ABS Plastic Plus Acetone Means I Don’t Have to Sand Anymore   3 comments


The thing that has been slowing down Prometheus Rising Heavy Industries so far has been the post-processing and sanding of printed parts.  Even though I was happy to leave some print texture on some parts of my figures, there was still plenty of cleanup that went into each figure.  I have been hesitant to start a big production batch because the thought of all the sanding that would be needed was pretty intimidating.  A couple weeks ago, an interesting post on the RepRap Blog for homebrew 3D printing made the Twitter rounds and kept being sent to me by different people that knew I was big on home printing.


Since there have been home-scale 3D printers making parts out of ABS plastic, there have been people trying to come up with creative ways to easily clean up the print lines of parts, especially using solvents.  Acetone is an ideal choice for anything to do with ABS, and people have tried all manner of things from wiping down ABS parts with acetone soaked rags to dipping parts in cups of acetone, all with mixed results. A new technique simplified and made more reliable by the RepRap guys changes everything.  The method involves using a hot plate to vaporize acetone, creating a hot acetone vapor cloud that evenly normalizes the surface of filament manufacturing printed ABS parts.  I was skeptical at first, because the thought of vaporizing acetone and then finding myself on fire was rather unpleasant, but then I saw the results on the blog.  Rough, ridgy parts came out of the treatment mirror smooth like injection molded parts.  I knew I had to try it, and the results speak for themselves.  This is a game changer.



I was worried about detail loss, but that did not happen.  Instead, my test Tortoise came out glossy and smooth, with a finish most closely compared to enameled porcelain.  It’s unreal.  In around two hours, I achieved a nicer finish than a week of puttying and sanding would yield.  With a little care and preparation, the process is quick, easy, and reliable.  It’s smooth sailing from here on out, and now the only bottleneck in my process is the printing itself.



Strap yourselves in, because PRHI is shifting into high gear.













3 responses to “ABS Plastic Plus Acetone Means I Don’t Have to Sand Anymore

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  1. Looking good. I also like the idea inferred by you older Tortoises that in the future these mech suits are made of printed parts. This is where I think major manufacturing is headed.

  2. Wow. That is an amazing leap forward!

  3. Pingback: PRHI Acetone Treatment for ABS 3D Printer Parts Video | Prometheus Rising Studios

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