Investigating Flash Breaker Tape

Investigating Flash Breaker Tape

Posted by Alex R English on Mar 17th 2012

We're always working to find better ways to do things.  We feel it's important to report on the things that don't work out as well as on the successes.

A while back we decided to try using Flash Breaker Tape as a print surface material, seeing if it had any advantages over Polyimide Tape (also known by the trademarked name Kapton).  Flash Breaker Tape is used in the composite manufacturing and repair industry, particularly in aerospace applications.  Ours came from Atacs Products. It is a thin-film polyester tape that uses a silicone adhesive just as Polyimide Tape does.  In short, we found that it does not perform as well as Polyimide Tape for print-bed surfacing, though it did work in one application.

Flash Breaker Tape

A Well-Used Application of Flash Breaker Tape on a MakerGear Mosaic

As compared to Polyimide Tape on a heated bed, Flash Breaker Tape (FBT from here on out) had similar adhesion for PLA.  Durability was similar, and smooth application to the print-bed was marginally easier.

ABS and Polycarbonate, heated bed or not, or PLA with a non-heated bed were a no-go.  We could not get reasonable adhesion with FBT for any of these tests.

While FBT worked reasonably well for PLA with the heated bed, it really didn't act substantially different from Polyimide Tape.  Because its application appears to be so narrow, and because of the relative scarcity of supply and higher cost, this probably isn't a material we will be looking any further into.

At least we have another thing checked off of our list, and hopefully this will be interesting to anyone who is looking into alternative print-surface materials.