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Published: November 20, 2020

Q. We need to clean 3D printed plastic parts made of methacrylate. We need to make sure it’s safe for the plastic, but also ensures all crevices are residue, resin and particle free for critically clean parts.

A. The technology of 3D printing has revolutionized industries ranging from precision manufacturing and aerospace, to electronics and medical device manufacturing.  Ensuring these parts, whether they be medical implants, engine manifolds, or electronic components, are completely free of unwanted residues and particulates is the very definition of critical cleaning.

Particulates and other residue, including environmental, can be (and are currently being) effectively cleaned using a 1-2% Alconox® Powdered Precision Cleaner or Detonox® Ultimate Precision Cleaner solution, depending on preferences for a powdered or liquid concentrate detergent, respectively.   We would recommend warm temperatures (>130F/55C) and an ultrasonic bath.  Our powerfully emulsive detergent solutions along with sonication would be most effective in removing the residue, especially particulates.

For a phosphate-free option, Liquinox® Critical Cleaning Liquid Detergent would be the great choice.

All 3 of the above detergents are compatible for cleaning a wide range of polymeric 3D printing substrates and helping with complete removal of soluble support materials.  (You are of course highly recommended to verify in your own setup, conditions, application and instruments.)

Some sensitive  plastics are susceptible to stress cracking, in which case a surfactant-free detergent would be needed.  We would highly recommend Detojet® Low Foaming Liquid Detergent in that case.  Typically, sensitive or stressed plastics are not used in 3D printing applications.

To request an Alconox Inc. detergent for free, please complete the questionnaire at Get Sample. For more information about any one of our Alconox Inc. detergents, consult the technical bulletin for each product. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s Safety Data Sheets.

Do you have a critical cleaning question for the experts at Alconox Inc.?  Search TechNotes to see if it’s been answered before or Ask Alconox.

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