Feb 28, 2015

How to smooth your PLA prints with domestic pipe cleaner

3D Print Tips YT channel posted a video on how to use PVC pipe cleaner that is commercially available to vapor smooth PLA. The cleaner fluid is probably rich with THF (tetrahydrofuran) so it has a similar effect as acetone on ABS plastic. Do keep in mind that this method is probably less effective than using dichloromethane and chloroform.

The procedure is simple, the object is suspended above the heated THF rich fluid and the vapors dissolve surface layers and make them smooth.

Do keep in mind that the fumes are toxic and there is a fire hazard! Heating THF causes unstable explosive peroxide compounds that are carcinogenic. 

Here is the PLA part after the process. You can see that the surface is polished and shiny looking. LAyers are almost not visible.

Here is video showing the setup with few simple supplies like copper wire, mason jar and heater:

You can read the first post about THF polishing and smoothing here:


Does anyone know of any similar simple chemical to polish PLA? I know that you can make PLA flexible with carburetor cleaner.