3D Printing Tip of the Week: Cheap Acetone Vapor Part Finisher

Presto Kitchen Multi Cooker Steamer as acetone vapor bath chamber

I’ve seen a lot of buzz in the 3D printing community about acetone vapor finishing of ABS 3D prints lately, but acetone vapors are nasty and not something I really relish being exposed to. Over on the Solidoodle blog, I saw this post by Ian Johnson about using a Presto Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker Steamer as an acetone vapor chamber, and decided to give it a try.  I picked one up cheap on Ebay and have been impressed by the great results. It can definitely smooth printed parts quite nicely so they almost look like they are injection molded. Most of all as long as its done outside you really can avoid the acetone vapors completely.

My approach has been a little different from what was outlined on Ian’s post. His example uses a tiny print. My prints are typically almost 6″ tall, and I don’t see the point of taking the print out while the chamber is hot and full of vapors you will be exposing yourself to. My technique has been as follows:

  1. Like Ian, I lined the bottom of the cooker’s insert basket with Kapton tape (but I’d like to find a glass disc or metal plate for this instead). The covering provides a flat surface and keeps the vapors from drectly hitting the print from below.
  2. Next, pour “a dash” of acetone in the bottom of the cooker.
  3. Put your ABS 3D print in the basket and place the basket in the cooker. I used prints with .27mm layer heights.
  4. Cover the cooker with the lid.
  5. Turn the cooker on to between 250 and 300 degrees and leave it on for 1- 1 1/2 minutes, then shut it off
  6. Leave the container closed with the print inside for 1-2 hours. By the time you open it the vapors have dissipated and the print should be smoothed
  7. If print layers still show, you can repeat the treatment once more.
  8. The print surface will be a little softened. Lift the basket out and let the print stand in the air for a few hours to harden back up.

Here’s some results:




Read the original post: Presto Part Finisher or watch Ian’s video:

Update: Check out the finish on this figure from my Scan-A-Rama project- It came out great!

photo (15)

2 thoughts on “3D Printing Tip of the Week: Cheap Acetone Vapor Part Finisher

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