New Method Makes 3D Printed Objects Smooth
CREDIT: Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood
Wish your 3D printed creations didn’t look quite so home-made? A new technique for smoothing out the layered look of 3D printed materials makes it possible for do-it-yourselfers to create finished products worthy of a spot in the trophy case.
The method of treating acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) parts with acetone actually isn’t new at all. Acetone has long been used by DIY 3D enthusiasts to create a polished finish on printed materials. But the following process proposed by Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood makes the polished look much easier to accomplish and has more consistent results.
All that’s needed is a heated build plate, which is a standard part of home-printing set-ups, a glass jar, some aluminum foil, a bent metal hanger, and a bottle of acetone. The lidded glass jar, filled with a few millimeters of acetone, is placed on the hot plate and the object in need of smoothing is lowered into the acetone vapor bath. The vapors will erode the rough exterior of the printed object in a matter of minutes.
A more detailed version of this process is outlined on the RepRap blog, and anyone hoping to try this method out might want to consider setting up shop outdoors. After all, acetone vapors are smelly, flammable, and mildly toxic.