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I have used cyanoacrylate glue aka superglue to bond PLA. I have created several electronics enclosures. (Definitely the most time-consuming part of the project.)

Now my question is which debonder/solvent can I use to separate the pieces again without destroying the PLA parts?

Wikipedia proposes the following:

  • nitromethane
  • dimethyl sulfoxide,
  • methylene chloride,
  • gamma-Butyrolactone.
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    $\begingroup$ Hah! Wikipedia wants to kill you! Try hot water -- unless that will warp your parts too much. "Pro Tip" -- don't bond things you want to take apart, and in general try to design things which use either connecting features or bolt holes to assemble. $\endgroup$ Sep 14 '16 at 19:21
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Acetone

Acetone will dissolve cynoacrylate (superglue) and should weaken it enough to be able to separate the parts.
A readily available cheap source of acetone is nail varnish remover (just make sure you don't buy the acetone free version!).
Give the pieces a soak in nail varnish remover for 10-20 minutes and they should come apart with some prying.
Acetone does not dissolve PLA, so the PLA parts should be undamaged. If you were to try this on ABS parts however, they would begin to dissolve.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think PLA is completely unaffected by acetone though (and if it is, acetone might affect additives or colorants in the specific brand of plastic you have).You might want to try first on a test piece you don't care about before you try this. $\endgroup$ Sep 23 '16 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ I tried to dissolve some PLA by leaving it in a jar of acetone -- no visible effect even after a few weeks. But it's still good to test first just in case. $\endgroup$
    – TextGeek
    Oct 28 '16 at 17:41
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Gamma butyrolactone is by far the best product to remove cyanoacrylate and also great to dissolve PLA.

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  • $\begingroup$ if it dissolves PLA and CA, then it is a bad idea to use it to remove CA from PLA. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Nov 27 '18 at 18:26

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