When is kapton tape useful as a bed adhesive?
I've long since been aware that some people swear by Kapton tape as a bed adhesive, with MatterHackers claiming that Kapton tape is the recommended bed adhesive for ABS.
What makes Kapton tape so useful for printing with ABS? Is it also useful for printing with other materials?
I've had limited success with Kapton tape; I believe this is a holdover from when beds did not typically get hot enough for ABS. If your bed gets to ~80C, Aquanet (or another ultra-hold, non-lubricated hairspray) is better than Kapton tape. For the best results, use the Anycubic Ultrabase heated to 90C.
Personal experience with ABS from Ultimaker in a UM3E: use UHU glue stick, works like a charm. Kapton tape sticks way too much, is a pain to remove from the bed when it's used, and you always risk breaking your print when you try to pry it off the Kapton tape.
I tested Kapton tape for PLA, ABS, PETG and XT. I know it works for other materials as well. What you need to keep in mind is that many materials only stick to Kapton tape well if you use a heated bed.
The advantage of Kapton tape in comparison to other materials is its heat endurance and mechanical stability. It protects the glass underneath, while you remove the print from the surface. Some filaments stick so well to glass that you may break chunks out of it.
The major disadvantage of Kapton tape is the time to apply the tape to the print surface and its very smooth surface pattern which seems odd in comparison to the rest of the print.