TAZ 5 First printer, first print & HIPS vapour polishing

Good evening everyone,

I posted this originally in the user gallery - however it was suggested that I re-post here as the project involves smoothing HIPS.

My name is Dave and I am based in Bristol, South West UK.

I took delivery of a TAZ 5 about a week ago and have been having big fun getting used to it. It is my first every printer
and therefore experience with 3D printing.

I thought the equipment was amazingly well packaged and shipped and have done an out of the box video and first test print.

My first non test print was a Chinese Cellular Vase by the amazing designer Dizingof. I printed the vase 12cm high which took
about 12 hours using the Cura fine config using HIPS. I then built a forced air vapour polisher to improve the finish before
finally spraying with a pewter effect paint.

It’s my first output but I was quite pleased and very impressed with the printer & software !

Unboxing video : https://youtu.be/HtfW9acfFxA

Time lapse video of the print : https://youtu.be/WQ8Qt3pQQEQ

I have also posted some images showing my DIY vapour polisher.

Hope you like, comments most welcome for a Newbie :slight_smile:


What chemical are you using for your vapor polish? HIPS doesn’t react with acetone to my knowledge…only ABS.

Morning Jim,

Apologies - I did include the solvent of choice on the original post but seem to have omitted it in this post - duh …

You are correct, Acetone has very little effect on HIPS. Even in a test-tube the reaction is very very slow.

I used MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) rather than Acetone. MEK has approximately the same rate of effect on HIPS
that Acetone does on ABS.

The second vase I printed spent about 1hr in the cold vapour chamber with the fan running.



How dangerous is MEK vs Acetone? I consider acetone fairly safe if you’re in a large room and not standing over the can sniffing it for hours on end. Is MEK similar?

Do you have to buy it online or is it something you could find in a hardware store like Lowe’s or Home Depot?


Morning Jim,

MEK & Acetone are closely related but MEK is more aggressive or termed a ‘hotter’ solvent. Both have very similar handing
warnings - flammable, don’t breath fumes that sort of thing.

The good thing about constructing a simple vapour polisher is that you are not exposed to the fumes. The container
I used is normally used for storing flour and has a rubber gasket around the lid making it vapour tight. You only need
a small about of MEK (20-30ml). I open the container and immediately discard the MEK pad outside to evaporate. MEK
evaporates more quickly compared to acetone so this doesn’t take long before its solvent free.

I bought a litre of MEK on ebay for £7.50 delivered. You can’t even buy solvent based glue here in the UK without age ID
so bulk solvents are not generally available in the high street stores - methylated spirit and brush cleaner is about all you
will find here.

Hope that helps.



Hi Dave and All,

We just registered today and new in the forum. Our School just bought a Lulzbot TAZ 5 a while back and having a hard time figuring it out how to do a 3D print without the part peeling off the heat bed. We saw on a review at YouTube that told the viewers not to remove the PET plastic coating on the heat bed. But the person who unpacked the printer doesn’t remember if we did or not. How do we know if our heat bed still has the PET plastic or not? If it got removed accidentally what is the best solution for us to fix it? We are sorry if this is not the right forum to ask this question. Maybe someone can direct us to the right person. Thanks in advance for any help that you can give us.

Here is the link to the review that we saw:


FTC5380 Team

Hello FTC5380,

When I unpacked my TAZ 5 (my first 3D printer) there didn’t appear to be any obvious way of removing the PET film from
the bed - to be honest I didn’t notice it was even there such was the quality of the unit. There were a few bits of tape and
the usual ‘this gets hot’ health and safety type sticker but that was it.

It is possible your film might have been inadvertently removed as I personally have had no adhesion issues at all. For HIPS
and ABS I have been running the bed at 110C and then letting the bed cool right down at which point the part just lifts off.

However, fear not - Lulzbot supply packs of five replacement PET sheets : https://www.lulzbot.com/Pet-Tape-12x12-sheet-green-5-pack

Hope that helps ?



The video is a review of the TAZ 4, the previous version of the TAZ,

The TAZ 5 and TAZ Mini do not use PET on the build plate. It uses a .01" sheet of PEI which is slightly yellow in color. If removed, you would have the glass surface. For PLA, even with the PEI, you might try a layer of blue painters tape. PLA sticks well to it.


Thanks for the clarification Scott,

I have a question now …

So are you saying it is possible to remove the TAZ 5 PEI film ? My printer is currently printing so it’s a bit tricky to
see but I can’t say I noticed a coating but then at 0.01" and me nudging fifty that is not surprising :slight_smile: