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cloakfiend

Acetone Finishing on PLA

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Well the acetone does a similar thing as the heat:

It liquefies a thin layer of the the surface (If the heat is applied on all sides equally, (Good thing I have a toaster oven with a rotating thingy)) you rub it after heating it will smooth out the gaps, pushing the "hills" into the "valleys" whereas with acetone you are removing material off of both the hills and valleys, until there is a happy medium. I have recently found that sanding with some 600-800 wd after heat works better than rubbing. the reason for heat rather than acetone. The company I work for wants to make a public spectacle out of the 3d printing. I cannot in my right mind suggest to my employer to have a tub of acetone being opened and closed and laying around inside of a business (in a historical building (not great airflow)) with as much foot traffic as we have. It would be a pr nightmare.

I can totally see the headline read by our news anchor

"Coming up local business will help you with your foot pain but is it worth the headache?"

I think you are imagining that a lot more heat is being used then there actually would be.

This idea and question wasn't meant to question the veracity of the acetone method, it was simply to ask if you (someone who sees value in the quality of the finish) would have tried other methods.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

I've tried a lot, and Acetone is the best, and i fully understand the whole acetone safety business, believe me, i must have had hundreds of people emailing me from my you tube posts telling me how dangerous and crazy i was to be using acetone and how im going to blow myself up and all sorts of comments like that, but again, i know what im doing now, and can do it so easily i really dont see a point in looking for alternative ways. I hate wasting time, and putting something in an oven to slow melt doesn't sound quick to me and then needing to sand it all over after sounds even worse, That would make sanding areas with fine details impossible keeping the details. but with acetone, the areas with fine detail dont need ANY sanding, the detail after acetone is masked by the 0.06 layer height, and you only really need a touch of sanding over the plain areas as that is where the lines are likely to be most visible. also the reason for the quick dip in acetone is similar to what you are talking about.

Ill explain what i think is happening.. i could be wrong btw! but when you dip something the acetone starts to melt the impurities and as i do quick dips of 35-60 seconds (and no re-dipping depending what what brand of PLA i am using) when you take it out, the remnance of the melted PLA impurities fall into and settle in the gaps of the lines, then dries. This is why leaving it in acetone for hours will make things worse, as you are loosing to much of the impurities not letting any settle afterwards as most of it has already dissolved, and you will get heavy warping and you dimensions will start to change. Acetone is a dirty fix i admit, but it works, and i fi compare my models to un treated ones, and ask people to choose the ones they think look better they always choose mine. Sometimes the lines are ok and i leave them, but sometimes, i just dont want them.

From a business point of view as a presentation, I completely see your problem. I only managed to get my ultimaker by convincing my boss that acetone vapour would magically smooth my ABS parts after i read about it, but when i got round to doing it, it was not the caae, and i was very disappointed with the amount of detail lost to the acetone and the melting effect it had, hence switching to PLA which prints easier and stronger in my personal opinion, well on my UM2 anyway. then i did heavy experimentation and found that with certain brand it actually worked and gave a much better result than the ABS vapour method. Some people recommend other chemicals that are FAR more dangerous than acetone, but i've yet to see any actual photos that those people have done showing results that are as good as or better than my method. Its all talk as far as i'm concerned. I've more than shown my method works, and works well and very quiclky too, keeping maximum detail. Plus if you paint a layer of thin resin stlye paint you will see no lines at all, but covering your models in resin also does reduce detail, but may be you only solution if you are not wanting to open cups of acetone for demonstrations.

3D printing is not for everyone and unfortunately nor is manufacturing stuff, let alone treating stuff. Women bleach their hair, that is also chemicals, and use/used to use acetone for removing nail polish so id say it the safest option you have to create what you are trying to sell. We use many nasty chemicals in the house and industrial cleaning solutions for commercial buildings also, so people shouldn't freak out too much over the word 'chemical'.

acetone stinks i admit, and makes your skin go white, and other stuff with overexposure, and i doubt you will be able to get an open vat of acetone in your building, but i cant see a problem with a tiny little container like a sealable cup or something for a demonstration to dip a demonstration piece in. just do it far away and by a window. no one will die or anything. you can even ask any women if they want to remove their nail varnish as a joke! lol.

And remember the acetone takes a little while to actually work, like an hour or two, so don't expect results as soon as you take it out of the acetone! that is where i think a lot of people go wrong.

hope that helps.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA
I hate wasting time, and putting something in an oven to slow melt doesn't sound quick to me

 

remember the acetone takes a little while to actually work, like an hour or two

:D

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Posted (edited) · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Fair point! lol.

I should have just said its more effort in general than my method, my bad!

