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Not Cleanable--Not cleaned [message #22894] Fri, 21 January 2011 16:22 UTC Go to previous message
avatar Atropos907  is currently offline Atropos907
Messages: 8
Registered: June 2010
Go to my shop
Junior Member
So as many of you may have encountered, sometimes there is an apparent dead-end when you get a model uploaded that is "not cleanable" but you dont seem to be willing to make the sacrifice needed to make it cleanable (bigger holes, split model in two, etc etc). Shapways is supposedly considering making it an option to deliver a model without cleaning, though as I understand it this mainly applies to Detail material as it uses a gel support material, where the rest are powder and easily removed.

Kevin was kind enough to remove this model from the line and deliver it without cleaning. I figured Id post a bit of my experience regarding this.

First, I love to paint these models and so I almost always order detail material as its easier to sand smooth than SWF (by far) and prints fine detailing nicely, or at least better than SWF where fine detail is often lost in the bumpy noise. Since the detail is so important to me, despite Shapeways's best cleaning efforts I always have to trace out every bit of detail with a toothpick and warm water to remove gell from the corners. Most likely wouldn't notice this gunk but I'm picky about it.

When it arrived it was a comical block of gel that roughly resembled my model.
index.php?t=getfile&id=6755&private=0
I was going to use a waterjet to clean it but figured, most wont have a waterjet handy so I should stick to more conventional tools. I dont know the toxicity of this gell so I made sure to isolate from any food dish items (as I did this in my sink over a small bucket to collect the waste). First I took a toothpick and all over the model just stabbed straight in to hit solid model, then did little circles with the toothpick. Then I often dipped in warm water and then started just scraping the model with the toothpick to break off larger and then smaller chunks of gell. I also tried just useing my finger to push into the gell but I recommend a small tool hard enough to penetrate the gell but soft enough not to damage the model... toothpicks or small meat skewers seemed the best.

After most of the gell was removed I then soaked in hot soapy water, and treated it as a normal model from shapeways. I just traced all of the details with the toothpick. Then I sanded it with 400 grit wet-dry, periodically dipping it in the water.

While a bit of a pain, for me it was worth getting the model I wanted. Total it took about 30 minutes to clean a 70mm long model, though I normally take 15 minutes to clean such a model anyway.

I hope shapeways makes this an option as there are some models many of us don't want to compromise on any more than we have to. If they do then information about the support material, like an MSDS would be useful. But as always be careful and be smart. (admitidly I didnt look for an MSDS, I just treated it as low level toxic, dont ingest, touch face, or get in into wounds, and wash hands after contact. Dont flush down drain. I filtered waste water through a cofee filter then threw the filter and gell away. Possibly overkill...)

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[Updated on: Fri, 21 January 2011 16:25 UTC]

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