3D Printing (Part 3)

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Kapton (or Mylar) film

Kapton is great stuff and might be puzzling stuff as well! After printing a couple of parts and because of the lack of experience, big bubbles will appear, scratches will accidentally happen, thick deposits of ABS mixed with cleaning wipes debris will stick to the surface so that you will decide to change it. And has you only have 3 spares, you do not feel comfortable at replacing it.

The key trick is: Kapton is strong, the strength of the adhesive is not a major issue, so that you can place it, remove it (partially) and apply it again and again without the least problem. This leads to the advice of not cutting the Kapton edges but just wrapping it on the plate sides. All this is true as long as no debris get stuck by the Kapton adhesive layer creating problematic bumps on the printing surface.

Example given: Fatally, bubbles will appear  soon or later. Instead of rubbing and rubbing and rubbing the Kapton tape with the white pad, simply peel off the Kapton tape up to the bubble place and gently rub the Kapton tape back to its original position with this nice white pad.

Here is another trick. Acetone is the ultimate solvent for ABS. You may even use it to glue parts together. In case of printing failure, you may be tempted to dissolve the thin layers which remain on the Kapton film with acetone. Avoid to do so! Prefer the use of a surgical captel for gently peeling off the thin ABS films.

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As it is quite difficult to find affordable Kapton sheets or rolls of Kapton tape in wide sizes, I decided to try Kapton tape in one inch rolls. This product is quite easy to find and reasonably expensive. Positioning the stripes on the heated bed requires patience. The advantage of this option is that the individual stripes are easy to reposition and bubble removal is greatly simpler. The major drawback lies in the light groves on flat surfaces which are caused by the almost inevitable stripes overlaps.

 

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