By time, i just meant monitoring or keeping an eye on it or general babysitting. I can dip my model and go to sleep and forget about it after 35seconds of effort, but i cant put in the oven and go to sleep, it would also need time to heat up and cool down not to mention all the rubbing mentioned afterwards and the fact that i dont thing it will work......the waiting thing after the dip is for best effect.

:p

Edited by Guest
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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Have you tried using different concentrations of acetone? I don't know what acetone will play nicely with but maybe a low.... concentration? would work the same with a longer dip?

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Yes i have experimented with different concentrations, dont even waste your time. Use pure acetone or nothing at all.

I even tried diluting the acetone with a little nail varnish remover and it didnt do a damn thing. the acetone needs to be absorbed by the PLA and when it 'sweats' is when it smooths. The sweat style condensation that appears after a dip are the impurities coming out and smoothin the surface.

You can dip it all day long with low concentrations to no avail. There is no avoiding using pure acetone. Anything less is a waste of time.

Ive spent many hours on this believe me, and diluting the acetone is a no go.

Think about it, even with pure aceone and pla you barely remove the lines so if you dilute it you wont even barely remove the lines.

I havent had the chance to acetone the new um blue pla i got, but the last stuff i had from um smoothed like a dream. You didnt need to dip it, you could vapour smooth it and brush it on untill you were happy the lines had gone. Im gonna be trying it soon so ill let you know.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Just a little update to let people know that UM brand PLA does NOT smooth anymore since they changed the recipe. i bought three rolls of it lol. well my next three will be colorfabb for sure. im sure they have not changed their recipe. ill let you know.

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Posted (edited) · Acetone Finishing on PLA

No i don't have any, but if the they are adding the same stuff to their filament, that in theory it should work. All colorfabb filament i have tried so far worked, but im not sure about the speciality filaments, like copper, bronze, carbon fiber, flexible......? Then again, i don't see the need to do it to those, as im only after a smooth surface that im going to paint after anyway. Maybe the XT20 for strength but i cant imagine it being 100 times stronger or anything. Im sticking to filaments i know and can print with easily. But fel free to let me know, get some acetone and throw a piece in for 1 min (no longer) then pull it out, if any residue come off on you hand then it smooths. Ignore the acetone going cloudy it just does that with PLA, it means nothing.

Tamiya putty is great for literally rubbing on your highres model, followed by a light sand with 400 -600 grit sandpaper, but this method is only viable for large smooth areas. when you get to areas of any detail this method will not produce great results without spending a lot of time and accuracy. Again, a resin wash will also fill gaps but lose detail (thats what that XTC smooth on stuff is, but it produces uneven surfaces compared to my PLA smoothing) which garners perfect layer smoothness. A little sand after on large plain surface usually helps forom a light sand but just to get it perfect.

I still have some old UM filament, so i guess ill have to break it out for my last few special prints, as it really was the best filament before they changed the recipe. It doesn't even go white in the acetone now, it goes grey almost instantly. In my opinion they just removed more impurities, leading it to becoming purer PLA hence having little to no reaction to acetone what so ever, nothing even came off on my hand after a dip of 5 mins. Even colorfabb comes off on my hand after 30seconds.

Ill have to try faberdashery or just pray colorfabb stick to their old recipe, Or else wait for new printer technology, because if i have to print with the lines showing, then i'd prefer not to print at all.

Edited by Guest

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Hey Cloak, I am going to test every liquid known to man (well a bunch) to see if I can get some better results for smoothing pla and xtcf20...

I'm probably going to test

rubbing alcohol (probably wont do anything )

acetone

a few potent bases (probably starting with NaOH)

and a few acids (probably starting with some watered down HCl)

Do you know of any print you can think of that would contain elements that are tricky to smooth?

I would like to test something with a 40 ish% infill, a section of thin material that I can measure to test the amount of material eroded, ets.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Also any test variables you would suggest would be greatly appreciated(duration of dip, time left to dry etc)

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Also ethyl Acetate. I use it sometimes on a cloth to wipe some parts smooth. Haven't tried dipping it though.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Also ethyl Acetate. I use it sometimes on a cloth to wipe some parts smooth. Haven't tried dipping it though.

 

Okay I'll look into...whatever that is...

We actually use Ethyl Vinyl Acetate for our foam products...random fact....I need more coffee. I'm on 15 hours here....

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

 

Also ethyl Acetate. I use it sometimes on a cloth to wipe some parts smooth. Haven't tried dipping it though.

 

Okay I'll look into...whatever that is...

We actually use Ethyl Vinyl Acetate for our foam products...random fact....I need more coffee. I'm on 15 hours here....

