Friday, December 20, 2013

Smoothing PLA Prints with Dichloromethane

Let me start by saying use extreme caution when when using dichloromethane, it is exrtremely caustic and carcinogenic. It is primarily dangerous when vaporized, if you have a respirator use it. Read some more on it before you determine if it is worth it for you to smooth your PLA prints.

First gather all your materials, you will need:
1.At least 4 ounces of dichloromethane, (you can obtain this from Amazon)
2.A glass container, (it will melt any plastic container.)
4.Non-rubber gloves (rubber gloves will melt.)
5.Clothing that covers all your body.
6.A funnel (you can use a plastic one, because it will only be exposed for a few seconds, which will not fully melt it)
7.Goggles (any will do)
8. Respirator(not required, but recommended)

Ok, now go outside. First fill you glass container half full with your dichloromethane. Second, place object in the container, if it is small enough use your pliers to put it in, if it is to big, just put it in with your hand, but be careful not to splash when you put it in. Next, wait for about 15 - 60 seconds, it depends on how good of a finish your want. Fifteen seconds will give objects with straight walls a nice finish, but with things that have slanted walls like a triangular prism or a sphere will need about 60 seconds to fully smooth. Now put your funnel inside the container that the dichloromethane orignaly came in, now pour your jar filled with dichloromethane and your object into the funnel. This will separate the object from the dichloromethane. Now take the funnel out of the container, and turn it upside down onto a clean paper towel. The object should come out onto the paper towel, then leave it outside to let all the dichloromethane evaporate.

Some extra info:
My first time doing this, I thought that if I put it in water right after it would clean it and get the dichloromethane residue off. It does not! It makes it look like a gold ball, with little holes.

If you do not have a respirator, I recommend not doing this in any weather above 40 degrees fahrenheit. Keep in mind that dichloromethane boils at just 104 degrees fahrenheit, and it is most dangerous when vaporized(It causes lung cancer).

Never do this inside, or vaporize it like your would for acetone and ABS.

Do this at your own, risk, do not blame me if you have a problem because of it.