Using acetone vapour is a tried and tested method of smoothing ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic parts to achieve a greater finish. Acetone typically lessens the appearance of print lines and can also be used to fuse parts together.

ABS is widely used in the 3D printing industry, but another plastic is also a favourite among 3D printer users around the world. PLA (PolyLactic acid) is considered to be less toxic than ABS (although we still prefer to not breath it in) and is also bio-degradable, whereas ABS is an oil-based plastic.

While there is loads of evidence of acetone working wonderfully with ABS (and we’ve got our on results to prove that), there’s less information on using the vapour technique to smooth parts printed with PLA. Thomas Sanladerer has posted a video on Youtube of his attempts to smooth PLA prints with acetone vapour.

From the video it can be seen that he doesn’t have much success. It’s apparent that acetone can be used to fuse PLA parts together, but smoothing PLA prints is another story. So for those wanting that smooth finish you’ll have to continue using ABS for now.