Apr 22, 2015

How to clean Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD)

Recommendation for cleaning 3D prints made of Shapeway's Fine Detail (FD) or Fine Ultra Detail (FUD) 

Uncleaned FUD is translucent
Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra Detail are both made of a UV cured acrylic polymer. Both materials are well suited for painting.

They are relatively brittle, especially when features are thin. The material is heat resistant up to 80°C / 176°F degrees.

During printing, Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra Detail products are supported by a waxy material that is dissolved after printing is complete.

Wax is mostly removed by Shapeways with ultrasonic bathes. But the model remains waxy when shipped.

This wax must be removed before painting. The residual wax makes the plastic translucid. Once cleaned, the model becomes white.

PLEASE NOTICE : Never apply water or air hotter than 50 ° C / 125°F 

Warm water bath with soap
Start with a first bath in warm water, brushing softly with a toothbrush.

I recommend using a plastic bucket when rinsing and brushing. If you broke a part, don't panic, you will not loose it, and could glue it with cyan glue. Glue broken parts only when cleaning is finished.

Then alternate chemical liquids or sprays and warm bathes. Let the model dry between each cleaning cycle.

Chemical liquids successfully tested:
• medical isopropanol (IPA)
• stove cleaning spray
• stain remover for clothing
• acetone free nail polish remove

I use mostly isopropanol and stove cleaning spray.

Household detergents have mostly small effect on wax, but soap helps to rinse the model properly.

After a chemical cleaning  always rinse with water. Then using a low pressure compressed air source to blow out any blocked holes.

Stove cleaning spray is a good wax cleaner
Once cleaned, the print loose its translucent aspect and becomes white. Some dried out wax remains as powder. The powder can be swept away with a soft brush and a needle. Compressed air from a spray can helps also.

Be always careful, because fine parts are very brittle. Rinsing in water is always the last step before painting.

Other products:

US friends have told me that products called Bestine, Goo-Gone or De-Solve are working well. They are not easily available here in Europe.

In this video a modeler use Bleche-White tyre cleaner in a video, but you must be much more careful with the toothbrush than this guy: http://youtu.be/mVYnbsnoB3Q


Aceton and Mineral/white spirit dissolves perhaps the wax but also dissolves the plastic leading to breakage and failure. 

Avoid hot water or hot air.