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  • Writer's pictureM Aerospace RTC

Unconventional Finishes for your 3D Prints

When it comes to finishing your 3D prints at home, some of the most satisfying parts of the project can be applying the final touches. We have several articles dedicated to different types of finish for various filaments, but most of those materials are the standard finishes for prints. What happens when you want a more unique finish, or are left needing a different color or texture and want to use household items to finalize your print? That’s where unconventional finish methods come in. We will cover some of our favorite methods and materials to use when printing at home and experimenting with different finishes.

Nail Polish

One of the more satisfying finishes due to the vast variety of nail polishes that exist, this works well on ABS prints due to the fact that nail polish has an acetone base. If you’re trying to cover small areas of a print, or are just applying detailing, nail polish straight from the container it comes in should work perfectly. If you want to cover a larger area, the speed with which it dries can become an issue. Fortunately, this can easily be remedied by diluting the nail polish with more acetone so that it becomes thinner and easier to apply to larger surfaces. For complete coverage, several layers will be necessary, but the good news is that because it dries quickly, you will have a finished 3D print in practically no time at all!

Acrylic Paints

Any set of acrylic paints from a craft store (or that you have stashed away from other projects) works amazingly well for PLA prints. There’s also a plethora of colors and textures to choose from for this medium as well. We love the way acrylic paints make fine details and hand painting feel so effortless as well. Most of the time, you’ll want to start with several layers of base paint before moving on to the finer details.

Primer: Is it Necessary?

One of the primary questions that beginners tend to want an answer to when starting their 3D painting journey is whether primer is necessary before painting their print. The answer is somewhat specific to the filament used and the outcome desired, but we can generally say that for the most part, it is preferable to use a primer that is compatible with the specific materials you have used for your specific print. The end result and durability of the paint will be greatly enhanced if you take the extra time to prime your prints, and peeling and chipping will be kept to a minimum. So while it is not always absolutely necessary, we typically recommend it, especially if you want your prints to last and hold up to any sort of wear.

We are interested to hear from you too! Have you tried an unconventional method or material with your 3D prints? Leave us a comment and let us know how it worked!

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