Dichloromethane PLA / ABS Smoothing

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Dichloromethane PLA / ABS Smoothing by thingster Apr 14, 2013

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Dichloromethane (DCM) is great for smoothing PLA parts. And it also works for ABS.
Tetrahydrofuran (THF) does NOT work!
Follow my reprap.org thread here:
Caution: DCM and THF are toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Please take care of you and your environment when applying them.

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Kind of an old post, but surprisingly this is still the top hit for dichloromethane pla smoothing in google.

Are you completely submerging the parts in the chemical to do this? Do you think this is the best method (vs vaporizing or other methods)?

I'm wondering if it's possible to achieve a decent finish by putting the part in a smaller amount of chemical and shaking the holding container. However, it seems DCM is pretty aggressive though so without an even coat it may not create a consistent finish. It just seems like it would be expensive to keep large amounts of DCM on hand in order to submerge large parts.

Have you tried diluting DCM? Would that make it less aggressive? Suppose you did a 10:1 water:DCM ratio then maybe large parts could be done in bucket or something for 10~20 minutes.

THF works, but not on all PLA.
I've tested it with 5 different filaments. So far, it worked on 1/5. The other 4 either went gummy and cracked, or were completely unaffected.

Which printer can print 0.1um?? Are you shure? Even stereolithoghaphie printers can only print about 25um! Did you mean 0.1mm?

Photos now updated.

Yes, you are correct, of course. Millimeters are the correct unit. It was a mistake and I knew of it, but I was a bit lazy to change the pictures as nobody ever complained about it and it seemed everybody knew what was meant. :-D I'll change it in the next days.

the kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1809448130/3d-refiner-by-3dprintsexpresscomhttp://www.kickstarter.com/pro... utilizes MEK and lye to "refine" PLA parts. Its more expensive, i do not disagree, but still for 199 a DIY kit that does this seems a pretty good deal, especailly if you can avoid handling the chemicals aside from loading them.

MEK doesn't work at all. Lye hydrolizes PLA, instead of smoothing or "melting" it.

I love the finish you get here but the chemical itself scares the bejeebus out of me. Very ugly stuff (as all organic solvents are). I am looking into using a rock tumbler and fine abrasive media to smooth parts but I dont believe that would add to the structural integrity of the part like "melting" using solvent does.