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Visual Enhancement of PLA


aaron
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Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

Hello all, I am just hoping to get some information about enhancing the outer appearance of printed parts composed of PLA plastic. If anyone has any ideas, or has better luck at research than I do, I would like to know the following:

 

  1. how to polish (remove layer lines)
  2. how to finish or add a clear coat that reacts well with PLA (a chemical to add a shiny surface?)
  3. how to seal holes, cracks, etc.

Any discussion on this is appreciated. Thanks.

 

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    You can sand it under water with wet and dry sand paper. Some people have used car body filler with great results. I couldn't find it here with a search.

    Check out this thread.http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/467-post-your-latest-print/page-28

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    Thank you for that. What do you guys think about chemical treatments?

    BTW, are there any other fillers that you know about that would be good for suspending a weight for example in the middle of a hollow object? Thanks again.

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    The only known chemical that finishes PLA like acetone does to ABS is called "Dichloromethane". I wouldn't recommend it as it's toxic. Either switch to ABS, then you can use the non-toxic acetone, or try sanding, filing, and filling it with car filler as best as you can although you'll probably never achieve a look on PLA parts as smooth as on actone-finished ABS parts.

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    There are other nasty chemical choices as well.

    Pure MEK (not the MEK substitute you can get in the paint store). Also TETRAHYDROFURAN. I don't think I'd want to keep any in my house, but hey, we're all grown ups here.

    http://www.protoparadigm.com/blog/2013/06/vapor-smoothing-and-polishing-pla-with-tetrahydrofuran-thf/

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    Simply no. MEK is a only (a stronger) derivate of acetone. It does not work nor does THF. They only dehydrate the PLA material but don't treat it in a manner of dissolving and resolidifying when evaporating as acetone does to ABS. By the way MEK (also called butanon) as like acetone is not toxic at all. You can give them a try, but I promise that they won't work.

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    You can add a few layers of clear coat of 2 component epoxy "varnish/paint".

     

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    Posted · Visual Enhancement of PLA

    I'm a little confused by your response...

    Their pictures sure look like it was a reasonably effective treatment. It even has the same characteristic glove smudges you see in vapor polished ABS when you pull it out of the vapor by touching the part directly.

    I've used Plastruct Plastic weld, which is MEK based to solvent weld together PLA parts with great success so it's definitely doing more than just drying out the filament. That was with cheap filament though, so it's possible there was something else in the filament that was soluble in MEK.

     

    Simply no. MEK is a only (a stronger) derivate of acetone. It does not work nor does THF. They only dehydrate the PLA material but don't treat it in a manner of dissolving and resolidifying when evaporating as acetone does to ABS. By the way MEK (also called butanon) as like acetone is not toxic at all. You can give them a try, but I promise that they won't work.

     

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