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Cheap Homemade Easy Acetone Bath
#1
Hi Everyone,
I thought I would share a little trick that I do to get smooth and shiny ABS projects.
Most of you would have seen or heard of an Acetone bath for ABS prints, but most of the ones you see are expensive professional looking setups.
An Acetone bath is simply a chamber that you can put a part in that evaporates the Acetone which in turn smooths the surface of your item, giving it a cast, smooth and finished look.
Well I thought I would let you in on my little secret. All I do is get a big glass coffee jar that I have taken the plastic seal piece of the lid and put a small amount of acetone in the jar. I then sit the jar on my electric frypan on the lowest heat setting, place the part in side and shut the lid.
I then leave it for 15 - 20 mins to do it's thing and hey presto you have a smooth shiny part that looks like a professional made it.
I bent some wire into a semi-circle that fits into the lid and bent a hook on the bottom of the wire to hang the parts from, roughly so it sits midway up the jar, and once its been in there for the desired time you just have to take the piece out and hang it up for a while to let it set solid again. The surface will be very tacky and soft and not letting it harden for long enough will end up with fingerprints in the pieces.
All in all it works really well, cost me nothing and has given me some really good finishes over the last year or so.

Hope this helps and enjoy printing.[Image: IMAG00411.jpg][Image: IMAG00601.jpg][Image: IMAG06361.jpg][Image: IMAG06371.jpg][Image: IMAG06381.jpg]
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#2
as it is very dangerous to manipulate acetone close to fire or electricity, and it is better to do in well ventilated area, I use boiling water to heat acetone, because evaporation temperature is 56°celcius , put the acetone recipient in one containing boiling water is safer, and the time the water go from 100°c to 56°c is more than enough to complete the bath
Just my 2cents
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#3
I've never done this before but I wonder, don't you need some exhaust path for the acetone vapor? I mean, if you leave the lid completely shut then could the pressure build up and eventually explode or something?
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#4
Hi, of course you need to use caution and common sense when doing this, thats why i take the seal off the lid.
The container could really be anything with a lid and not a tight seal and as luc said even hot water will evaporate the acetone.

I'm sorry but I kind of thought that the safety and common sense parts like loose lid, not in a closed room, no fire, no spark etc etc etc, would be read into it.

The main thing is, if you give your print a slight sand first then warm up the acetone a bit before putting the part in, very soon you will start seeing results and if you keep checking it throughout the next 5 - 10 mins you will notice the surface becoming smooth and shiny, you have to take it out as soon as you get the first sign of a nice shiny finish and be careful not to touch as the part will be very tacky untill it sets solid again, it will take a few hours for the surface to set solid again.
I sort of treat the freshly smoothed parts like freshly painted parts and hang them up to dry.
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#5
And just another short note, when I say a small anount of acetone, i'm talking about 1 - 5 ml of acetone.
NOT half a bottle, then you would have a big vaporous cloud spewing time bomb on your hands.
Just a few drops of acetone to get a light vapour inside the container.
Like everything the amount of acetone, the time it needs to work and the finish acheived is different every time and will take a bit of playing with old parts as a test to get it right, but it's definately well worth it.

Enjoy.
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#6
I use a similar method with an old steam cooker.
Small amount of acitone in the steamer, turn on for about a minute then switch off and leave for about 5 minutes.
It also has the benefit of making the print stronger my fusing all the outer layers together.
Davinci 1.0 with repetier 0.92 & E3D hotend
Slicer - Simplify3d 


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