Hi everybody, not sure if this was asked here before, but I saw some use simple green as an alternative wash solution to IPA, mostly with other printers like the elegoo mars and Phrozen, but haven’t seen it used with Formlabs resins, did anybody here tried that before ? or know if it will work ?
I don’t print often, and the printer is in my house, so I really need an alternative to IPA.
I’ve not tried any of the options used in the video, but I’m a big fan of a product called Yellow Magic 7, an industrial printing cleaner originally made for UV reactive inks.
(This is an older post, but if you use a heated ultrasonic cleaner, you can eliminate IPA entirely.)
I tried simple green with grey V4 and model V2 resins, in an ultrasonic cleaner and then brushing in a water rinse but it didn’t manage to remove all the extra resin and the model ended up with shiny parts all over.
Thanks @The_Lap_Parners for the YM 7 suggestion, it seem like it still require some IPA rinse still which i’m trying to avoid having around the house, I do like how you can cure and remove excess resin from YM and keep reusing it though, so I’ll keep it in mind in case my next couple IPA alternatives fail.
I messaged “RYBU” from this forum to ask for more details re: his Simple Green workflow and was impressed enough with his technique to give it a try. I use the two 1-gallon processing stand available from Formlabs as the first wash station after printing. Lefthand bucket contains Simple Green; righthand bucket contains filtered (thru paper towels and a coffee filter) 99% IPA from the FormWash unit.
So far, I’m only using Clear and GreyPro in my Form3 so can’t comment on other resins. GP is much more difficult to remove from parts compared to Clear, which can also be successfully filtered from used IPA using a coffee filter. GP can’t be easily filtered as it seems to stay in suspension longer with larger particles than Clear that quickly clog a coffee filter.
I drain as much GP resin from the build platform as possible, then scrape parts into the Simple Green bucket using a wide X-Acto chisel blade. Parts stay in SG for a few hours up to overnight and several print batches go into the bucket at a time (as they finish printing). From the SG, parts are picked up with tweezers, briefly tapped on the bucket side, then washed in the used (but fairly clean) IPA bucket for 10-20 seconds per sheet of parts (my parts are very low profile and small so several are placed close together in PreForm to overlap the mini-rafts). After all parts have been washed, they go into FormWash with 99% IPA for 10 minutes, are removed to air-dry on paper towels, removed from the supports, allowed to dry overnight, then run thru the FormCure for 3 minutes max or parts will become brittle.
GreyPro’s residue floats off of parts in the SG bath within minutes and settles to the bottom. The wash tank’s removable strainer/lifter does well to support parts while letting the GP “goop” flow thru to the bottom. Likewise, the IPA bath washes off most of the remaining residue and settles to the bottom. I strain both liquids every 2-3 weeks using a double-layer of paper towels in a kitchen sieve with great results. The IPA takes on a green-grey color over time, indicating it IS removing most of the GP residue left from the SG bath.
The SG does the heavy removal work; the IPA wash knocks down most of the remaining thin film and the 10-minute FormWash cycle does the rest. No “sticky” surfaces remain on my parts but it’s possible intricate parts with deep recesses might need more cleaning time or use of an ultrasonic tank. Yes, a few more steps are required using my process but, considering parts can sit in SG overnight with no apparent detrimental affects, I’m fine with that. I can actually run MORE parts thru the system this way compared to before the SG/IPA steps were added because multiple batches of parts can soak in SG at a time.
I’ve used this process for about 6 weeks, sometimes running the printer for 6-8 hours a day (2-4 batches of parts). These are production parts, not “hobby parts”. It appears the FormWash IPA is lasting about 5x longer than without the SG/IPA pre-wash steps. It’s possible this will increase. The last time I bought 99% IPA (June 2021), it cost about $68 for 4 gallons with free shipping (Florida Labs via Amazon). A 2.5 gallon jug of SG costs about $20 with free home delivery from Home Depot. I’ll try SG “Lemon scented” or “Lavender” next time as the “basic green” smell reminds me of an old dish rag but sure beats IPA’s smell filling my shop.