July 19, 2021
For washing cured resin prints, Formlabs recommends two alcohol based solvents – Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) and Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether (TPM). IPA has been most commonly in use for a long time with great benefits. However, TPM offers some strong advantages over IPA that make it a better alternative for certain use cases and work environments.
What is TPM?
Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether (TPM) is a low-volatility, non-flammable, colorless, clear liquid with an ether odor and an oily feel. It dissolves liquid resin, making it effective for washing parts printed on Formlabs SLA printers. It can be washed off surfaces with water and soap. TPM can be used with the Form Wash or Finish Kit.
Choosing the right wash solvent is an important factor to get the best results from your Formlabs SLA printers. Here are 5 reasons why TPM might be a better alternative for you:
TPM is non-toxic and non-flammable. Compared to IPA, which is highly volatile and flammable, TPM is proven to have a higher safety standard especially for work environments that have poor ventilation and are at a greater risk of fires.
TPM cleans effectively at a higher resin concentration as compared to IPA. This means that as TPM dissolves liquid resin during the wash, it can continue to clean parts effectively while IPA would have to be replaced for the same resin concentration.
Low Risk of Part Damage
TPM is absorbed by cured resin less readily as compared to IPA. Leaving cured parts in IPA for a prolonged period causes warping as the cured resin absorbs IPA, but this is not the case for TPM. Cured resin parts are less sensitive to soaking in TPM and hence, there is low risk of warping or damage.
TPM has a low evaporation rate and mixes well with water. This makes it a more economical solvent than IPA in the longer run. If you do not print too frequently, TPM would be the better choice for you as it does not evaporate between prints like IPA does.
In some parts of the world, there are local restrictions to the procurement of IPA, making it difficult to source. TPM stands out as it is available globally, hence making it more accessible.
The process for washing prints with TPM is almost identical to IPA. Some resin parts do not absorb TPM readily so they can be washed for a longer time. Overall, TPM has some great advantages over IPA and is a superb alternative, depending on the type of application.
Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether (TPM) is a non-flammable*, low odor solvent that can be used to clean and dissolve uncured resin on stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed parts.
99% Isopropyl alcohol dissolves liquid resin, making it effective for washing parts printed on Formlabs SLA printers and for cleaning resin spills.
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