for gluing.
Wrap your double sided tape (or apply your glue/resin) over one edge. No problem on the 3D printed model, but I recommend to do not cover more than a third of the whole squeegee. Anyways only a small zone around the edge will be in contact with your workpiece, so no need to overkill. You just need to stay parallel to the edge. If you use glue, you can protect the dry side with painter's tape for a clean edge, and it's not a bad idea to let the glue set just a bit on the squeegee prior to follow the next step.
You can use a piece a bit larger than needed, it can be trimmed to size later. Wrap your banding piece over the gluing area. Double sided tape sticks instantly, but except if you use contact cement as glue, find a way to secure the banding in place during curing time.
Trim the tip to the desired size. Enjoy your new tool !
3D printable model
As usual, plans and printable 3D models are free. You can get it there :
Note, if you like it 3d printed and you don't have a 3D printer, you can as a friend, a fablab, or a 3D printing service to print if for you (there's a service at Thingiverse, follow the link above - no commercial relationship between the service and me, I like it free and open source).