April 2, 2013

Cleaning 3D prints and improving the finish can be time consuming. Previously we saw Neil Underwood's method on how to get a smooth surface of ABS 3D printed parts and the tests made by Bracken and James from the Southackton hackerspace.

To make the process easier for 3D print enthusiasts, two masters of engineering students at UC Berkeley, Ross Yeager (Electrical Engineer) and David (Industrial Engineer) designed and created 3D Refiner, "a machine that rotates a 3D printed part in from of a pressurized and constant flow of solvent, allowing for a symmetric smoothing of the print." In other words, it will transform any of your 3D prints into a high quality beautifully finished part in a short time. You can print an object in very low resolution, and 3D Refiner will give it an appealing finish.

After 4 months of research, development, and prototyping Ross and David launched the 3D Refiner on Kickstarter. They discovered the most reliable and quick method to achieve a fine finishing of a 3D printed part is through a pressure applying liquid bath. The high pressure water pump is waterproof and made of a high grade and durable plastic which allows the pump to not be affected by the solvent. The two circuits with micro-processor, power adapter, and servos are separated by a shielded platform from the solvent tank. A waterproof housing for the DC motor rotating the platform is made for avoiding water/solvent damage to the motor.

Part Loaded and Ready to Refine

The system relies on the use of a diluted solvent-water mix which can give off fumes, so it is recommended to operate the machine in a large open room with plenty of ventilation.

fast print, low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner for 15 minutes

With the funding the team hope to add extra added-on and features for an higher-quality 3D Refiner, and to research and develop the second generation product which will be "much smaller, lighter, using less solvent, and completely air tight before, during, and after operation."

Check the 3D Refiner on Kickstarter here, the 3D Refiner plug-and-play for Early Adopter costs $269. For $389 you will receive the 3D Models Refiner with a life time warranty, along with two 3D printed Yoda heads and exclusive first access to the 2nd generation 3D refiner 2.0 that will be coming in the next 6-12 months.


Posted in 3D Printer Accessories


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Ritwik wrote at 12/11/2013 12:02:29 PM:

Does the 3D Refiner work with only ABS based 3D-printed products or also with other resin based 3D-printed products?

Mindmapper1 wrote at 11/19/2013 11:53:10 AM:

I have got exceptionall high quality finishes with nail varnish remover heated to a vapour in a Kilner jar very quickly and easily

Paul Burgener wrote at 4/8/2013 3:11:49 PM:

But will it smooth out sharp details? I plan to 3D scan and print at various scales, model cars. Details like the grills, wiper blades, etc should be smoothed out. Maybe I could paint over them to protect them from being smoother? I assume it's an acetone bath the model turns in, right?

David Kalinowski wrote at 4/4/2013 9:33:42 AM:

Go to 3D Refiner's homepage: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1809448130/3d-refiner-by-3dprintsexpresscom Check out the new photo on the home page: 3 Black Yoda's, suggested by Backer: Luke Simmons. Up close and in HD, shows what the 3D Refiner can do. Thanks!

JD90 wrote at 4/2/2013 7:01:54 PM:

How is having a screen mesh over the object supposed to help? isn't that going to leave an imprint of the screen on the object?

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