How to find Isopropyl Alcohol during COVID quarantine


#1

I’m just starting out in 3D printing with my new Formlabs 3 printer. I put it together and did my butterfly print using clear resin. I have on hand 1 quart of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) from the local pharmacy.

I bought Formlabs Form Wash, but they say to have 10L of IPA available.

I only need to do very small print objects.

Q1: Where can I source IPA from? – it’s disappeared from Amazon.

Q2: Alternatively, what is the least amount of IPA than I can use to clean my prints for now?

Q3: Can I dilute the quart I have and perform the washing for a longer period?

Any advice welcomed.


#2

This place claimed to have 4x1 gal cases of 99% IPA available until I tried to order and it then became out of stock…


#3

Thanks @mh1974, I had heard about them, but they are out of stock as you mentioned – I appreciate your share.

FYI - I located another company, Production Automation Corporation (PAC), with the same story.

Production Automation Corporation (PAC) IPA 99%

Still hoping to get some leads as to how to wash my Formlabs prints during these times.


#4

One possibility is TPM, which some suggest as an IPA substitute. At $390 per 5 gallon container it is more expensive than IPA but has much less volatility so evaporation losses should be less.

These folks sell it, in the USA I think:


#5

I have had some success cleaning using methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) in lieu of IPA. I had no trouble obtaining several liters from the local hardware store. Your mileage may vary based on the resin type and what you’re printing.

If you try to dilute your solvent, it will be less effective and require more washes / longer wash time so you won’t really get ahead that way.


#6

I used methylated spirits as well with great success. It’s very cheap(1/3th or IPA) but I’m not sure how long it lasts. I had one bottle in the sun after putting it back after cleaning and the whole content solidified to a gummy like structure!


#7

@fantasy2 I had the same results with my first batch of solvent: a giant jello-like mess. Now I do the UV cleaning much more frequently and the resin precipitates to the bottom of the container like you would hope. I’m averaging about one sunlight cleaning cycle per liter of resin with about a 80% recovery rate of the solvent each cycle.


#8

I think I need to wait longer next time and just let it sit for a day or two.


#9

I bought a 5 gallon drum of TPM from Hess. Arrived 2 days after ordering. Tried early March to buy from Grainger only to have it backordered, then told 5 weeks later the order cancelled due to they won’t ship to an orthodontist office.

I’ve used the TPM on two prints. I use the manual wash buckets. The first time I followed the protocol published by Formlabs – after the TPM first wash, I let the print dry…and dry…and dry… for a full day, and the model still did not seem “dry”. Very shiny and tacky. I then did a second wash with warm water and a bit of detergent. Then let that dry…and dry… It never lost its wet sheen and tackiness. I then put it in UV box, and still “wet and tacky.”

The second print I used IPA as my second wash, and perfecto!

So at least my small supply of IPA can be stretched by using TPM as my first wash. Now we need a cheap, readily available solvent for TPM as a second wash.


#10

That’s extremely helpful!

What concentration of IPA are you using? I have only been able to obtain 70%, but I believe the recommended concentration is much higher.


#12

Update on IPA alternatives: So what I’ve settled on for the short term to process my prints (using the manual tanks) is TPM from jrhessco.com @ $363 for 5 gallons including shipping for my first wash, then denatured alcohol @ $18 per gallon at Home Depot as the second wash. Models come out like before when I was using IPA as second wash. Denatured alcohol is volatile and gives off fumes, so be cautious.
I found a source for 90% IPA:
https://www.hbprochem.com/listing/803532019/90-isopropyl-alcohol
I ordered a gallon ($69 including tax and shipping – used to buy it at WalMart for $12 a gallon!!!) to have on hand for my squirt bottle and small clean ups until the price goes back down.


#13

Has anyone used any of the materials used by jessy for cleaning. Do they work for Formlabs materials as well???

They are all way cheaper then isopropanol


#14

i’m headed for some mean green!!!


#15

we just ordered gallon jugs on Amazon…

crossing our fingers to see if they actually ship


#16

In the US this company seems to have product:


#17

I ordered some from these guys, showed up on time, seems to be as advertised.


#18

I just bought 20L of IPA from uline.ca. They appear to have a policy of only selling to repeat customers, so if you haven’t bought from them before they apparently won’t sell to you, until demand goes down.


#19

Check your local auto body supply business. But not my local auto body supply business :wink: