To smoothen 3D printed PLA parts I need ethyl acetate. This is a pretty cheap solvent to synthesize but still to expensive to buy, so I would like to make it myself.

I have seen that ethanol and acetic acid are combined in a Fischer esterification with sulfuric acid as catalyst, then the solution gets distilled afterwards to yield ethyl acetate. I don't have sulfuric acid but I have:

  • Ethanol 95% (with impurities to make it non consumable)
  • Acetic acid 8%

Also, I don't really have to distillate the solution since the other chemicals don't harm the PLA. Will simply mixing these two solutions produce a little bit of ethyl acetate? And how can I maximize the yield?

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    $\begingroup$ It's actually kinda funny because I answered a very similar question about an hour ago. I wouldn't use acetic acid, even $\ce{HCl}$ will be significantly better. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jun 29 '17 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ In the absence of other acids you can give acetic acid a shot, though make sure to distill the water out with a $\ce{CaCl2}$ drying tube. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jun 29 '17 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ My bad, I didn't know that. You can use calcium oxide, but keep in mind that it reacts with water exothermically, and don't let the forming $\ce{Ca(OH)2}$ contact with your mixture. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jun 29 '17 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ Pretty much, unless somebody else suggests a different approach. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jun 29 '17 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ My suggestion is to never attempt to make a commodity solvent when you can buy it. It's a waste if time and money. You'll also need to purify it... $\endgroup$ – Zhe Jun 29 '17 at 14:19

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