Slick Trick Adds Much-Needed Shine to 3-D Printed Parts

Slick Trick Adds Much-Needed Shine to 3-D Printed Parts

3-D printers have progressed a lot in the past couple years, but still can’t rival the output of injection-molding machines without violating expensive, patented post-processing techniques.

Enthusiasts have been trying to smooth their printed parts for years by submerging them in acetone or brushing the liquid solvent on by hand — both of which led to unhealthy amounts of chemical exposure and less-than-impressive parts. Now, makers Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood have developed a process that can approximate the results of professional molding machines with only a hot plate, mason jar, and a few ounces of acetone nail-polish remover.

ABS-based printed parts are placed in the jar with the acetone and heated to 90 degrees Celsius on the hot plate. Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish. After a couple hours, the parts solidify, can be removed, and be displayed with pride — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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