Smoothing 3D Prints With Acetone Vapor

If you’ve ever used an extruding 3D printer, you know that the resulting prints aren’t exactly smooth. At the Southackton hackerspace [James] and [Bracken] worked out a method of smoothing the parts out using vapor. The method involves heating acetone until it forms a vapor, then exposing ABS parts to the vapor. The method only works with ABS, but creates some good looking results.

Acetone is rather flammable, so the guys started out with some safety testing. This involved getting a good air to fuel mixture of acetone, and testing what the worst case scenario would be if it were to ignite. The tests showed that the amount of acetone they used would be rather safe, even if it caught fire, which was a concern several people mentioned last time we saw the method.

After the break, [James] and [Bracken] give a detailed explanation of the process.

9 thoughts on “Smoothing 3D Prints With Acetone Vapor

  1. If one is careful, it’s probably pretty safe, but anyway did they test a situation where all their acetone catches fire and spills onto a big piece of ABS? ‘Cause ABS kinda bursts into flames out of nowhere, and usually when it’s already molten, so this might not be as safe as they think…

  2. These guys are five minutes from my house, I’ll take them a fire bucket!
    They are also doing this inside a plastic tent, which covers their donated space
    in a bike workshop, Darwin award anyone..? When you are working in shared space you folks really have a to think about the safety aspects of what your doing and how it impacts on other people, also awareness of what other folks are working with in your space is crucial.

  3. Anybody know what Form 1 models (Formlabs) are soluble in? Formlabs told me that their models are similar to Plexiglas which is soluble in methylene chlorides (MC). The Hack works perfectly with scratched Plexiglas and MC but Form 1 models appear to be impervious to MC.

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