3D Printing the Smart Way ~ Part 3

Updated September 2019

3D Printing the Smart Way

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In the last article I explained the expenses of 3D printing and my experience using Shapeways thus far. So you place an order and receive the piece. Now what?

How to Prep A 3D-Printed Part For Painting

I’ve used versatile and versatile processed plastics for my printed items. The items have arrived pretty much ready to paint. There will be some powder residue from the base material the items are Haynes ST service bedcreated from. This is most noticeable on items that have hollow parts such as the Haynes beds. Notice the holes in the bottom of the cabinets. By making the cabinets hollow, the cost of the piece is lower as the amount of material needed to create the items is reduced. There will be left over base material that does not fully empty from the cabinets. In all cases I blow the items off with compressed air before painting.

Tips For Painting 3D-Printed Parts

Painting 3D parts for the first time was a learning experience. These parts in versatile plastics take a ton of paint! A laser bonds the base material with extreme heat. The end product, when using versatile plastic is a porous plastic when finished. Think sponge. What I found was the paint will permeate the piece bleeding though to the other side. Many coats of paint have been necessary to get a nice smooth finish which I have not achieved to my liking. Of course I have not experimented with other print material yet which I am sure will affect how the piece takes paint. I plan to experiment with some kind of sealant as a first coat to reduce the amount of paint necessary to get the finish I am looking for.

Saving Time With Color 3D Printing

Colored plastics are available for a slightly higher cost which has been interesting. I had a frame that attaches to end dump trucks designed.  I normally would make this part out of white styrene or brass tube I painted. My last 3d order contained black printed frames which turned out super cool and I did do not have to paint them for black framed trucks. They are a matte finish versus glossy but look very nice. Other colors are available. For model builders that are into field equipment and make shanks, blades or other types of repetitive parts, printing in black could be a huge time saver.

Gluing 3D-Printed Parts

Glueing…I found the parts I have been buying do not glue like styrene parts for example. Again I attribute this to the porous nature of the finished plastic. The super glue absorbs into piece which has taken getting used to. I plan to experiment with other types of adhesives but I sure like super glue.

Next up: How to set up your store

There was quite a learning curve involved so do subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest 1.64 scale tutorials and help guides. Please ask questions in the comment box.

See you next time!