Kapton vs. Blue Painter’s Tape - What's the Difference?
At Gizmo Dorks, we're always looking for ways to optimize the 3D printing process, and one of the big questions when printing with ABS or PLA filament is what tape to use on the print bed. The two main contenders for this are Kapton tape and blue painter’s tape - but what are the differences between them? And which is the best for 3D printing?
Kapton Tape - NASA's Choice
Kapton tape is a heat-resistant tape capable of sustaining extremely high temperatures and was used extensively by NASA in the Apollo space missions. It's extremely thin and has a film-like surface, so it makes an excellent print surface - anything you print on it is sure to have a near perfect finish. Since Kapton has a very high heat resistance, it is perfect for plastic 3D filament that require a heated build platform such as ABS. The tape can withstand the temperatures required for printing ABS filament. It's also extremely durable and will last for a good number of prints before needing to be replaced. That said, it's very finicky - it's super thin and unwieldy, making it slightly more difficult to apply and remove versus blue painter's tape. Although it lasts a long time, there is a learning curve to getting your print bed covered correctly. Kapton adheres well to both ABS and PLA, but the smallest inaccuracies in bed calibration may cause problems. The tape will provide a near perfect finish if things go well, so it may be a worthwhile investment to mastering Kapton. All in all, Kapton is a very high quality 3D tape for both ABS and PLA filaments. We'd recommend it for more advanced 3D printers who are looking for high quality and have the experience to deal with Kapton's short-comings.
Blue Painter’s Tape - The Everyman's Solution
Painter’s tape, on the other hand, is inexpensive and easy to use. Applying it to your print bed is simple, and the ease of lifting and reapplying it makes corrections a breeze. The surface of blue painter's tape, like all masking tapes, is rough - this means you'll need to do some sanding work to get your model’s finish looking shiny. That said, the rough surface of 3D blue tape also makes it great for model adhesion, as ABS and PLA filaments stick right to it. Gizmo Dorks brand blue painter's tape is just as durable as Kapton tape. In addition, removal and replacement is super easy. The tape applies down firm and leaves no sticky mess during removal. Blue painter’s tape is a great option for people newer to 3D printing with ABS & PLA filaments who want a low-cost, forgiving, and easy-to-use print bed cover.
Contact Your 3D Printing Experts
If you've got more questions about 3D printing with ABS & PLA filaments, we're here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page or check out our full line of printing filaments. Don't forget to check this blog periodically for more tips and info on 3D printing, and until next time, happy printing!