2016-01-12 (Tu) Acetone Vapor Bath Experiment

After seeing the results of the 16in^2 test it seemed unnecessary to perform a 32in^2 test. A different type of test was performed. Instead of soaking paper towels a comparatively large volume of acetone was poured into a container and placed inside the chamber. This procedure was expected to soften the parts quickly and possibly liquefy them beyond recognizability. Instead the parts didn’t show any change during processing.

Time lapse video of open container vapor bath

Problems may have been the low clearance between the top of the acetone container, a shot glass, and to top of the chamber. There was enough clearance for gases to pass. Another problem may have been the density of the acetone vapors which could have settled in the shot glass instead of dissipating through the chamber. This method is inadvisable.

Open container test setup

Results from all tests were lined up and showed increased softening from each subsequent test with the exception of the open container test which appeared identical to the control test where no acetone was used.

 Lineup of acetone test results

Control test results (no acetone)

Open container test results (shot glass filled with acetone)

Scientific Method

What is the best way to use acetone to process ABS printed parts
Acetone is a solvent for ABS and makes it pliable. Bathing parts in acetone vapor will soften them.
The more acetone in a chamber will produce faster results but in small amounts there will be a limit to the softening.
Video evidence showed the results of the tests.
The first part of the hypothesis was wrong, having large amounts of acetone in a chamber didn’t result in softer parts, the acetone had to be diffused. The second part of the hypothesis was correct, a small amount of acetone, readily diffused, would soften parts a given amount then stop.
Paper towels provide a repeatable and disposable diffuser well-suited to acetone vapor bathing. Small amounts of acetone will process parts to set softness then stop. High amounts of acetone will process parts quickly but the process must be halted to avoid over processing the parts. Additionally, it is advisable to use a flat bottom in the chamber so parts do not take the shape of an irregular container.

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2

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2016-01-11 (M)