Thin Part Holding & Blue Tape

Hello Onefinity Friends,
Looking for some advice, when I am batching out these polycarbonate prints I spend a lot of time laying down blue tape. For one 2x2 ft sheet that is machined on both sides, I end up having to put down about. 16 sqrt ft of tape or 104 ft of linear tape. (there is a layer of tape on the parts and the bed. It also requires a lot of superglue as each part needs to be securely held down otherwise calamity insures.

Is there a better way that I am just not seeing? I have tried Super 77 spray adhesive and using the film but it didn’t hold great and I get nervous spraying it around my machine.

Save some blue tape…

If you need to machine both sides can you machine the first side with tabs and just screw the stock in place, then flip over, blue tape and glue and cut out the tabs. If screws are not an option glue down the cirners and points along the side.

If it is realy costly i hear of people making use of vacuum boards.

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In a similar situation but with wood I used the onion skin method. Don’t cut all the way through, leave a few 1000’s of an inch or less of material in tact. Then when done sand of the "onion skin and the pieces are “released”. Not sure if this is an option with the material you are using…

@AndyP I could do screws for the first side. That would help some. I would like to upgrade to vacuum table but it is cost prohibitive based on how many of these plates I am selling currently. Vacuums for that application are pricey!

@Satch Good suggestion but it won’t work for the polycarbonate.

Here is photo of the part I am making.

I have a set of your plates so I’m not sure why it has to be a 2-sided carve.

But, you could use double-sided tape and run it down the line between alternate rows of the dust boot shields. Each half of the length of tape will affix one row of the shields.

If you must do a 2nd side carve, I’d use the tape only for the first side. Then I’d flip them over in their cutout spaces. Once they’re all placed appropriately (& being stuck somewhat to the double-sided tape), I’d lay a sheet of 1/8" hardboard that has a set of cutouts but smaller than the polycarb ones. The hardboard will keep them from lifting or moving.

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Jim, it is just the main plate that requires the two sided. I put the magnets on one side and the pocket recess on the other, so the smaller plates are pulling them into the base plate rather than out. Maybe overkill. :man_shrugging:t3:

Two sided tape might work but I have had bad luck with it and polycarbonate, had a set of arms pull free when it was fully backed with tape. (Xfasten for reference)

Having a hard time visualizing your other suggestion.

Maybe I just need to find really wide blue tape. I just haven’t had much luck other that poorly reviewed items on Amazon and items I would have to buy in bulk off Uline.

Say your plates are 3" in diameter. You put down your sheet of polycarbonate and cut out the plates. Now you have the top layer done. You remove each one, turn it over and place it back in the hole it came out of. There’s still sticky tape (this process requires double-sided tape) to hold the plate in place in the hole. This is the tape I use:

Now you need the 1/8" hardboard (or any other 1/8" material) that you’ve previously cut 2 1/2" holes out of using the same zero point and design file you used for the plates (you’d have created the 2 1/2" holes as a separate toolpath that you only use for the hardboard but ensures that your second side pocket recess in the right place). You drop that on top of the polycarb sheet with the plates in it and the hardboard holds the plates down because there’s a 1/4" of hardboard to overlap the plate and hold it down. I’d screw or pin nail the hardboard through the polycarbonate into the spoilboard.

Does that make sense?


Im not quite getting the process/operations but if one if them is resessing holes try a drill; nett extra time might be less than taping down. If concerned about accuracy try a template or jig or tiny pilot hole from the otherside


It may be worth trying a graphic / sign shop for vinyl lettering release tape
I have a machine that cuts vinyl lettering and once cut stick release tape to the front of the letters for use when applying them to any surface release tape is basically masking tape sometimes available in different tac’s (stickyness) and in a wide variety of widths
I use 1" 2" 3" 4" 6" 8" 12" as that covers the range of vinyl’s i produce my local sign shop who I buy most of my vinyl and tapes from have stuff up to around 3ft wide
Not sure of how available wide stuff is or even the cost
Hope this helps

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I am going to check this out. Especially if I could score some at the dollar store.

Like this?

I use that for my laser projects (12"x100yds) but I hadn’t thought of using it instead of blue painters tape. It would be far quicker to apply and I expect much cheaper based on what the last blue tape I bought cost me.

@JimHatch What type would you recommend?

I use Enduramask. This is the specific one I use. For the laser I use the 6 and 12" sizes based on the size of the project I’m running.

You can get it on Amazon but instead of 100 yards for $55 you’ll get 100 feet for $35 last time I checked.

I use the medium tack (the one I linked to) which is similar to blue painters tape. Not sure if you’d want to use the high tack on the CNC to make sure it’s as stuck to the spoilboard as possible. With the laser, I’m just masking my wood and want it to be able to come off fairly easily (but not so easily that it’s lifting up as it gets cut by the laser).

I’m also not sure if it will superglue as well as blue tape. Let me run a test on it tomorrow and let you know how the medium tack I have works.

Thanks Jim. I appreciate it.

I tested it. The medium tack transfer tape I used held just like blue tape using CA glue (& accelerator).

I removed the plastic film on the polycarbonate before I put the transfer tape on. I did press it down firmly using a credit card on both the polycarbonate & the MDF board I was testing it with. Transfer tape’s adhesive is pressure activated so you want to make sure you press it firmly on whatever you’re attaching it to. That’s not on the label anywhere but it’s pretty important to get max holding power.

Great feedback on the release tape i will bear it in mind if i need wide tape
will make a change from buying 2" blue tape.
Does anyone know if you can buy CA glue in the uk in large bottles after spending most of the day cutting profile out i got through 2 1/2 50gram bottles

I use Starbond 2oz bottles here in the U.S. Here’s a link to a UK distributor:

BTW, keep it in the freezer between uses. It will last longer. (Freezers have very low humidity and CA glue needs moisture in the air to cure.)

Jim thanks for the Starbond pointer I have used it but sadly here in the UK we pay £10.50 for a 2oz bottle I buy Everbuild which I pay around £3 for a 2oz bottle its the same with Starbond activator
I’ve also used Titebond but again the amount I use makes it too expensive
Big thumbs up for the freezer I have a fridge freezer in the workshop I live on chilled water with ice and the is a dedicated box in the freezer for opened CA glue

I saw they have medium high and high strength as well. Would you recommend the medium or go with one of the higher tacs?

I tested with the medium as that’s what I use for my laser. I haven’t tried the high tack before. It would seem that it would hold tighter to the spoilboard & the polycarbonate and I don’t think the extra holding power would be a problem with removing it afterwards but that’s purely a guess.