Yes, you can dissolve PLA filament. It is possible how to melt PLA filaments into liquid form and create a smooth finish on your 3D printed objects.
This process is called “dissolving” because when the PLA filament dissolves in the solvent, it creates a liquid that can be used as a coating or paint on the finished product.
There are several ways to dissolve PLA, depending on the solvent and PLA material used. Generally speaking, hot water is often used as it causes the filament’s polymers to break down and become liquid-like.
To make the process more efficient, adding a small amount of detergent or soap can help increase the solvent’s ability to dissolve the PLA filament. Additionally, some solvents like acetone can also be used for dissolving PLA filament.
The advantages of dissolving your PLA filament are that it is a cost-effective way to get rid of imperfections on your 3D printed objects.
The process takes very little time and the results are often satisfactory. Moreover, the end product is a smooth finish that can enhance the aesthetic value of your 3D printed object.
Additionally, dissolving PLA creates a much more durable and temperature-resistant coating than other methods like sanding or painting. All in all, dissolving PLA filament is an effective way to achieve perfection on your 3D prints.
What can dissolve PLA?
Ethyl acetate is a type of solvent commonly used in industry and as an ingredient in consumer products. It is effective at dissolving and smoothing PLA, the most common form of 3D printing material.
Ethyl acetate has a low toxicity level and is considered safe to work with, however it is highly flammable and should be used with caution.
It is an ideal solvent for those who want to achieve a smooth finish on their 3D printed products without introducing potentially hazardous chemicals into their work environment.
For this reason, ethyl acetate is often the go-to solvent when it comes to dissolving PLA and other thermoplastic materials.
What’s more, it has a low odor and is not corrosive, making it an ideal choice for those looking to dissolve PLA in a safe and efficient manner. By utilizing ethyl acetate, 3D printing enthusiasts can achieve the desired results quickly and safely.
What can dissolve PLA? Ethyl acetate is one of the best solvents to use when needing to dissolve PLA. It is highly effective at breaking down and dissolving PLA while remaining safe to work with. What’s more, it’s easily available and cost-effective, making it a great option for those looking to dissolve PLA.
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is a volatile, highly flammable organic chemical compound with many uses. It is commonly found in solvents, cleaning products, and adhesives, as well as its most popular application: PLA 3D printing surface smoothing.
MEK has the ability to dissolve PLA quickly and effectively, however its potential toxicity and explosive nature make it a poor choice for most PLA smoothing applications.
If handled improperly, MEK poses serious health risks such as skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea and unconsciousness.
In addition to these safety concerns, MEK is also quite expensive compared to other materials that may be used for PLA smoothing. Therefore, it is typically not recommended as a viable option when it comes to PLA smoothing.
Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide)
Caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide or lye, is an alkali with corrosive properties. Caustic soda has been used in various applications for centuries due to its ability to break down grease and other compounds.
It is a key ingredient in the production of soaps, detergents, drain cleaners and other cleaners, as well as in the processing of fabrics, metals, and pharmaceuticals.
Caustic soda can also be used to dissolve PLA filaments in 3D printing applications. The best results are achieved by diluting the caustic soda in water (about 120 grams per liter) and submerging the PLA prints briefly in the solution.
How to Melt PLA Filament
Melting or dissolving PLA is a process that requires chemical substances to achieve the desired result. Acetone, Ethyl acetate, Tetrahydrofuran (THF), and Pyridine are all commonly used chemicals for melting or dissolving PLA. It should be noted that these chemicals are highly flammable and can cause severe burns if not handled properly.
Additionally, many of these chemicals will give off toxic fumes, so proper ventilation is a must when melting PLA filament with a chemical. It’s also important to note that there are no guarantees when it comes to melting or dissolving PLA in any of the listed chemicals.
Does Acetone Dissolve PLA?
Acetone is a chemical traditionally used as a solvent, often in the production of different materials. In 3D printing, Acetone is used to smooth out 3D prints and make them look more professional.
It’s often seen as the best way to improve the surface finish of your parts, but unfortunately, it does not work well with PLA. Does Acetone dissolve PLA? The short answer is no – adding Acetone to PLA will not dissolve it, as Acetone is not strong enough to break down the plastic-like bonds in pure PLA.
However, some cheaper or lower quality PLA filaments may have additives that will make them react with Acetone or even dissolve completely in it. In this case, using other chemicals may be a better option than treating your prints with Acetone.
The best PLA filaments do not react to Acetone, and will produce the most professional-looking results without any fumes or unpleasant odors that can occur when using chemical treatments on 3D prints.
In conclusion, Acetone does not dissolve PLA, but there are certain filaments that may be susceptible to weak Acetone solutions. Choosing a quality filament and using other chemicals instead is the best way to achieve a good finish on your 3D prints without any nasty surprises.
How to Smooth PLA
For those looking to achieve a smooth and glossy surface on their 3D printed PLA models, XTC-3D, 3D Gloop, and heat guns are some of the most popular solutions. XTC-3D is a two-part epoxy coating that can be used to coat 3D prints with a glossy finish. This coating is easy to apply and can be used on different materials, including PLA.
3D Gloop is another solution that creates a glossy finish by using heat and pressure. Using a heat gun is also an effective way to smooth PLA parts; simply pass the heat gun over the surface of the part until it reaches your desired level of smoothness.
Can you melt PLA and reuse it?
PLA, or Polylactic Acid, is a biocompostable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, potato starch, sugar cane and tapioca roots. It has become a popular choice for 3D printing projects, due to its ease of use and minimal environmental impact. Can you melt PLA down and reuse it, though?
The answer is yes, but with a few caveats. PLA has a lower melting point than other types of plastic, so it cannot simply be melted down and reused in the same way as regular plastics like PET or polystyrene.
However, you can melt PLA down to create new objects from it. This can be done with a 3D printer by melting the filament into a liquid and then forming it into a new shape, or it can be done by hand.
It is also possible to melt PLA down and reprocess it back into filament, but this process requires specialized equipment and considerable skill. If you have access to such equipment, this can be an effective, cost-efficient way to recycle PLA filament.
Ultimately, when it comes to recycling PLA, the best solution is not to create waste in the first place. Make sure that you are only printing what you need and using a reasonable amount of filament for each project. This will help reduce the amount of waste created from 3D printing and make the process more sustainable.
Can you melt PLA with a hair dryer?
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyolefin are the two main types of plastic film that can be melted using a hair dryer. When exposed to high temperatures, these types of plastic film will shrink and conform to the desired shape or size. PVC is especially useful for creating items such as protective covers for electronics, window covers, and even custom-made products.
Can you melt PLA with a hair dryer? The answer is yes; however, the process of melting PLA is much more complex than melting PVC or Polyolefin. It requires very precise temperature control and careful monitoring of the plastic’s transformation in order to get the desired results. Read also…