3D Printed Replacing Kapton tape on a MakerBot. Source: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shtterstock.com
3D Printed Replacing Kapton tape on a MakerBot. Source: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shtterstock.com

If you look at the bottom of the MakerBot Replicator 2 extruder, you’ll see a piece of yellow Kapton tape. The tape is used to attach the white ceramic insulation tape. This design is to keep the extruder temperature stable and from losing too much heat. While we were printing, the yellow Kapton tape came off, became caught on our project, and tore. It was hanging loosely and so we carefully removed the tape and the ceramic insulation tape.

While we didn’t immediately notice a decrease in the quality of our 3D prints, we wanted to replace the tape. We contacted MakerBot and they sent us a precut piece of insulation and Kapton tape. This article explains how to replace the ceramic insulation tape and Kapton tape on the MakerBot Replicator 2. You can also reference the video instructions below.

Remove the filament.

This isn’t necessary but we found the extruder is easier to handle without the guide tube and filament attached. For information on how to remove the filament, click here.

NOTE: Be careful. The extruder may still be hot.

Turn off the MakerBot Replicator2.

Detach the active cooling duct.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the 2 bolts holding the active cooling duct. Once the bolts are removed, you can remove the duct assembled and allow it to hang free.

Remove the extruder from the gantry.

On the bottom of the extruder are 2 bolts, one on the left side and one on the right side, that hold the extruder to the carriage. Use a 2.5 mm hex wrench to remove the 2 bolts. Sit the extruder on its side, on the carriage, so you can easily access the nozzle.

Remove any of the old ceramic tape and Kapton tape.

Wrap the tape around the thermal core.

The ceramic tape has 2 holes in it. One of the holes is cut; this is the hole that will slip around the thermal barrier tube. The thermal barrier tube is threaded and is between the thermal core and the aluminum bar mount. Slip the tape around the thermal barrier tube from the right side and then wrap the tape clockwise around the thermal core.

The second hole should go over the nozzle. Notice there is also a small set screw next to the nozzle. Mark where the set screw is and then make a small hole in the insulation and tape for the set screw.

Trim the excess ceramic tape.

The ceramic tape is a little bit too long and you don’t want it to overlap. Trim any excess tape so the seam is flat and it doesn’t overlap.

Secure the ceramic tape with the Kapton tape.

Remove the backing from the Kapton tape and secure the ceramic tape in place.

Replace the extruder in the carriage.

Place the extruder back into the carriage, align the bolt holes and screw the bolts back in with the 2.5 mm hex wrench. The bolts should be snug but be careful not to over tighten the bolts.

Replace the active cooling duct.

Bolt the active cooling duct back into place with the Phillips screwdriver.

Load the filament.

We’ve read on the MakerBot forums that the ceramic and Kapton tape is prone to coming off in time. While this is the first time we’ve had to replace the tape on our MakerBot Replicator2, it’s a good idea to have some extra ceramic tape and Kapton tape on hand.