PLA and PETG Smoothing Experiment




Obtain a rice cooker or something similar (got mine from a thrift shop, don't use it for anything else), 3d printed pieces, chemicals, metal plate, and a stand off. I used PLA and PETG with acetone, MEK, xylol, and TRPS.

Step 1: Boil the Chemicals

First you should definitely do this outside and if possible wearing a respirator, although I have once in a while done this inside also personally I don't have a respirator but don't be like me. Pour about 1/4" of the desired chemical into the cooker about, place the plate on the standoff, place a piece on the plate and then boil chemical for about 20-60 secs after you see vapor.

Step 2: Results

So TRPS worked for PLA eventually after pouring extra and boiling it longer and nothing else really worked, except for acetone and PETG somewhat.

Acetone didn't do much for pla except make it dull looking and dissolve some component, but for petg it made it shinny and maybe a a very little smoother, the bumps from retraction are still there. MEK did the same thing as acetone for PLA except more, dull and something dissolved and seems like wax, for PETG it was also similar to acetone but duller. TRPS (Turpentine Replacement Paint Solvent) had potential since the bottom of my first try seemed smoothed so I tried again and it worked too much this time since I had it in there a while to make sure whether or not it would work. for PETG it became softened and deformed but not really smoothed it seemed like the chemical permeated the plastic. Xyolol dulled both PLA and PETG and seemed to smooth PLA a little bit (which accidentally slid off the plate and into the liquid). Naptha did abosultely nothing for PLA and for PETG made it shinny and seeped inside and expanded it a bit.



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    3 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    I may, a bit expensive though, I was trying chemicals that you can buy at home depot or menards that are cheap, $6 a quart. TRPS (Turpentine Replacement Paint Solvent) did work well I have yet to post a picture of something else smoothed the right amount.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes, it is expensive. But better than repeated cycles of sanding and covering with a sand-able primer. Clear epoxy can also be a significant help, especially if you do two cycles of the above prep. But then you want surfaces that are relatively simple so that the epoxy doesn't flow into the nooks and crannies of the print.

    I look forward to seeing your results, as it is always good to have more than one weapon in the arsenal.