 

It's pretty much nail polish remover. You can buy it bulk if you find it works rather than tiny bottles

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

I've not tried ethyl acetate, on 'pure' PLA or PLA with no PHA in it or acetonable impurities but the non acetone nail varnish removers i've tried in the past did nothing. Im going to carry on using colorfabb, I have ordered another batch of red, and some green which i've not tried before, but i'm confident in their PHA mix which they seem proud of and state VERY clearly on their website and achieved great results so far so i doubt they will change their manufacturing processes soon. UM brand i assume do not have as much expertise in the filament making department, hence offering far less colours and issues with their original PLA filaments which all smoothed wonderfully.

here is what the current um blue looks like after 10mins of soaking.....nothing but a grey residue, no smoothing what so ever. If it was their old stuff, the lines would be gone and the model would also probably be completely melted after 10 mins.

20150914_193808.thumb.jpg.730dcefe2adb1cfc05d7f3550043de94.jpg

20150914_193808.thumb.jpg.730dcefe2adb1cfc05d7f3550043de94.jpg

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Ultimaker does not make filament, they just sell it...

They don't disclose there suppliers, but they probably use / have used multiple, so indeed it's impossible to know if you get the same stuff every time.

I have good reason to believe (they told me themselves..) that dutch manufacturer innofil3d (http://innofil3d.com) is (one of) there supplier(s).

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Posted (edited) · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Fair enough, Im not really bothered about who and where its made, but care more about consistency, and for people doing long print runs with specific brands for specific reasons, (in mine acetone smoothing), I cant have them change processes on me half way through, simply because one batch went wrong for them. If the consistency does not remain the same throughout then i cant predict the results hence adding risk to my jobs which is the last thing I want to be doing. Manufacturers like colorfabb should really advertise that their PLA smooths with acetone. It would greatly boost their sales, and UM would sell a lot more if they reverted back to 'their original recipe', and followed suit.

But as we know in this world nothing lasts forever. And all good things come to and end, as was the case with UM branded PLA

Don't get me wrong, it prints great, but seeing as i'm after smoothing capability, it went from hero to zero overnight. This for me was the first time PLA did not smooth for me. Utterly depressing.

Edited by Guest

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Posted (edited) · Acetone Finishing on PLA

So this is smoothing done on my last red batch of colorfabb PLA, went real well, lovely and smooth and loads of detail, but its hard to see with red. getting  my next batch real soon so ill confirm its still smooths as well as the new colours.

IMG_1023.thumb.JPG.6bc98be77d5f3fce3900eb102c9e75a8.JPG

if it comes off on your finger after 30 seconds, it smooths.

IMG_1021.thumb.JPG.e8997096ef37467e3e839d608962b8c1.JPG

no sanding done at all btw.

IMG_1023.thumb.JPG.6bc98be77d5f3fce3900eb102c9e75a8.JPG

IMG_1021.thumb.JPG.e8997096ef37467e3e839d608962b8c1.JPG

Edited by Guest

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

I try to keep track of everything being shared here but it could be that I miss something..

Do you know what it is in the filaments that allows them to be affected by aceton, and why some don't?

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Nope, i've no idea, but one thing that is in colorfabb is PHA, as they advertise this on their website, as well as other things im sure, but i have no idea. but it appears that they have no issues producing it and many many colours with it in, so they have hit a real sweet spot.

Just got my NEW colorfabb red and leaf green!

Red looks the same so i'm sure it will be fine,

20150918_101404.thumb.jpg.a8cd54721c2eb73826fbe10d2e3d7b48.jpg

20150918_101404.thumb.jpg.a8cd54721c2eb73826fbe10d2e3d7b48.jpg

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Im not feeling the leaf green, doesn't seem to print as good as the warm red.....

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Posted (edited) · Acetone Finishing on PLA

here you go @danilius .....

Im posting my Alien, but its high poly not flat on the ground so needs to be printed with support everywhere, and got a few errors around the mouth, feel free to fix them, will post a fixed one when i have time.

Link below: its not gonna be up for too long as im not paying for dropbox and am still limited to the 2gb limit.

5a33114c353e1_ScreenShot2015-09-19at21_13_29.thumb.png.04de677937e3b5a2a1a2d47ee0280e60.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4fb3ayq3b10v67j/XENO.obj?dl=0

ive not tested it so let me know if it doesn't work as i've quickly booleaned the edges which may affect the layering.

5a33114c353e1_ScreenShot2015-09-19at21_13_29.thumb.png.04de677937e3b5a2a1a2d47ee0280e60.png

Edited by Guest

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Thanks for the thread. I have been bothered about finishing my print jobs smoothly. Now I know how.

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Posted · Acetone Finishing on PLA

Weeeeeelll, thar's your problem, mate.

Thanks for the upload, I downloaded it, removed the lower geometry and stuck a plane on the back. You can use the "Cut off object bottom" function to reduce the thickness of the bottom. You can find it here.

This way, Cura takes care of filling things out nicely, as long as you don't need the hollow at the back. It also removes the internal overlaps from the lower geometry.

Also, you

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