Syringe with diluted nail polish used to fill into cursive "FuzzyLogic" letters extruded into a surface of a 3D-printed block of plastic, as a demonstration.

Brighten Up Your Prints With This Nail Polish Approach

It’s not enough to 3D-print a part – there’s a myriad of things you can do from there! [FuzzyLogic] shows us his approach of adding inlay labels, icons and text to a 3D print, by extruding them into the print and filling the resulting cavity with nail polish! This makes for colorful and useful prints, as opposed to dull single-color parts we typically end up with.

The devil’s in the details, and [FuzzyLogic] has got the details down to a technique. Nail polish has to be diluted with acetone so that it flows well, and a particular combination of syringe and needle will be your friend here. Of course, don’t forget to factor surface tension in – even with well-diluted nail polish, you cannot make the grooves too thin. A bit more acetone on a q-tip helps in case of any happy little accidents, and a coat of clear acrylic spray paint seals the lettering firmly in place. The five-minute video tells you all about these things and a quite few more, like the basics of extruding text and icons in a typical CAD package, and has a bit of bonus footage to those watching until the end.

Adding markings to our prints is a lovely finishing touch! If you’re looking for more of that, here’s a custom tool-changing printer with a pen attachment making beautiful custom enclosures for the Pocket Operator.

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3D Printing School Of Knocks

Unless you are under age 20, there are probably things you know now that you wish you knew growing up. Even on hacker¬†projects, it isn’t unusual to do better on your second whatchamacallit than on your first one. After all, you learn something each time and apply it to subsequent builds.

[James Lewis] (sometimes known as the [Bald Engineer]) has spent a couple of years with a 3D printer. He says that as of March this year, he had used the machine for about 75 hours. Since then his usage went up to 300 hours because he’s finally learned his lessons about how to get good prints.

If you are experienced, you might not be surprised at the first tip: level the bed. Don’t let that fool you, though. [James] has some good tips on advanced bed materials and¬†print filament, too.

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