Cleaning Parts Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner

NOTE: Follow all safety precautions and guidelines set forth in the User Guide for the ultrasonic cleaner you have purchased.

Always wear 100% nitrile gloves whenever handling an uncured printed part, as well as when handling any solvent used to clean such parts.

CAUTION: The federal OSHA requirement 29 CFR Part 1910.242(b) states: Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where reduced to less than 30 psi and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment.

While the User Guide for your ultrasonic cleaner will provide specific-use instructions, the steps outlined below describe how 3D Systems recommends cleaning build parts via an ultrasonic cleaner. This procedure will reference the Cleaning Charts from the previous section. There are two ways to set up your ultrasonic cleaner:

  1. Indirect ultrasonic energy transfer - Energy is transferred through a medium, such as water, before it reaches your solvent containers inside the tanks. If space in your cleaner allows, you may place both Wash and Rinse tanks in the cleaner at the same time. Use this setup if you only have one ultrasonic cleaner available.
  2. Direct ultrasonic energy transfer - Your Wash and Rinse solvents are the medium for energy transfer. In this case, each solvent is poured directly into its own, dedicated ultrasonic cleaner. Use this setup if you have at least two ultrasonic cleaners available.

Cleaning Procedure

  1. Label your steel or glass containers as Wash and Rinse.
  1. Wearing nitrile gloves, place the printed part inside your Wash container. Pour Wash solvent into the container until you completely submerge the printed part. Ensure the solvent is not saturated for this step. Please see the section When to Change Cleaning Solvents for more information.
  1. Place Wash container inside the ultrasonic cleaner.

CAUTION: Ensure that your ultrasonic cleaner is properly rated to use flammable solvents. Failure to do so could present a fire hazard.

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  1. Follow the instructions in your ultrasonic cleaner's User Guide to power it on and begin cleaning. Run the Wash cycle for the time specified in the Cleaning Chart.
  1. After the Wash cycle has finished, remove the printed part from the ultrasonic cleaner using nitrile gloves. You may wish to use shop air or an air compressor to dry the part in between cleanings, as this is an effective method for getting one solvent off the part before cleaning it with another.
  1. For the Rinse cycle, follow Steps 2-5 once more, using the Rinse solvent specified in the Cleaning Chart. You may wish to use shop air or an air compressor to dry the part after this Rinse cycle.
  2. Inspect the part for shiny areas and surface tackiness. If either exists, there could still be uncured resin on the part. Use your solvent squirt bottle and cleaning brush to further clean the part. Dry the part with compressed air. Repeat this process as needed until no shiny or sticky areas remain on the part.
  3. Be sure to rinse your cleaning brush(es) in fresh IPA and place covers on your solvent containers when not in use.
  4. The printed part is now ready for drying and UV post-curing.

CAUTION: Cleaning printed parts for any time longer than is prescribed in this manual risks creating defects in the part.