Vapor smoothing

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Vapor smoothing

Post by psd » Fri May 20, 2016 3:06 am

I have read a few discussions on vapor smoothing PLA.
Thinking of buying an electric skillet.
Anyone know if it works on ABS and or PETG?

Does acetone work across the board or can anyone recommend the best solvents for the others?
- peter,

innovative product designer and tinkerer

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Re: Vapor smoothing

Post by Mach » Fri May 20, 2016 4:07 am

Acetone works on ABS. I don't believe it works on any other materials. I'd recommend that you not use an electric skillet. I've used one in a double boiler arrangement but it works too well. Acetone boils at 130F so it lays down an excessive amount of acetone on the surface. The surface, while smooth, gets a crazed or cracked surface that is embedded.

I've had some success with putting my prints in a paint can with paper towels stuck to the inside with magnets. It takes 20-30 minutes to smooth but is much more controlled. Boiling the acetone takes only a few minutes but is easy to over do it.

PLA supposedly can be smoothed with tetrahydrofuran, or THF. The MSDS made me shy away from trying it. PVC pipe primer apparently contains THF and other solvents. I have heard that some folks have had some success with acetone on PLA but I'm assuming that their filament was not pure PLA.

PVB can be smoothed with Isopropyl alcohol. Polymaker has launched a kickstarter for the filament and nebulizer but I have checked on it recently.

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Re: Vapor smoothing

Post by jsc » Fri May 20, 2016 5:10 am

Acetone and ABS is the only combination that is widely reported. Acetone and PLA does squat other than making the PLA somewhat flexible. Acetone has the advantage of being at least somewhat non-toxic (however, it might explode in your face). Other chemicals that eat plastics will eat you.

You don't need a hot plate, you already have a resistive heated bed:!msg/m ... rlfqyhsPIJ

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Re: Vapor smoothing

Post by Colombia3DPrint » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:15 am

Hey! I have been working with some PLA prints, as they said before, vapor acetone work great with ABS filament, but it does not seem to affect the PLA prints, So I decide to proof with "methylene chloride" it has a lot of different names, in Colombia we usually use it for paste acrylic productts. It works very well with PLA, but your have to immerse all the part just for some seconds, about 2 or 3 seconds for 5cm3 parts. it give you a great smooth and delete all print lines.!

If you cant get it, on my research found that "ethyl acetate" "chloroform" "tetrahydrofuran" could make a great job too, but I never use them cause methylene chloride works awesome, and all others chemics are forbideen because someppl use it for cacaine production x'D.

Remember wear glasses gloves and nosecover and all security stuff to work with, all those can get you toxic, specially chloroform, it can literally knock you out with 1 breath.

I hope it helps !

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Re: Vapor smoothing

Post by Jules » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:09 pm

Be so very careful with those. (Yeah, I know I sound like an old maw-maw.....but permanent brain/nerve damage would likely be worse.)

There isn't a plastic tchotchke worth that. You can fill the ridges with a product designed for the purpose instead....much safer and less damaging to the print to boot.

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