Blue tape?

I found some tutorial videos on 3d printing that suggested using blue tape to help with bed adhesion. Thinking I was smart, I tried it on my Lulzbot, and I think it was a major mistake. I’ve been cleaning the bed and trying to print for hours now and all I get is plastic hairballs. Did I mess up my bed by trying this method or do I need to do something different to clean it?

What do you mean by plastic hairballs?

Do you mean the reside from the adhesive? Or do you mean the actual PEI sheet that covers the bed? If it is just cooked adhesive from the blue tape, you’ll have to keep on cleaning – rubbing alcohol, maybe acetone.

If it is the PEI sheet, you’ll need to scrape it off the glass and replace it.

I mean that extruded plastic no longer sticks, so it bunches up on the hot end. I cleaned the hot end, and I think it’s fine, but I can’t seem to get anything to stick to the bed after I tried the blue tape trick.

The tape surface bubbled and got caught and I was unhappy with it. I did some reading on the Mini’s bed and it said the glass surface had a special coating that helped with adhesion so I abandoned the blue tape, took it off and I’ve been cleaning and attempting to print for house now.

If I clean it with Acetone, will that effect the coating on the bed or harm later prints with ABS?

Blue tape works with printing PLA plastic. It doesn’t work at all for ABS or the other materials.

Acetone won’t really affect PEI all that much, but it’s safer to use rubbing alchohol instead if you can. If that doesn’t work, try the acetone. If that still doesn’t do the trick, you can try using “goof off” very sparingly and very targeted. If you spill that on the edge of the bed, it’s going to separate and then you buy a new one.

PEI plastic beds work really really well for ABS, and really pretty good for PLA too. You shouldn’t have to do much to them.

Good call questioning the acetone. Take a look at the chart referenced in this post:

It indicates some damage after 7 days of constant exposure at room temperature. So you probably can if nothing else works.

I’ve never put tape on my bed and I have no trouble with stuff sticking. I’m guessing the adhesive has gotten cooked and is interfering with sticking. I know some people sand their PEI sheets with superfine wet/dry sandpaper. That might get the gunk off.

Worst case scenario is scraping off the PEI sheet and replacing it. LB sells replacement sheets for $25 so it isn’t a major disaster if it comes that.

Thanks guys. This is my first printer, and I’m still learning. Are there any other tutorial videos or books you could suggest?

Blue tape, kapton all for bare beds of aluminum or glass… If you’ve read about ABS slurry/juice don’t use that either. The heated PEI bed that came with the Mini is superior for most filaments.

Ninjaflex or probably any TPU filament is the exception. It sticks too aggressively to the PEI. So its recommended to use blue painters tape.

Yeah… I’m still having no luck getting this to stick. I’m not sure what I could be doing wrong here. I’ve done about ten prints, cleaned the head and bed every time, applied the tape, did a print, removed the tape, and now NOTHING will stick. It’s getting to be very frustrating. I know there’s a simple answer somewhere… maybe unrelated to the tape?
Idk. I’ve been cleaning this for a long ass time with no change.

This forum right here is actually one of the best sources for knowledge out there in 3d printer land at the moment. Depending on what your interests are with 3d printing, there are a variety of youtube videos and articles out there. If design is an interest to you, read up on designing models for 3d printing (to avoid the infamous “try and print the fingers of a statue before the hand and arm they are supposed to attach to issue”). You might also be interested in looking up the various other filament types out there to see what can be done (ninjaflex, laywood, metal fillaments, etc.) You might also want to look for the “Lost PLA casting method videos” to see how you could theoretically turn your 3d printed part into a metal part.

Also take a look at the various tools that are out there. Get a good digital caliper if you don’t already have one, and an inexpensive point and shoot infrared thermometer for troubleshooting. A Calephon Gadgets Cheese slicer thingy makes an excellent part removal from the bed tool if you tape over the slicy bit (the one that looks like a spatula, not the wire one). You have automatic bed leveling but you may wnat to read up on bed leveling techniques just in case you get a different printer without auto leveling in the future, or to learn what the symptoms of an out of level printer look like.

You shouldn’t need it right away, but being aware of how to calibrate your extruder may give you better prints as you move into more advanced prints:
Look through the 3d printer visual troubleshooting guide. It’s not all inclusive, and some of those can also be other issues, but its a good place to start if you see anything wierd with your prints

Other community resources:

And feel free to ask any of us forumites questions.

What type of filament and what bed temps? I think you mentioned ABS. Are you at 110C for the bed?

Try sanding the PEI. Use a fine grit sandpaper.

Clean the hotend nozzle at ABS extrusion temps. Might have picked up some of the coating from the blue tape and affecting the leveling. When you manually home the hotend, can you pass a business card between the nozzle and PEI? Should be some resistance.

Thanks for the sanding tip. I’m guessing you guys are right about it being baked on.
I’m currently printing with black ABS from IC3D. All prints have been made in under a week and I thought I had cleaned it well. I haven’t changed bed temps from the defaults in Cura. I’ll check what that is when I get back to my printer.

Also, thanks to the gentleman that mentioned how cheap the replacements are. I missed that comment last night, but even if the sanding works, I plan to pick up a couple more for backup.

Thanks for the exhaustive reply, piercet. I’ll definitely check these out.

I suspect the blue tape adhesive truly did bake on. I sanded one third, cleaned another, and left the last one where I had cleaned up to yesterday. It stuck to the sanded spot, but not the other two. And the recently scrubbed middle part served no better than the section I didn’t touch today.

In short, kids… Blue tape on the Lulzbot Mini bed is stupid. Just say no.

Old thread but thought I’d mention something I ran across that might be helpful…
If you’re printing with blue tape you’ll be adding a mm or so of height to your bed. Since the Lulz Mini bed levels based on the metal spacers at the corner and not the bed itself that will screw up your printing. The “balling up” mentioned by the OP is probably a result of the tip being too low.

To change this you need to adjust your Z offset. This is done with the M851 command. You can use the Terminal tab in Octoprint to send this command to the printer, or use the desktop app if that’s how you print. Just typing M851 shows you the current offset and M851 Zxxx changes it. For instance if it’s currently -1.5 and you add some blue painters tape you might try M851 Z-1.25 and see how it does. More detail on changing Z-offset is here:

Can’t help you with the cleanup part but I haven’t had any issues with it baking on. Might be the quality of tape you’re using.