If you are looking for an effective and safer way to smooth your 3D prints, then my first suggestion would be to try an epoxy solution rather than acetone. I have tried using acetone on my 3D models previously, however, the fumes became overpowering. This was just using the cold acetone method and not the highly dangerous heated method.
Tools of the 3D Printing Trade
After going through my 3D Prints, I found the Darth Vader Melted Mask model that I printed a while back. It had very prominent print lines throughout, so after a little bit of Googling, I came across on Amazon the Z-Poxy PT39 30 Minute Set in an 8oz set.
A few other tools that I purchase while on Amazon were mixing cups, stirring sticks, and horse hair brushes. These tools are pretty much essential when it comes to mixing and applying the Z-Poxy solution to your 3D prints.
[bctt tweet ="My Darth Vader Melted Mask started looking like a drooling bulldog!!"]
How To Smooth your 3D Prints
I used a one to one solution of the resin and the hardener as specified in the instructions. This was squeezed into one of the mixing cups , and then using the stirring sticks, the solution was mixed for a good minute until it went cloudy. Once mixed thoroughly together, you can start applying the mixture to the 3D print using the horse hair brushes.
When applying the solution to the 3D prints, make sure you don’t over apply to the surface as this will make the model look lumpy even though the resin does dry clear. Pay special attention to overhangs, as too much application in these areas will cause an excess dripping look. Just like in my video that I created down below, my Darth Vader Melted Mask started looking like a drooling bulldog.
The Z-Poxy solution recommends 12 hours for the epoxy to fully cure. Whilst it is quoted as being a 30 minute solution, this is just the time before the hardener starts setting.
Here’s couple of things to note when using any sort of epoxy solution:
- Make sure you work in a well ventilated area
- Make sure you have the right tools for the job
- Have some isopropyl alcohol handy for rinsing your brushes and the container
- Have something underneath the 3D model so it doesn’t stick to the desk or table you are working on
- Make sure you don’t touch the 3D model for at least 12 hours or you’ll get fingerprints
- Instead of puncturing the top of the bottle, chop off a little bit more so the solution comes out easier
- To make the edges a little bit smoother, use some Blue Tack or double sided tape to raise the 3D model
- Start from the inside of the 3D model especially the crevasses and then work your way outside
- Don’t layer the solution on too thick
With all said and done, there is a learning curve to getting this exactly right. And just with anything, practice makes perfect. If you’d like to see the process from start to finish, then check out my YouTube video and make sure that you subscribe to my YouTube channel for all the latest updates.
Have you done any post-processing to your 3D models? Or have you tried using epoxy as a smoother for your 3D prints? Leave a comment down below, and let me know what methods you use for your 3D models.