Cleaning - Recycling IPA for washing resin prints

Discussion in '3D Hardware' started by paul_l, May 5, 2021.

  1. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Dec 5, 2015
    Over the time I have been making resin 3D model prints, I have tried most methods for cleaning the prints.

    My current method is a three bath IPA wash folloed by an ultrasonic bath wash in multipurpose cleaner.

    IPA - IsoPropanol - very effective wash, stinks, very flamable, and during the pandemic has gone up in price and got a bit hard to source. Now normality is starting to return 5L is back to around £20.

    3 baths - !!!!! :scratchchin: :facepalm: what the ..........

    1st Bath the dirty wash, I use a brush to wash off as much of the resin from the the print, build plate and resin vat.

    This become very contaminated very quikly.

    2nd Bath a Sistema Pickle bath, half full of IPA. (if they will fit - not always the case). Sealed inside and given a shake.

    3rd Bath - and normally the final bath Anycubic Wash & Cure. 2 x 6 min washes.

    Ultrasonic wash - used when there is fine detail, recesses or voids on a model. Normally 1 5min wash at room temperature.

    So to the point of this post, my IPA usage is quite high, I reckon approx 5L IPA for every 1L of resin, in addition I have 5L of chemical waste to get rid of and NO it cant be poured down the sink, not only is the IPA highly flammable, contaminated with resin its also damaging to the environment.

    The 3 bath method helps prolong the life of the IPA, the IPA from bath 3 when cloudy is used in bath 2, then from bath 2 to bath 3.

    I filter the IPA through paint filters and paper towels which helps remove the solids but not the dissolved resin. Then I came across a youtube thread on using a water distiller to clean the IPA.

    Enter the VEVOR Water Distiller


    I took approx 1L of bath 3 cloudy IPA, switch on - the default temp will be at 105C, reduce this to 90 to 95.
    The IPA starts to boil at around 82C

    The result was

    There is some loss, but I got very clear IPA. The smell is not so good. Time to set up outside. The literature supplied suggests an hour for each litre of fluid, but thats based on water which boils at approx 100C, as the IPA boils off at 83C the test took less than an hour.

    The display shows the set temp on the left, and the current temp on the right

    Sorry for the blurry shot, in this case the set temp was 90 and the current temp was 86.

    Once the IPA has boiled off the temp will rise from the boiling point of the IPA to the set temp it will then switch off and display E1 E1 on the two displayed temps

    Now a bigger test, I loaded up all my contaminated IPA - a lot from the 1st bath which I had classified as scrap. I should have done them as waste from the individual baths.

    From approx 3.5L of waste, I got approx 1L clean IPA, and 1KG od waste resin crud in the bottom of the water distiller.

    The orange coloured bits were from the first test, all the grey is from the highly contaminated IPA. The crud was then cured out and can be disposed of as normal.

    Am I pleased with this - Hell Yes, I will however be running the process whenever the IPA starts to turn cloudy, for the best results.

    It does need to be done in a well ventillated space especially if the IPA was as badly contaminated as my main batch.

    Last edited: May 5, 2021

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