Tuesday 4 June 2013

ABS and Acetone - Look no support marks!

I recently tried printing the sticks bowl, one of Dizingof's great math-art creations. The first time I printed it in PLA with Slic3r's default support settings - this worked well as a print job but the support material was a rather long task to remove neatly

The last picture shows a close up of the bottom of the bowl which is still rough even after all support is removed.

This got me thinking about the acetone vapour treatment that Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood wrote about on the reprap blog. The next version of the bowl I printed in ABS at 125% scale, removed the support material and used the acetone vapour technique to smooth it, the result:

This time the whole model is silky smooth.

Inspired by the success of the surface finish I decided to revisit a print of Binary Roots by virtox. This design is possibly my favourite piece of art on thingiverse, I like the combination of geeky, useful and aesthetic. I had previously printed it in PLA:

 but this suffered from the same support material roughness as the stick bowl.

I had to test a number of abs colours a few weekends ago and combined the testing with a 0.75 scale print of Binary Roots, here it is prior to the vapour treatment with the support marks obvious on the bottom.

And following the acetone vapour bath, smooth and watertight ready to be a miniature plant pot:

Further info on the acetone vapour bath process is well covered in a number of blog posts by Austin Wilson. I wonder if my next Mendel90 will be made with smoothed parts....