Ultrasonic cleaner vs form wash

Hi All,

I haven’t been super happy with how my Form wash cleans parts. Does anyone have experience with using IPA in a non heated ultrasonic bath? Have you compared the two? Is one better than the other?

Having the automated stage on the form wash is nice, but I’m often having to hang around till the wash is done anyway to make sure all the resin is gone and to blow off any excess with compressed air (also because particulates from different colors can land on the parts too and will be harder to remove once the parts are dried…so I also need to blow these off or rinse the parts). Having to wait around to do this cleaning kind of defeats the purpose of the automated wash station to begin with.

Curious what others experiences are.

The problem with IPA in the ultrasound is the fact that the ultrasound WILL cause a temperature rise. The flash point of IPA is only 1.1.7c (Yes ELEVEN Point SEVEN degrees C) The viscosity of IPA is 2.1cp @25c

To us its not worth the risk of using ultrasound with IPA,

However using a aquarium air brick in the bottom of the IPA to agitate it works very well

We connect it to a silent aquatic air pump with 4mm Silicone tube, after nearly 400 prints its still going strong!! It improves the cleaning action by a factor of three (A print that took twelve minutes clean up without the agitation will clean up in approx 4 minutes)

However using DPM at 35c in a heated ultrasound bath takes 2 minutes… The flash point of DPM is 75c with next to no odour. Its viscosity is 3.7cp @ 25c

TPM takes slightly longer to clean up most resins (its a higher viscosity that takes longer than DPM to clean up small close detail) but has an ether like odour. TPM has the highest flash point of the three solvents (IPA, DPM or TPM) at 125c The viscosity of TPM is 5.5cps@25c

We do a lot of printing, but now have settled on using DPM as our standard clean up due to the much better safety risk than IPA and lower viscosity and less smell than TPM.


Just out of curiosity, what are your specific concerns with the parts you’re getting out of your Form Wash? :slight_smile: Sorry to hear it’s not doing what you want and we always appreciate feedback!

Hm really interesting, thanks for sharing your experiences. I have been looking for TPM suppliers within Canada and wasn’t having any luck.

I’ll see if I can find DPM. How do you dispose or recycle of it? Through a chemical treatment facility? I’ve currently been recycling my IPA at my local solvent recycling facility.

Hey @DKirch - mostly I think increased agitation would help clean parts. Specifically if the IPA isn’t brand new, resin can pool around edges and holes. I’ve noticed that manually swishing back and forth can be more effective than leaving it in the wash sometimes.

The other pain point for the wash is particulates from other colors/resins depositing onto parts. The worst case is if you’re washing white or rigid parts and black specks land on your parts. Once the automated drying activates, these black particulates dry on the parts and are really difficult to get off later. Because of this, I’m finding myself sitting and waiting 10-15 minutes after the wash is done so I can rinse the parts and blow off debris with compressed air, which defeats the purpose of having an automated wash & dry system in the first place.

So if an ultrasonic cleaner + DPM cleans faster and more effectively, this can streamline my process a bit better.

I also have some comments about the Form cure which you may be interested in hearing too. Specifically if there’s a way in the future to incorporate some kind of vacuum suction to keep parts flat to the base while curing. Long thin parts can often warp even when extra supports and a full raft are printed (especially in Durable).

Hi @leonhart88,

A few years ago several of us stumbled across a cleaning product for UV printers’ ink called Yellow Magic Seven. It does a great job cleaning up the majority of uncured liquid resin on a model-- I personally like to follow-up 10 mins of YM7 with a very quick IPA final rinse. Here’s a link to my old forum post about it: Replacing Isopropyl Alcohol with Yellow Magic

And, it’s for sale on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Magic-Undiluted-Packaging-Varnishes/dp/B01EG502M0/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=yellow+magic+7&qid=1581369480&sr=8-1

JD Davison
Lab Partners Jewelry

I’ve had excellent results with an aquarium pump and diffuser in IPA bath.

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Using IPA in an ultrasone is really a dangerous game. The IPA could easily explode and causing a flash fire. Just google for it to see reports and video’s plus safety warnings.

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Yes I’ve heard about this in the past but didn’t really look into it too much. Do you know why this was never approved as a real solution by Formlabs?

Also doesn’t look like Amazon in Canada sells this but I’m sure I can find a supplier.

Interesting, thanks for letting me know.

@Dxxxx where are you buying your DPM from? Looking around for DPM & TPM in Canada.

I normally buy it from Resinous3D in the UK, they have it for £48 (inc Tax) for 5L or £16 for 1L. I did try buying some elsewhere, but it had been diluted with water (it was advertised for perfumes and scents) It was a little cheaper but left my prints quite a mess).

Pure DPM works VERY welll!!

You can get DPM from Mistral Industrial Chemicals (if you’re a business) or from their consumer site here @ £32.99/5L, inc VAT & free delivery to Ireland and mainland UK. TPM I’ve sourced from Woburn Chemicals. They don’t have an online store so you’ll have to email them or give them a call. I got 5L TPM from them for £52.60 inc VAT. Shipping is on top of that but I live locally so I collected it from their depot.

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Thanks all. I’ll look at what the shipping costs to Canada will be from them.

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