Using painter’s tapes for better bed adhesion is nothing new in the 3D printing world. But, when it comes to heated beds, people tend to hesitate a little. After all, is it strong enough to tolerate the heat? And, most importantly, can you apply painters tape on heated bed?
Yes, you can apply painter’s tape on a heated build plate. They are quite porous and provide a strong grip on the hot filaments. Painter’s tapes are also heat resistant to a great extent (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
If you are someone having doubts about painter’s tapes, this article is for you. Here we have described whether you should tape your plates and the right way to do it.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump into it. Shall we?
- Is It Safe To Use Painters Tape On Heated Bed?
- How To Use Painters Tape On Heated Bed?
- Is There Any Alternative To Painter’s Tape?
- Is It Worth Taping Heated Bed Before Painting?
- Tips And Tricks For Using Painters Tape On Heated Bed
Is It Safe To Use Painters Tape On Heated Bed?
Using painter’s tape on your 3D build plate is completely safe. In fact, taping your printing beds is very common in the 3D printing world. But the question arises when you are using a heated bed for better adhesion. Here is the reason behind its safe use-
Higher Heat Resistance
If you also have fears regarding the tapes melting due to high heat, shake that off your mind now. Because one of the biggest advantages of a painter’s tape is its heat resistance. It can tolerate up to 350 degrees for half an hour straight.
Now, the temperature inside the machine would hardly ever reach that point. So, you are good to go.
Also, its ability to come off clean from a heated bed makes it more desirable than a typical masking tape. You see, one of the biggest fears with tapes is the residue it leaves afterward because it’s super hard to clean.
Sadly, the thinner and cheaper painter’s tapes might cause this issue too. So, you have to be careful and choose a high-quality one with a thicker base.
How To Use Painters Tape On Heated Bed?
If you have a PLA printer, you can probably get away with it without heating the bed. However, FDM printers and most other printers with high-quality Filaments would require a heated build plate.
That’s why it would be better if you learn step-by-step how to use painter’s tape on such beds.
Step 1: Pick The Right Tapes
The process starts with choosing the right type of tape. As we said earlier, you have to pick the thicker ones with decent heat tolerance. The cheaper ones might not provide the adhesion you want. As a result, your 3D object can warp.
There is some confusion over the colors of the painter’s tape. Blue tapes are the most popular type of painter’s tape available in work. But it can be green or even white. The color only specifies the brand and nothing special.
Step 2: Stick It To The Bed
Once you have the tapes on hand, it’s time to stick them on the build plate. For that, measure the length of the plate first. Then, use this measurement to cut the tape.
It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. Don’t worry. We recommend you to go above that length by 2 to 3 inches. You can cut the extra parts with a razor. That’s easy.
Now, start from one edge of the bed. Make sure you are holding the tape as straight as possible. Now, stick it gently to match the corners and edges perfectly.
Step 3: Invest In A Scrapper
Don’t use your hand anymore after the initial placing because it might cause bubbles to get trapped inside, leading to an uneven base. Instead, you should invest in a good-quality scrapper. You can never go wrong with it.
Once you have gently placed the tapes on top of the bed, start scrapping from one end to another. It will enable you to have an even base without any warps or wrinkles in the middle. The key is to avoid starting from the middle. Give multiple strokes to one place before moving away.
Step 4: Don’t Fold It Under The Plate
Remember we told you to cut above the measured length for safety? After the adhesion is complete, it’s time to cut the extra parts. Many people make mistakes here. They tend to fold the extra tapes under the build plate. They think it increases the adhesion to some level.
But to be honest, it doesn’t make any difference. We suggest you use a knife or razor to cut those areas.
Step 5: Avoid Overlapping
Now, you have to repeat the whole process again and cover the next area on the plate. Keep doing this until the entire plate is covered with painter’s tape. But make sure to avoid overlapping at all costs. Let the tape’s edges touch slightly.
You see, overlapping causes some areas on the plate to rise higher than the others. Consequently, there’s a high chance of warping.
Step 6: Remove The Tape
After building your 3D model, it’s time to take it off the plate. Let it cool for a while, so you don’t damage it unknowingly. Then, rip the tapes using a regular knife. You might have a hard time removing the pieces attached to the model itself.
Try to spray some Isopropyl alcohol. You don’t need much. Only a few sprinkles will be enough. Let it settle for a while.
Now, use a putty knife to scrape it off the plate. You should be able to accomplish it without any hassle.
Is There Any Alternative To Painter’s Tape?
Is painter’s tape the only way to create a base for 3D printing? No. There are many alternatives available today that people use and love. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Glue sticks are a wonderful alternative to painter’s tape. You don’t have to worry about getting an even surface at all. Swipe the glue stick back and forth until you reach the other hand. The Filaments will stick perfectly to the plate.
You can also try the purple glue stick. It allows you to see where you have applied the glue already. It’s convenient, to say the least.
However, cleaning the glue afterward is a big headache, even more so if it’s not soluble in the water.
Masking tapes are useful when you don’t want the paint to bleed through a certain area. If you have a non-heated bed, you can get away with masking tapes. It’s a very temporary solution. These masks are also cheaper than the blue painter’s tapes we mentioned above.
However, it has a paper-backing and is easy to rip off. We don’t suggest you use masking tapes in a heated bed. Plus, it might leave a messy residue.
Is It Worth Taping Heated Bed Before Painting?
Taping the heated beds is a great way to make your 3D imagination come alive. We would definitely recommend it for your next printing project. And here’s why.
The printer produces layers of filaments that need to grip the surface. But, the build plate or bed itself can’t provide such adhesion. As a result, the process becomes messy, and nothing stays in place.
Taping the heated bed can change all of that. Because it’s so porous in nature, the filaments have a nice & strong grip to establish a base. The tapes don’t allow any movement and keep everything collected.
Easy To Clean
The removing and cleaning process is a breeze. If you are someone who wants to scrape the model off the plate and go about your day, taping is the best method out there.
Read Also: Is Painters Tape Heat Resistant?
Tips And Tricks For Using Painters Tape On Heated Bed
We are almost at the bottom of our article. Since you have been so patient, you definitely deserve some bonus tips. So, here we go!
Clean The Bed Before Anything
Cleaning up the printing bed before you apply the tapes or anything is a must. It makes a huge difference. Just use some alcohol pads or any other cleaning solution you love. It enables the tapes to stick better to the surface.
Check The Temperature
The printing bed temperature can’t be “too hot” for the tapes. At the same time, it can’t be “too cold” for the filaments. You have to find the right balance. If the bed is too hot, the first batch coming out of the printer will have “elephant foot.”
That means the first layer won’t be able to handle the pressure of other layers on top of it. And, if it’s “too cold,” the first layer will lose its original shape due to contraction.
Use Wider Tapes
If you are a beginner, you are going to love wider tapes. The 4-inch ones only need two stripes or fewer than that. At the same time, the 1.5-inch ones will take 4 to 5 lines. That means you can reduce half of your efforts by switching to the wider ones.
Two Is Better Than One
Painter’s tape is a fine enough bedding. But you can increase the adhesion by complementing the tapes with another method.
For example, swipe the glue stick on top of the tape. It will give you double the amount of adhesion. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the glues since it’s not touching the bed itself.
Establishing the first couple of layers is crucial for 3D printers. If those layers buckle, the whole model will warp or collapse. That’s the reason hobbyists are so concerned about choosing the right type of bed adhesion.
We would definitely suggest you give the painter’s tape a try. Follow our detailed guide to create an even base. Not only because of the lower price points, but it also wins in the efficiency and easy-to-remove category.
So, what’s your thought on this?