What is Kapton polyimide tape?
Kapton is a polyimide film made by DuPont in the 1960s. It has been used successfully in applications at temperatures as low as -269°C (-452°F) and as high as 400°C (752°F). Today, Kapton polyimide tape is adopted in a wide range of applications, including 3D printing. So today we are going to show you how to apply Kapton polyimide tape onto 3D printer.
Why use Kapton polyimide tape in 3D printing?
Kapton polyimide tape is used for 3D printing, because printing materials like ABS plastic(Acryliontrile Butadinene Styrene), adheres very well to polyimide. It is used to form a surface for the ABS to lay down and cool. In a well-calibrated 3D printer, the ABS part, while being printed, will not detach from the polyimide surface.
How to apply Kapton tape to 3D printer?
Many people use the wet method, AKA soap water method. The basic concept of this method is that the water generates a buffer between the adhesive and the plate, making readjustment of the tape a little easier. However, there are several issues with this method.
Step 1- Create Soapy Water Mixture
Fill a spray bottle with water, then mix in a few drops of dish soap.
Step 2- Spray Bed and Tape With Soap Water
Spray the entire plate with the soap water mixture.
Pull enough tape off the roll to cover the entire bed. Also spray the water on the adhesive side of the Kapton tape. Do not be afraid to use too much, as we will be removing the water in step 4.
Step 3- Apply The Tape
Apply a moderate tension on the Kapton tape and lay the tape lightly down onto the bed. Having someone to give a hand here, will make this easier.
If you are like me and is doing this alone, you can stick one side of the tape on the table, and gently pull the other side.
Step 4- Push The Water Out
Use a plastic card or squeegee, start to push the soapy water out from under the tape.
Step 5- Trim Waste
Once all the water and bubbles are pushed out. You can then trim the excess Kapton waste off.
Step 6- Remove Leftover Moisture
After removing all the bubbles and waste, put it aside and let it dry completely. I usually let it dry for at least a day.
If not dried, the water once heated, will start to evaporate. Thus creating bubbles under the Kapton tape.
Alternatively, you can speed this up by heating your bed on low heat (60°C). This will speed up the drying process, and should take about a hour.
Check our video, in witch we go in more details comparing all the methods and tapes.
What Kapton Polyimide Tape To Use?
If you want to skip the wet method, and apply tape directly to the print bed. Check out our linered kapton polyimide tape.
- Comes with stiff liner, which helps the tape to stay flat. Making one person application much easier.
- Minimize bubbles during application.
- No need to wait for bed to dry.
We also have a double-sided verison, which comes with the added benefit of creating adhesion between the printing object and the print bed, reducing shift during printing.