Jump to content
Ultimaker Community of 3D Printing Experts

Some preliminary experiments with THF smoothing of PLA prints


madoverlord
 Share

Recommended Posts

Posted · Some preliminary experiments with THF smoothing of PLA prints

So after reading the http://www.protoparadigm.com/blog/2013/06/vapor-smoothing-and-polishing-pla-with-tetrahydrofuran-thf/ about smoothing PLA with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thf, I got some of the solvent and started playing.

It goes without saying that this stuff, like acetone, is nasty and should only be messed with outdoors, with a respirator, googles, and nitrile gloves on.

Anyway, I built a simple vapor smoother but I was not particularly happy with the results. Also it can form explosive peroxides if you let it dry out, and that's always a risk with vaporizing the stuff.

I tried the el-cheapo cold vapor method (solvent in the bottom of a jar, nuts and bolts to form a platform that keeps the part out of the solvent, no heat) but my initial results were not promising. By the time you get significant smoothing, the parts start to crack. There may be a sweet spot in timing but I flashed on a different idea.

This was inspired in part by a

that bathes the part in a flow of solvent, which struck me as very complicated. But I put it together with some previous experiments I'd done in mechanical smoothing, and came up with this system.

 

  • Fill a small jar about 1/3 full of THF.
  • Insert part and seal lid (I made a gasket out of a sacrificial nitrile glove).
  • Use a rock-tumbler to ensure an even coating.

 

Here's https://www.dropbox.com/s/q5vkfa2ehv0pcmj/CIMG3121.jpg and https://www.dropbox.com/s/duly97d4fwuvrxo/CIMG3127.jpg pics of my first attempt, which was 5 minutes of agitation of a broken scrap part. Let me know what you think and what suggestions for improvements you might have.

Update: here's what the https://www.dropbox.com/s/uwincyw1dy48ulm/CIMG3130.jpg after another 5 minutes in the chemical jacuzzi...

 

  • Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
     Share

    • Our picks

      • New here? Get ahead with a free onboarding course
        Hi,
         
        Often getting started is the most difficult part of any process. A good start sets you up for success and saves you time and energy that could be spent elsewhere. That is why we have a onboarding course ready for
        Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, Ultimaker S5, Ultimaker S3 Ultimaker 2+ Connect.   
        They're ready for you on the Ultimaker Academy platform. All you need to do to gain access is to register your product to gain free access. 
        Ready? Register your product here in just 60 seconds.
          • Like
        • 11 replies
    ×
    ×
    • Create New...