How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post your advice, tips, suggestions, etc...
User avatar
Artenen
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:37 am
Location: Sheboygan, WI

How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by Artenen » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:52 am

I'm wondering the best ways to get an ultra smooth finish on a PLA printed part.

Sanding?

Primer?

What has worked for the veterans here?

User avatar
jimc
Posts: 2888
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:30 pm
Location: mullica, nj
Contact:

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by jimc » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:56 am

well i paint for a living. if you want a super smooth finish on a 3d printed part then sand it smooth, spray a primer/surfacer, sand that smooth and paint the part.

mchawkeye
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by mchawkeye » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:10 pm

Yep, start sanding with something like 120 or 180 wet and dry and go up to 220. Spray with filler primer, sand again at 220 or higher. Repeat until smooth.

Some pla takes sanding better than others; I found colorfab pla to take sanding quite nicely, other I have had to use it wet or the pla tends to gum up rather than sand down, and the water or fluid tends to help avoid this by keeping the part cooler.

Finish with a final coat of primer before topcoat.

ketil
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:58 pm

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by ketil » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:08 pm

Someone suggested that I sand plastic with wet paper and submerge the part in water while sanding, to avoid fine plastic dust in the air you are breathing. I have no idea how important this is, so it sounded sensible to me at the time, and that is what I've done the few times I've tried.

User avatar
jimc
Posts: 2888
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:30 pm
Location: mullica, nj
Contact:

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by jimc » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:16 pm

haha if that was the case i would have been dead a long time ago.

mchawkeye
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by mchawkeye » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:30 pm

ketil wrote:Someone suggested that I sand plastic with wet paper and submerge the part in water while sanding, to avoid fine plastic dust in the air you are breathing. I have no idea how important this is, so it sounded sensible to me at the time, and that is what I've done the few times I've tried.

I must say I have never heard of that! I work as a modelmaker, so I like to think I have heard it all when it comes to sanding techniques. All this does is sound...inconvenient.

The water or polishing fluid is there to lubricate the surfaces and cool down the part to prevent any...ugliness. if you are sanding something and creating so much dust it becomes and issue, use a dust mask. that won't get in the way of your...wrist action...like working against water would.

if you are sanding flat sided elements, put the paper on a level block/table and work the piece on top of it, in a figure of eight movement. it maintains the flatness and should stop you from creating a bias to one side.

jimschanz
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:53 am

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by jimschanz » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:05 am

I spray on Rustoleum Triple Thick Glaze, (see attached example) usually four coats. The trick is to apply it as thickly as possible without allowing it to run.
Attachments
2 Coats Gloss plus 2 Coats Matt.jpg
PLA .1mm resolution. Approximately 4.25 inch long. 2 coats Rustoleum Triple Thick Glaze Glossy + 2 coats Matte
(331.63 KiB) Downloaded 2711 times

User avatar
Dave K
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:13 am

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by Dave K » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:02 am

That's a gorgeous finish, Jim!

User avatar
jimc
Posts: 2888
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:30 pm
Location: mullica, nj
Contact:

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by jimc » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:05 am

yes very nice!

metrons
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:42 am
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Contact:

Re: How to get a smooth finish on a PLA printed part

Post by metrons » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:50 pm

@ jimschanz

do you have an image what your print looked like before you did that glaze? that looks killer. any tips on spraying on this rustoleum?

Post Reply