Surface Finishing of 3D Printed Parts

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About: I am a maker for as long as I can remember, my first invention was at the age of 3. Electronic product design and development is my thing. I am a professional engineer with 12+ years of experience, currently...

Quick Steps:

  1. Join parts with Elfi/Super glue, add baking soda powder over glue where reinforcement is required.
  2. Sand for smoothing out the part using 200,320, 500 grit sandpaper.
  3. Spray paint each part. 3 coats, let each part dry in shade prior to moving to the next part. Spray Lacquer coat or acrylic coat on top for a glossy finish.

Supplies:

  • Super Glue
  • baking powder
  • Sandpapers(320-1200 grit)
  • Plastic Enamel
  • Primer
  • Steel Potein
  • Spray Can
  • Lacquer spray, Acrylic coat

Step 1: Detailed Process

  1. Initial smoothing of parts with 320 grit sandpaper to remove any open filament ends.
  2. Join the parts with super glue. (drop baking powder with a pinch over the wet glue to reinforcement and closing of holes).
  3. Spray plastic enamel over the parts.
  4. Spray primer over the parts.
  5. Add steel potein (putty filler) where required i.e in split lines, cracks or print deformations.
  6. Sand the parts with 320 grit all the way to 1200 or 2000 level.
  7. Spray paint a light coat with an airbrush.
  8. Do further sanding as required over the parts.
  9. Do 3-4 coats of spray paints as required.
  10. Make each coat very very light, a heavy coat will create lumps and ruin the surface finish. To undo paint at any point use paint thinner.

Additional Tip:

If the parts are not joining well with super glue. Use magic clear Epoxy along with super glue.

Let each layer dry completely before proceeding to the next layer.

Caution: Don't let your 3D printed parts heat up during the process i.e. rapid sanding, drying in the sun or via hot air blower. This may bend the parts.

Wear safety glasses and gloves when sanding and applying super glue.

These are the steps that I use. People have made some brilliant videos on youtube, go check them out too.

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