3D Surface Finishing Techniques - WerkplaatsIDC




This instructable was made together with Olike .

For the first technique we will use 3 kinds of sandpaper

- 100 grit sandpaper

- 180 grit sandpaper

- 320 grit sandpaper

(it is optional to use a 600 grit sandpaper if you want to have a really clean and extremely smooth finish).

Besides that we will also use polyester putty to fix some damaged corners and edges and a piece of wood to mix our putty on.

And the last thing we will need for our finish is 2 spray cans:

- 1 primer (made for plastic surfaces) spray can

- 1 paint spray can


Step 1: Sanding and Painting Your 3D-printed Piece

We will use this geometric form to demonstrate our first finishing technique.

Step 2: Sanding the Piece

Start out by sanding the piece with the 100 grit sandpaper for 5-10 minutes.

Then do the same thing but with the 180 grit sandpaper and after that, repeat the same step but with the 320 grit sandpaper.

By sanding you will give your piece smooth surfaces without any imperfections or excess plastic.

Step 3: Preparing the Putty

If you happen to damage an edge or corner then don't worry, you're piece isn't ruined yet. You can fix any imperfections easily with polyester potty.

First, take the piece of wood and mix the polyester putty.

Step 4: Apply the Putty

Take the plastic piece that came with your polyester putty and scoop a little bit and spread it on the damaged edge or corner.

(Don't be afraid to put a lot of putty on the damaged part, the more putty the better)

Step 5: Sanding the Putty

Repeat step number 2 with the same sandpapers after the putty has dried.

Step 6: Cleaning and Applying the Primer

In order to have a good undercoat we will have to spray primer made for plastic surfaces on the piece we're working on.

You can clean the surface with a brush to remove any dust that may be left on the piece.

Some tips to avoid dripping:

- spray carefully in strokes from left to right

- after applying one layer, wait 30 minutes until the primer is dry

Step 7: Applying the Paint Layer

Repeat step 5 but with the paint spray can.

Give the piece a couple of layers until you reach the result you desire.

Step 8: Technique #2: Putty

As we have seen with the first technique you can use putty to fix small holes or broken edges or corners.

To further demonstrate how we can utilise putty, we will be filling up a 3D-printed piece with an extruded text that says "3D". We will only treat the top surface for this example.

Step 9: Preparing the Putty and Applying the Polyester Putty

We will be using the same polyester putty we made for the first technique. Make sure you fill the holes that you want gone completely.

Step 10: Sanding

We will be using the same sanding process we used with the first technique. Start off by sanding with 100 grit sandpaper, proceed to 180 grit sandpaper and finish with 320 grit sandpaper.

Step 11: Apply Paper Tape Up to the Edge of Where You Want the Paint to Go (optional)

Because we will only paint the top surface, we will apply paper tape to the sides in order to prevent any dripping on the sides.

Step 12: Apply Putty Spray and Primer

After that you need to apply putty spray. This will fill up the resulting holes. When fully sanded, you can apply the primer paint.

Step 13: Apply Paint

Repeat the same spray process of the first technique.

Step 14: Technique 3: What We Will Need

For the last technique we will use a mix of hardener and polyester for the bottom surface.

Step 15: Mixing Hardener With the Polyester

Mix a little bit of hardenes with polyester

Step 16: Apply Mixed Putty to Surface With a Brush

Step 17: Sand the Bottom Surface

Step 18: Apply the Primer Coat

For this surface we will use a metallic paint coat.

Step 19: Apply Paint Coat

Step 20: Results



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    11 Discussions


    1 year ago

    i am using this method it is a bit lengthy but you can achieve surface like glass.


    2 years ago

    leuk maar onhaalbaar, en te veel tijd, kun je net zo goed alles verbloemen met putty en andere troep.

    gewoon je printer TOP instellen, daar ga je toch voor. en of acetone, voor abs, en IEDEREEN kan tegenwoording ABS printen.

    dit is echt tijd verdoen. sorry, maar ik moet eerlijk zijn.

    je gooit zelfs 2 compnenten polyerster over en 3D print, wat is dat voor onvrede naar de 3D printers.

    blijkbaar moet jij jezelf nog erg verbeteren in het leren van printen op en GOEDE MANIER.

    KIJK EN LEER\\\ Watch and LEARN FROM IT....I am WannaDuino!!!!



    2 years ago

    Thanks, awesome!

    Somewhat related but I'd love to see a FDM 3D printer that has a second toolhead to do this "on the fly". Similar to how you would use a spatula to smooth a surface while using putty on a wall, you could have a toolhead that can rotate and heats up to smooth the most recently printed area. Not sure if this is feasible and practical but I'd love to see some experiments.


    2 years ago

    Acetone will only work on ABS not PLA and the fumes can be extremely explosive, so never use around any open flame or spark source.


    2 years ago

    You can smooth a lot of prints by using an acetone vapor bath. You need VERY LITTLE HEAT to get acetone to vaporize. Though it's not a carcinogen, it's certainly not healthy to inhale them, so use excellent ventilation, or do outdoors. A standard heating pad underneath the jar is PLENTY. The prints will be sticky at first, so you need to not touch the smooth surfaces and wait for it to cure for a day or two. You can even get a mirror finish sometimes if you are careful and patient.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    You should do an instructable on that technique, I would love to see it in action.


    2 years ago

    These techniques work well with geometric parts but what about not geometric shapes. Any techniques to finish them?

    2 replies
    Rocket Nut

    2 years ago

    I use XTC-3d high performance 3d print coating.


    2 years ago

    ik werk bij praxis en zag ineens onze spuitbussen staan haha. apart. heb je ook ervaring met het lijmen van 3d prints?