Model Making - From ABS to Ceramic and Wood





Introduction: Model Making - From ABS to Ceramic and Wood

3D printed ABS objects can be transformed using some basic materials to look like various realistic surfaces. This cup and base were first printed in blue ABS and were transformed to look like a wood base and a ceramic cup.


(Access to) 3D printer


Sandpaper (dry or wet)

Plastic primer (white/light color)

Spray paint (Nutmeg satin/matte, white gloss)

Step 1: Solidworks to 3D Printing

The solidworks model (exported as an STL) is 3D printed in ABS plastic. The model has a lined texture from the layering nature of the 3D printing process - the thickness of the layers depends on the precision of the printer.

Step 2: Smoothing ABS Texture

In order to smooth the ABS lines, the model is sanded and brushed with acetone (which dissolves the ABS slightly) to create a smooth finish. (The process can be repeated multiple times for the desired result.)

Step 3: Priming

The models are sprayed with primer compatible with plastic 2-3 times with about a half an hour drying period in between. The surfaces are sanded slightly with waterproof sand paper in between coats.

Step 4: Spray Painting

The cup is sprayed with 3 coats of white glossy spray paint with about an hour drying time in between. The same is done with the wooden base with nutmeg brown spray paint (satin as opposed to glossy). The models are sanded as necessary.

Step 5: Painting Grain

The wooden grain is drawn in using acrylic paint, copic marker, and a fine micron pen. The cup is finished with a coat of clear glossy spray enamel.



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    For 3D print enthousiasts who like to use PLA as a source material, Please keep in mind that Acetone does not have a similar effect on it as on ABS. Thank you!

    Thanks for that, I didnt know that either. So many people are trying to clean their 3d printer exrtuders of PLA blockages using acetone : )

    Brilliant. I hadnt known that you could achieve that smoothing effect so simply using acetone. Guess you have to be careful tho so you don't dissolve holes in your print.

    I could find if this was answered already but does the cup tip if it is not lined-up properly with the base/coaster?

    Awesome design! Well done!

    Love the design and the process.

    I've been curious about hand painting wood grain for a while. Any chance you've got more pictures of the process?

    Also, keep an eye out for contests that this would fit...the end result is stunning and I'm sure you could win something....

    I'm sorry I don't have more pictures - but I started with the acrylic paint (watered down quite a bit) and laid on a few strokes which pooled really nicely because of the spray paint underneath. Once that was dry, I went over it with the copic marker adding more definition to the striations and then much more sporadically with the micron pen to give it a few knots. It also helps to go over it with an enamel so the ink doesn't rub off. I hope that helps!

    Indeed, that does help. Thanks for the extra info!

    Excellent work! I was expecting an Alchemy 'Ible... :)

    This is a beautiful design! If it's alright with you I'd like to reference it and attempt to make something similar from wood and ceramic. A functional mug in this design would make a wonderful gift for your favorite coffee drinker (at least my favorite coffe drinker would love it).