Smoothing pla and abs

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Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Ironicturnofevents » 2016-Mar-Fri-19-Mar

So I've had my printer for about six months and decided to try my hand on acetone baths on my prints. Still have to learn how much to use and the technics but acetone only works on Abs and not pla. I was told acetone would work on pla but all I get is a chalky white residue and little to no difference in the smoothing.
What I want to know is if there's anyway to smooth pla prints or is it a lost cause and should I just stick to abs from now on?
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Mar-Fri-20-Mar

There's a solvent that's sold as a "safer" MEK substitute that will vapor smooth PLA. Google should find it - I don't recall the name, but the Mooseville Ace had it when I looked.

Like you found, acetone won't work.

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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby frankv » 2016-Mar-Fri-22-Mar

Sorry, I don't recall the name of the PLA solvent either. It's the active ingredient in PVA piping cement.

I did try it, about a year ago, and found it didn't do a damn thing.
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby JonS » 2016-Mar-Sat-02-Mar

Smoothing PLA without risking death seems to be a lost cause, apart from mechanically polishing, or (easier) using XTC 3D or some other paint-on coating.

XTC 3D works pretty well in the one test I did.

http://www.smooth-on.com/Epoxy-Coatings-XTC/c1397_1429/index.html
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Mar-Sat-08-Mar

Ethyl Acetate, sold as M. E. K. substitute. Google PLA smoothing solvent and poke around in the results.

Acetone vapors are bad for you, IPA (both kinds) can be bad for you, spray paint can be bad for you, ABS fumes can be bad for you, turkey fryers can turn you into a crispy critter, etc. RTFM, and take the proper precautions.

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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby frankv » 2016-Mar-Sat-13-Mar

I wonder whether a hot air gun or steam or similar would work for smoothing PLA. Anyone tried it?
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby JonS » 2016-Mar-Sat-14-Mar

frankv wrote:I wonder whether a hot air gun or steam or similar would work for smoothing PLA. Anyone tried it?


It kind of works. I have a cheap, small hot air gun I bought to try it. It's difficult to get a uniform smoothing effect.
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Ironicturnofevents » 2016-Mar-Sun-10-Mar

Thanks everyone I'm looking into it now. As for the dangers of working with fumes, I wouldn't worry about it to much. I work a lot in home construction so I have the tools to stay safe(respirator,goggles, ect) and I was also told to do everything outside so there shouldn't be to much worry. As for the MEK substitute I'll pass by my hardware stores and see if they have any.
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Mar-Sun-15-Mar

Let us know how it works out, with pictures :) Much better than reading about in the other forums

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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Ironicturnofevents » 2016-Mar-Mon-18-Mar

So... i found Mek substitute out there, but Home Depot Didn't have it and i ended up getting it from this mom and pop hardware store. However it was expired(amazed chemicals can expire). So do you think it will still work or should i switch to a different tactic?
I also did some research and saw that Mek substitute (at least that from Klean Strips) is out of commission so they don't make it anymore and that i can find the pure form of ethyl acetate on amazon. if the Mek substitute doesn't work should i buy it?
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby kenedy » 2016-Jun-Wed-17-Jun

I have no idea indeed...can you explain more details about your problem,please???
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Jun-Wed-19-Jun

Wow, a probable spam probe from the Kurdistan Area of Iraq (according to whois.ripe.net). Haven't seen that one before. From the whois lookup:

org-name: Newroz Telecom Ltd.
org-type: LIR
address: Karez Street, Block, 52, Area, 415
address: Ein Kawa
address: Erbil
address: IRAQ

For the uninitiated, a spam probe is a no content post in an old(ish) topic, to see if anybody is noticing. If successful, and they bother to follow up, it can result in multiple posts until they're able to post links and deluge us.

I'm not going to ban/delete this just yet; I'd like to hear from the poster and have them describe life in the area a bit. Better yet, maybe even describe the Kurdish area of Iraq's 3D printing community if they're actually part of it. It would be great if I'm wrong about the spammer part, being only a fallible moose in a cave...

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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Jun-Wed-19-Jun

kenedy wrote:I have no idea indeed...can you explain more details about your problem,please???

Vapor smoothing removes the layer lines in 3D prints, making them look almost like molded plastic. It works by dissolving a small amount of the plastic on the outside of the model. Directions are available in multiple places, use your favorite search engine to find and compare them from several different places. In a hot desert climate you might even be able to use the sun as a heat source, but most use electric hot plates.

Be careful, and do it outside. The vapors are toxic, flammable, and can become explosive. Fire and big booms (unless you're Jamie) are not good things in your back yard.

Kirk

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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby JonS » 2016-Jun-Thu-00-Jun

I've backed Polymaker's Kickstarter campaign for their new PVB-based filament with alcohol nebulizer (not vapor-phase) system. The filament is called Polysmooth and the machine is Polysher.

Polymaker is a reputable and innovative filament supplier. I backed their first Kickstarter for their Polymax filament it worked out for me.

At the Bay Area Maker Faire they had a smooth booth dedicated to Polysmooth. The samples they were showing were beautiful. As I backer, I was given a smoothed print to take home with me. It's really quite lovely, and without wanting to break the part, I can tell that the material is strong.

Of course, it's a closed system (unless someone else releases a PVB-based filament), but my plan is to use is for those parts that I want to have a smooth finish on (which is a minority of the pieces I print).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/polymaker/polysmooth-and-polysher-3d-prints-without-layers
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Re: Smoothing pla and abs

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Jun-Thu-12-Jun

The polymaker looks pretty interesting, the filament prices aren't too bad even if they play the 750g/spool game, but the "Polysher" is pretty spendy. Hope it works out for you, and that you'll write up a review when you get it.

I'd still be worried about flammability, aerosolized ETOH sounds like a torch if a spark set it off. That makes it like all the other vaporizers I've seen, best to use outside and have a big fire extinguisher.

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