Support - Full Disclosure

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Here we proudly present to you the full disclosure of our support solution for 3D printers.

As we earlier reported, we developed a chemical solution to dissolve PLA support structures without harming an object printed in ABS. The object is put into the solution and with gentle warming and stirring or mixing with an ultrasonic cleanser bath the PLA dissolves in a short time.

The testobjects:

...before:                                                                        ...after:

You can read more about this process in our earlier reports which you can find in the support category.

Now on to the details. The solution, which we named "BetaSolution" consists of the following chemicals:

Be warned that the following chemicals are all dangerious, so handle them with care and with the proper safety precautions !

  • Propan-2-ol
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Aluminium hydroxide

We used technical propan-2-ol (98%) but you can also use pure propan-2-ol, 8.3% Potassium hydroxide (w/w) and a small catalytical amout (<1%) of Aluminium hydroxide.

A short manual how to prepare the "BetaSolution":

For preparing the solution we gently warmed up the technical propan-2-ol in a waterbath to a temperature of about 40-50 °C. Be sure, the flask containing the propanol is not completely closed because of the rising vapour pressure. We used a flask made of glass with a perforated cap to prevent condensation of water and evaporation of propan-2-ol. After this, we took the flask out of the waterbath, dryed it from the outside, removed the cap and put the Potassiumhydroxide into it in small quantities. After each portion we stirred. The last little portion consists of about 0.5 g aluminium hydroxide which should also dissolve.

The solvatation of potassium hydroxide and aluminium hydroxide in propan-2-ol needs time. You generate a saturated solution, so don't wonder, if it gets cloudy after cooling or takes much time to dissolve completely.

Store the resulting solution safely, out of reach of children in a glass container at a dry and cool place. If you use a plastic flask it might deform or the solution will react in another way with the flask.

For use, pour a small amount into a glass, so that your object is completely submerged in the solution, and wait for the PLA to be dissolved. Please only do this in a well ventilated area or outside, because the solution will give of flammable fumes. Dont smoke while doing this !

If you want to speed up the dissolving process, you can warm the solution with a water bath (NO open fire), and stir it with a ultrasonic cleanser or manually with a spoon. This will greatly improve the speed of the dissolving.

Please wear gloves and glasses when handling the warmed solution. It is as agressive as drain-cleanser!

After dissolving the PLA you should wash your 3D-model with much water. We recommend to put it into another flask containing pure water and let it stand there for another hour. After this, you can dry it on air or with a hair blower.

The solution shouldn't be disposed into drain without dilution! Let it cool to room temperature, if warmed, and gently put small quantities into a 5 times bigger amount of water. Now you can easily use it as drain-cleanser!

For added information, you can download a safety datasheet we preprared from here

Also we are now opening an onlineshop, www.2printbeta.de, where we plan to sell this solution and other reprap related parts after we get the neccessary permits from the government. So if you are in europe, stay tuned to get the BetaSolution directly from the inventors.

When releasing in december, we also provide a more detailed german and english manual how to use BetaSolution.

To the DIY community:

Have fun with the developement of a smart software to create suitable support structures! Have even more fun with printing and dissolving the generated two-component-objects to obtain a clean ABS structure with overhangs and bridges as much as you want!

 

Yours

The 2PrintBeta-Team - Domonoky and BonsaiBrain

 

 

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  • Hi,<br /> Nice work but can you explain why you used that formula in terms a layman can understand?<br /><br />What are the advantages over using sodium hydroxide?

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  • First, the potassium hydroxide is more aggressive.<br />Second, the potassium-salt of lactose does not dissolve in propan-2-ol.<br />The first point explains itself.<br />The second point is a motor of the reaction PLA -> lactose.<br />Because the product disappears in the equibrilation of the reaction, PLA totally dissolves. Using water with sodium hydroxide, the product will be dissolved and so stop the reaction or slow it down too much.<br /><br />I hope it is clear - also for a layman.<br /><br />Greetings from the lake of constance<br />The ChemistFriend BonsaiBrain

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  • Thanks a lot for finally revealing your method! This makes it more worth it to make multi-material printers.

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  • This is amazing Domonoky!<br /><br />Btw do somebody knows what is the smallest hot-end diameter on commercial machines? 0.35mm or 0.25mm?<br /><br />Im wondering, what is the finest resolution (layer height, Z) we can achieve....<br /><br />Imho printing with support material is only worth the trouble for super-detailed models...<br /><br />Best regards,<br /> Laszlo<br />http://blog.arcol.hu

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  • I dont know what diameter commercial machines use, but we have already done very nice prints with a layer height of 0.18 mm with a 0.5 mm Hot-end. This gives very detailed models, which are surely worth using support. <br /><br />Also with support you can print many objects, which normally arent printable even in higher layer sizes. Think of things like a tree or the dragon (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4096) on thingiverse.

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  • Instead of using aluminum hydroxide can aluminum be added to the potassium hydroxide/propanol solution, and as it reacts, creates the aluminum hydroxide?

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  • Guest - Guest

    The amount of aluminum hydroxide is 0.5g, but what are the amounts of the other two chemicals?

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