Coating for Smoothing 3D prints

  • Smooth-On, Inc.
    (Thanks for RobotechX’s sharing in the Kickstarter comments.)

Guys, wondering how to make your printing look like metal?
Check out this cool product! Share your thoughts!

1 Like … you can print copper, magnets and even steel… so no need to use coating, just use your 3d printer instead :wink:

I printed a lot of ABS parts and used an acetone vapor bath to finish the parts and the results where amazing. No sanding needed.

For PLA there is a similar procedure using tetrahydrofuran (THF) but I don’t have any experience with it.
Check out:

On 3D Printing Toys on Facebook, someone tried this stuff. They gave pictures and showed that due to the stuff being of a liquid state, no matter what they did, some still flowed and settled on various areas that caught it. It filled in details and wasn’t quite what he was expecting. While it did seem to work ok,he also had a vapor treated one and showed he got better results that way. Ultimately I think he decided sanding would end up being less work than keeping the smoothing gel flowing.

1 Like

I had very good results with the vapor bath. I used a big pot on a heating plate (heating plate on low heat). Put some acetone in it and gave it some time to evaporate. Then I put the printed piece inside (on a platform) and waited about 30min. The thing is that the vapor does not distribute evenly at first. So I mounted e fin on the lid and by spinning the lid the vapor got some flow that resulted in a very good finish.

That coating also does a great job of making translucent filaments more clear. Check out what it looks like with Taulman TGlase!

Has anyone seen the PolySmooth filament and the machine to smooth it: Polysher? Apparently the filament is not PLA, but should be printable on PLA friendly machines. I think it smooths in an alcohol based vapor. Anyway, check out the kickstarter for more info:

Kickstarter Link

I know several folks who have played with acetone smoothing, and I’ve wondered about ultrasonic atomizers before… Neat that somebody put them together.

I’m not sure what their material is, but being alcohol soluble is nice. I wonder what they do to avoid releasing it into the air when you open the unit?

Thanks for the post, this will be an interesting one to watch.

I’m wondering if it’s possible to airbrush alcohol onto the material for effect. Or even mixing a solution of paint or metal powders to alcohol it onto a print.

I do the acetone vapor on a regular basis with my ABS prints. The results are good, but the larger the object is the harder it is to get an even coat. However, I’ve been experimenting putting metal powders onto the object then acetone vapor bath it and it seems to infuse the metal into the object. It opens some interesting possibilities.