It is quite common to treat ABS 3D printed parts with acetone, by digging the part into liquid acetone or brushing the acetone onto the part with a slurry mix. For getting a smooth surface RepRapers have been experiementing different methods for getting a best result.
Neil Underwood has one goal: to do this with little or no money out of pocket. To do this process he uses RepRap's heated build plate, some aluminum foil, a hanger to bend into a hook to get the parts out with as well as a glass jar filled with 3-4mm deep acetone.
First he placed the jar filled with acetone on the heated build plate. The bed was initially heated to 120C and once the vapor was to the top of the jar, he turned the plate back down to 90C for the treatment.
He placed the part on the sheet of aluminum and lowered the object into the vapor bath gentlely. When the surface got smooth out he took it out of the jar with bended hanger. After treatment, he let the part sit for another ten minutes for drying off.
Here is the result:
Acetone's flash point is −20 °C (−4 °F) and air mixtures of between 2.5% and 12.8% acetone, by volume, may explode or cause a flash fire. Also be careful that Acetone has slight toxicity in normal use, and acetone vapor in work areas should be maintained at or below the Threshold Limit Value of 750 PPM. At very high vapor concentrations, acetone is irritating and, like many other solvents, may depress the central nervous system or cause irritation of the respiratory tract, headache and loss of memory.
Watch the video below the whole process of Vapor Treating ABS 3D Printed Parts:
Source: RepRep Blog
Posted in 3D printing Technology
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John wrote at 10/31/2014 6:32:55 PM:
I've had great success using XTC-3D Epoxy Coating by Smooth-On. Sanding the original model is not required, and it bonds to almost every material. It goes on clear, thin, and is sandable and paintable. NO Acetone boiling required! I don't know of many places that carry this, as it is brand new, but there is a shop in Canada which specializes in the 3D industry named Sculpture Supply Canada. Definitely worth checking out!
Sam wrote at 3/6/2014 10:12:40 PM:
Is this really vapour smoothing or is the hot vapour simply condensing on the surface of the colder part and plasticising it in the standard way (though at lower volumes) like in brushing?