Acetone High

141105 Acetone TestFirstly, capturing these fine details on my phone camera is a real challenge!

What I’ve done is brush acetone directly onto 1 side of an old 3D print to see how well it cleans up the layers. Having done some reading (Makezine, Airwolf3D, Solidoodle)   I was expecting the surface to melt very quickly, maybe even go a bit soft and squishy – Nope! I’ve brushed on about 15 coats of acetone onto the model (leaving a few minutes drying time between coats) and at no time did the model do anything exciting. However there is a clear result, with the layers clearly blurring together and remaining glossy. It’s certainly not perfectly smooth, but running my fingernail along the surface there is a noticeable difference to the back-side which remains original.

A few thoughts from this: 1. the ABS plastic we use at uni is premium quality, so no crappy other materials mixed in to potentially cause issues. 2. By just brushing on acetone it appears to evaporate very quickly and limits any effects, which in some ways is a good thing to control how far you want to go. 3. The 3D print itself has a thick 3mm wall, so there isn’t a high risk of the acetone seeping through to the inside and causing the entire wall section to soften.

In terms of the kiteboard fins, this seems like a worthwhile outcome to smooth them off and potentially strengthen the outside surface. Cool.

If you have your own experiences smoothing out 3D prints using acetone, I’d love to hear them, this is new for me. Please leave a comment or link.

– Posted by James Novak

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