Finishing off 3D prints is a labour-intensive process, and getting a good looking, smooth surface suitable for painting takes a lot of time and plenty of practice. Deeper printing layer lines or minor surface defects can be smoother over with a variety of materials, from putties to resins, but the deeper the defect, the thicker the filler and that takes it toll on the surface details – smoothing those out and making fine details less distinct. [Darkwing dad] has another solution that looks pretty easy to achieve, by mixing acetone with glazing putty it can be airbrushed over the print surface in one go. After a little experimentation with the ratio of putty to acetone, a wide open nozzle and a low pressure, it was found that a nice even spray could be achieved. Importantly it dries in just a few minutes, enabling multiple coats to be applied in a short space of time.
Once sufficient thickness has been applied, the coating can easily sanded to get a smooth result with the worst of the gaps filled, and the layer lines nicely hidden. The final part of the filling process is more typical, with a few coats of filler primer applied straight from a rattle can, followed by a light sand and you’re good for painting.
We’ve covered smoothing 3D prints practically as long as we’ve been covering 3D printing itself, and there are multiple ways to do this, depending on the filament material, your budget and you tolerance for noxious fumes. Here’s a guide for smoothing using UV curable resins, using a special smoothable filament with IPA, and finally if this is just too fancy, smelly or expensive, just whip out the old butane torch and smooth those prints with good old fashioned fire.
Thanks [Zane] for the tip!