IPA - Short supply

Here in the UK everyone is very worried about the Corona Virus and all the shops have sold out of hand sanitizer.

We only use IPA now to clean the work surfaces and the printer parts. We use DPM to clean the prints and lab tools. As a result 20L of IPA typically lasts us 3 months. Just ordered some more today, it came as quite a shock to discover that our normal supplier had dramatically increased the price with a 400% price increase, apparently that is the current normal for any suppliers and the price has gone crazy in the last few days.

Being a little sceptical I tried to get some at the old (more sensible) price - same story for all of the suppliers. Many have NONE left in stock, people are buying due to the virus.(certainly not for printing)

I spoke to several of the local conventional printing companies, again a similar story.- IPA prices have gone crazy and its in very short supply.

We even tried to buy a barrel (200 L) again that was a similar story.

Is it just the UK or is everywhere in the World suffering a similar situation?

I’ll tell you anecdotally I’ve heard similar stories from customers from a couple locations around the States as well.

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Price is rising here in New Zealand, but not quite to that degree (yet) - my usual supplier has the 5 litre price of normally $33.50+tax up to $45 at the moment.

I’ve got plenty on hand for now, but for the first rinse at least I’m considering trying methylated spirits (aka denatured alcohol, depending on your location), which is all of $18 for 4l at the hardware store. People don’t seem to have started panic buying that yet, probably because it’s dyed purple.

Lol. yeah… it’s off-color… and also happens to be poisonous. Consider risks of inhaling methanol vapors if you do so.

The situation in the US, East Coast, is similar. I can’t find reasonably priced isopropyl anywhere. sometimes 70% can be found, but I hardly want to go through the trouble and hazard of distilling it. Ugh.

I hope FormLabs will make a suggestion for an alternative.

Fortunately, not here in New Zealand.

Since mid-2007 “Meths” (as it’s known locally, not to be confused with “Meth”) is just ethanol, purple, and whatever chemical they chose to make it unpleasant to drink, methanol was banned outright.

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0701/S00009/erma-new-zealand-makes-meths-safer.htm

So unless someone finds a pre-2008 bottle in their garden shed, it should be perfectly safe.

That’s nice! I wish denatured alcohol in the US was safer =(

Yup, i’m now looking at selling the 15L I’ve got sat here and switching out to DPM for the time being. £33 for 5L compared to £25 a litre give or take as far as I can see in the UK.

Sadly the DPM price seems to have crept up a little, I guess the suppliers are reacting to the shortage of IPA for the print industry, it now seems to be around £40 for 5L.

Our own feelings are that its the best alternative to IPA, but might need a slight tweak in your workflow to get the best out of it.

Our workflow is 5min in ultrasound bath at 30c, then into Formwash for 3 minutes for a quick rinse that is using 10ml washing up liquid to each litre of water, (yes thats right, we use the Formwash to quickly remove any residual DPM, as the water left after the Formwash dries much quicker than DPM)

As a result we have at least halved our clean up time of prints compared to simply using IPA, the surface finish is better and the DPM lasts several times longer than IPA.

In our experience DPM is more easily available than TPM, its also cheaper. Using the ultrasound is very efficient and the water detergent mix in the Formwash will not attack the Formwash powder coating (DPM is a very efficient solvent and eventually removes powder coating - TPM does not)

This is the ultrasound that we use on a day to day basis (We also have a larger one (10L) that is used for the largest prints)

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US West coast.
Amazon is totally out of stock for bulk purchase and it looks like most stores are out as well. Hopefully this doesn’t last for too long as my Wash is starting to run dry.

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Hi Dxxxx,

Yes, I too had a shock over price of IPA today because of short supply. Even my expensive emergency supply from RS components is on back order till 28 April.! Noticed that you use DPM/TPM. would you have a name of a uk supplier that you are willing to share?

I followed the alternative forum to IPA for cleaning a while back but decided not to change. Looks like I have no choice now!

We presently clean using sealed containers of IPA in U/S in short 3 mins bursts with a thermo couple to monitor temp.

Bill

I posted a couple of UK suppliers for DPM and TPM here.

Hello Dxxx

You mentioned 10 ml washing up liquid with every liter. Are you just using dish soap at this point.

Great idea using the DPM with the ultrasonic cleaner.

Thanks mrwakefield will check them out on Monday

Also came across British Chemical Products online.

Will feedback when I know more.

Hi

We are buying our DPM from Resinous 3D, they have it instock and from talking to them they use it themselves for 3d printing

To buy it online: www.resinous3d.com/dpm.html

With regards the washing up liquid - its the liquid used to clean your dishes!! It needs very little for the removal of any trace of the DPM after cleanup (DPM evaporates VERY slowly - much slower than IPA)

Thanks @greymatter I’ll add British Chemical Products to my favourites :smiley:

Thanks Dxxxx,

Brilliant. Will add to my list to check out on Monday

Cheap blue Windshield wiper fluid

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That’s why I distill my IPA. Only cost $100 for the still and it saves a lot of $$$ over time.

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Also have begun distilling IPA in a $100 3-gallon still from Amazon. Works amazingly well and the IPA is as pure and fresh as new as far as I have been able to determine (Dammit Jim, I’m an engineer not a chemist).

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