Layer Line Removal Putty Reviewed

[Teaching Tech] is not alone in hating layer lines in 3D prints and also hates sanding. He recently tried Incredafill putty, a UV-curable putty that you can use to cover up lines in prints. Once covered and cured, you sand the putty smooth. You can see what he thought of the product in the video below.

As many people suggested in the video comments, you can pull the same trick with UV resin thickened with some other substance. We’ve even covered using diluted resin to get a similar effect. The putty has more of the appearance of hair cream or some kind of ointment, so it was easy to spread around with a gloved finger. A brush also worked. UV curing was done by a small flashlight or the handy sun. However, you’ll see later that he used a UV curing station and that works well if you have one.

Of course, even after applying the putty, you still have to sand. We are assuming the sanding is easier than trying to sand the actual layer lines smooth. On the other hand, the resin dust is probably pretty toxic, so there is a trade-off involved.

The results did look good. Of course, since there was still sanding involved, how good it looks will depend on your sanding tools, your technique, and — perhaps most importantly — your patience. Sanding can do a lot for 3D prints. We might not trust it completely with resin dust, but you could get rid of at least some of the dust with a downdraft table.

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Smooth 3D Prints With Alcohol

There was a time when most 3D printers used ABS, which is a great plastic for toughness, but is hard to print with since it tends to warp. Worse still, it stinks and the fumes may be bad for you. Most people have switched over to printing in PLA these days, but one thing you might miss with this more forgiving plastic is vapor smoothing with acetone; a smoothed print doesn’t show layer lines and looks more like plastic part that didn’t go through a nozzle.

[Major Hardware] likes the look of vapor smoothed parts, but doesn’t like working with ABS and acetone fumes, so he’s started using Polysmooth. As you can see in the video below, the results look good, but be warned that the filament is relatively pricey. Plus you need to use a $300 machine that atomizes your alcohol into a mist. We feel certain you could do the same thing for less since it appears to just be like a humidifier, but we’d also suggest being careful putting flammable substances in a consumer-grade humidifier and certainly don’t use a vaporizer.

The filament sounds like it is on par with PLA for ease of printing. The material has a higher glass temperature than PLA but less than ABS. The tensile strength and Young’s modulus (a measure of stiffness) numbers are comparable to ABS. Although all smoothing has some imperfections and you probably need to experiment with times and other parameters. The smoothing did fuse some movable joints, so anything that moves or fits together is probably a bad candidate for this process. We’ve also heard that thin-walled parts can get soft in water due to alcohol residue, but you can dry or soak the part clean to avoid that.

If you want to try your own hand at making a mist, this might get you started. After all, if it can handle acetone, we imagine alcohol isn’t any worse. While it isn’t as easy to handle as alcohol, we hear the solvents such as THF or ethyl acetate can smooth regular PLA. Heat guns and open flames are popular, too.

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