Do not use IPA to clean the FEP. Why not?
The handbook is very insisting on not to using IPA to clean the FEP film, but nowhere an explanation why not.
IPA is used to clean everything else for resin and is very effective at doing that. The recommend use of warm water and disc-wash soap is a little messy.
As I understand it, FEP is chemical resistant like PTFE (Teflon) and should not be damaged by alcohol (IPA).
Other SLA printer manufacturers suggest using IPA/Alcohol for cleaning their FEP films.
Is the SL1 FEP film special in any way or is there another good reason for avoiding IPA when cleaning the FEP film?
Can’t say for certain, but it may have to do with contaminating the resin. Too much IPA and it simply won’t work anymore.
I bought an dry PTFE spray and sprayed the FEP, and with paper towel cleaned it, I haven't had a failed bed adhesion since that.
I did some search on FEP and found, that it is used in the mold and chemical industry as a coating as it is very slippery (like Teflon), is chemical resistant and should not react to IPA.
Tried wiping the SL1 tank FEP film with paper soaked in IPA followed by wiping in dry clean paper. Result was a cleaner and more transparent film with no side efftects as far as I could see.
If the problem is contaminating the resin, make sure the tank is dry before filling it again with resin.
Anyone else have any experience using IPA to clean the FEP film?
I still use IPA to clean the FEP (did try dish soap and water, didn't get great results!), my SL1 printer is a beta test printer and is still using the original FEP...
far be it for me to recommend ignoring the Prusa recommendation...
I am simply a rebel... for example I wash both my PEI stickered Build plate and my Powder coated mk3 build plate with hot water and dish soap...
and I use glue stick for sticking paper together,
worst of all, I used Hairspray to keep my hair tidy in the wind, yesterday!
but I do use talcum powder on the mk3 build plate, to prevent my TPU sticking too well.
I use IPA on the FEP on the SL1 & other Chinese printers, can't say I have seen any adverse effects, windex has also worked very well for me, perhaps even better than IPA.
once clean I give it a spray with rain x, not saying I recommend this, I don't have long term usage data yet.
Thanks to Hobsie comment on the other thread, I understood why they tell not to clean with IPA. It is the same effect as if you clean your FDM printer bed with IPA. It is making the bed adhesion better, but on an SLA, you don't want you print to stuck to the FEP but to the platform, so cleaning with soapy water makes it less sticky and thus your print has less chance to detach from the platform. They can explain this in the booklet, would be kind of critical I guess.
If IPA on FEP makes the print stick more, that warning make sense.
It could explain why many new users has problems with the first print sticking too much and failing (clean new FEP). Subsequent cleanings with hot water, soap and paper towels makes it less sticky and the next print is a success (that was my experience).
IPA is great to get the FEP real clean, but it must be followed by wash in soap water or thinned windows cleaner to make it less sticky before printing.
That should be explained in the "Printing Haandbook" instead of saying "Do not use IPA to clean the FEP".
It's best not to touch the film with anything but a silicon spatula. You don't want micro abrasions or scratches of any kind for it to last. Why would you need to use IPA in the first place? I print with different resins all the time and all I have to do is pour the leftover resin from the tank into a container (not back into the bottle) and wipe the rest of the resin with a silicon spatula. You can find small sized ones at Walmart for literally $1 each. Don't worry about small amounts of resin being left in the tank. Pour in the new resin and it'll print fine. I guarantee it.
Why would you need to use IPA in the first place?
I'm finishing up the assembly (I hope!) and the film has a smudge or two on it. A little weird that the assembly instructions stress being careful to not tear the film but make no mention of touching/scratching it. And no mention of how to clean it.
Not sure what the verdict in the posts above is.. Do I give it a gentle wipe with an alcohol swab or no?
What kind of smudge? resin, fingerprints, or machining oil/grease? The latter might be tough to clean without IPA but I'd try my method below first.
I use Pec Pads to clean the glass panel and also the film if I need to wipe a stubborn cured piece off from a failed print. You can dip it in some resin and wipe the grease off that way. I wouldn't use IPA on the film. I use the lens wipes to clean the glass/quartz areas only. If you happen to get resin on the bottom of the film where it touches the glass and it starts to stick, just wipe the glass REALLY well multiple times and replace the film completely. Don't even attempt to try to clean it. I don't know where you are located but I buy my FEP films from flexvat (US) and cut them to size.