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tsp42

Dissolving PLA using ammonia

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I might have found by accident a new way to dissolve PLA that might be useful to remove PLA support from print. At least it worked very well to dissolve my headphone cups that I printed with colorfabb copperfill filament when I tried to oxidise the copper. I placed the headphone cups in a closed plastic container with a small cup filled with ammonia water (25% solution). After 24 h the copper had turned into a very dark blue colour. When I tried to remove the cups from the container the outer layer more or less peeled off and the plastic had turned very soft. I haven't tried to repeat the experiment with ordinary PLA filaments. If you are going to try this, please do it outdoors and use gloves as ammonia is corrosive and not very healthy to breath. ABS appears to be resistant to 25% ammonia water so this may be a useful way to remove PLA support.

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Hey man came across your thread and it looks interesting! i wanted to know how you're finding the copper filament? did you upgrade your hot ends to print with it or are you running stock? Also since you have the ammonia available, mind testing this idea again? would be a good alternative to the PVA support structure.

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It is not the easiest filament to print with. I had a lot of trouble with the nozzle clogging most likely due to small residues of colorfabb HT filament but after cleaning the noozle with a gas torch the problem disappeared. Now I'm struggling with underextrusion of the first layers. Post-processing is easy as the filament is rather soft and gives a really nice copper shine. I did upgrade my hot end to E3D v6 but mainly for printing high temperature filaments as copperfill did print fine on the standard UMO hot end.

I will try testing the ammonia on some cheap PLA in the weekend to see if it still works.

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