May 12, 2015 | By Simon

Despite the many advancements that have occurred over the past few years, the finish of objects that have just come off of a 3D printer’s bed still leave a lot to be desired.  While higher print resolutions have helped designers, engineers, makers and artists create physical objects that more closely resemble the actual digital models that appear on their screens, many choose to finish their 3D prints with any number of methods to give the objects a more polished look that hides the layers of filament and other small imperfections.

Among others who prefers to smooth the objects that come off of his 3D printer is Jonathan Russell of Australia.  The 3D printing enthusiast - who is a graphic designer and web developer by day - operates a YouTube channel and website under his TechWiz brand and regularly posts original content videos on everything from unboxings to computer tips and tricks and headphone reviews.  

More recently, Russell took to his TechWiz YouTube channel to share his experience with finishing a 3D printed Darth Vader mask that was printed using fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing.  Specifically, he took a look at a safer alternative to using acetone for smoothing a 3D printed object - Z-Poxy PT-39 30 Minute epoxy solution.

The solution is manufactured by Pacer Technologies and is easy to work with after it has dried; additional sanding and gap-filling can be done with ease.  Additionally, it dries to a clear finish that is capable of bonding to a variety of materials including plastics, woods, metals and fiberglass.  

“I wasn’t happy with cold vapour smoothing with acetone (or the dangerous hot method), so I tested out smoothing using epoxy instead,” said Russell.  

For the experiment, Russell chose to use a 3D printed Darth Vader Melted Mask from the Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Trailer #2 as a test subject.  

“I was blown away by the latest Star Wars Episode 7 trailer and couldn't believe it was not going to be out till December. Christmas 2015,” said Russell.  

“So, packed with enough force to keep the Imperial March looping, the XYZ Davinci 1.0 3D Printer began its 16 hour journey into printing this Thingiverse 3D Model.”

Once he had his Melted Darth Vader mask and work area ready to go, all that Russell had to do was mix the 4oz bottle of Z-Poxy Resin and a 4oz bottle of Z-Poxy Hardener and  simply brush the final Z-Poxy PT-39 30 Minute epoxy solution onto the model and wait for 30 minutes.  

Although he admits he made some mistakes while using the solution for the first time, Russell addresses these to ensure that anybody who is watching the video might not have to make the same mistakes as he did.

Whether you’re currently looking to smooth out your 3D prints or not, it looks like Russell’s TechWiz YouTube channel just might be one worth subscribing to for more 3D printing-related content and reviews.     

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories


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