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The best smoothing out process yet
One thing you will always get with the current crop of desktop 3D printers, no matter how high the resolution, is visible print layers. Smoothing out a model has previously not been the easiest of tasks.
We’ve seen people submerge models into acetone baths (which by the way is patented by Stratasys) but the results are varied. Because the acetone melts the plastic if submerged too long it can turn into a blob and when removing from bath some warping or streakiness can occur through dripping.
It is a long held belief that the best way of smoothing a 3D printed part is with acetone vapour, previous methods of creating the vapour, like this one on Solidoodle, require a fair bit of kit but Neil Underwood of the RepRap blog has come up with a novel and, most importantly, cheap solution.
Simply using a glass jar, a teaspoon of acetone and the heated build plate of his RepRap Pro along with a coat hanger and some aluminium foil he can smooth his 3D models. By heating the jar with the puddle of acetone on the bottom to 110C on his build plate he’s created a perfect amount of vapour for his model. ONLY TRY IF YOU DEFINITELY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND ALWAYS USE GLOVES AND GOGGLES!
As you can see from the video and photo, the results are extremely impressive. The hackerspace are always coming up with ingenious solutions to problems and we’re sure one of the big players will look for a way to build this into one of their desktop printers.