Apr 26, 2016 | By Alec

Just last week, Polymaker created a lot of 3D printing buzz with an exciting new piece of hardware: the Polysher, an aerosol-based desktop cleaning unit that quickly removes layers from any 3D printed object with amazing results. And who doesn’t dream of layer-free 3D printing? To further illustrate the Polysher’s fascinating cleaning powers, Polymaker has just shared an amazing case study featuring Chinese artist Tian Tian. She used the Polysher to create a gorgeous 3D printed and hand-painted Qin Dynasty vase. While layered 3D printed surfaces would usually be completely unsuitable for such projects, the results are stunning.

But the implications of that project are hard to comprehend if you missed the Polysher completely. Though Shanghai-based Polymaker specializes in high performance filaments, this newest release marks their first foray into 3D printing hardware. In a nutshell, it’s an alcohol-based aerosol cleaning unit that transforms typical 3D printed objects into gorgeous, smooth and layer-free sculptures that can easily compete with injection molded alternatives. The key component of the Polysher is the nebulizer, which consists of a thin membrane with hundreds of tiny (< 10 microns) holes attached to a piezoelectric actuator. This unit sprays any object with miniscule alcohol droplets (of less than 10 microns in size) and ensures a very even coat. The alcohol eats into the outer layers of the print, forming a very smooth surface in a matter of minutes.

However, these results could not be achieved without the company’s newest PolySmooth PVB 3D printer filament. This filament behaves almost exactly like PLA, with the printing results featuring mechanical properties that can easily compete with PLA or ABS. But most importantly, it is very vulnerable to common alcohols such as isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, which eat into the outer surface layervery quickly. By placing a PolySmooth object into the Polysher, amazing, even and smooth results can be created in anywhere from five to forty minutes. As soon as you’re happy with the results, the Polysher removes any excess alcohol vapor to stop the cleaning process.

To illustrate this excellent cleaning process, Polymaker teamed up with local artist Tian Tian, who is also the Director of Digital Media Art Design at Aurora College in Shanghai. She particularly loves the age-old art form of painting Qin Dynasty vases. These vases date back to the 13th century and are decorated by highly skilled artists with very fine brush movements. To make sure all the fine details are captured perfectly, the artists need to work with very smooth surfaces to ensure that their brush strokes are not disrupted. Not something you’d associate with 3D printing at all. However, Tian Tian was more than willing to give it a try, as she liked the idea of making her own vase as well. “When I’m painting a vase designed by another artist, there is always some point where I cannot fully express my drawing,” she explained.

Though skeptical about the quality of the 3D printed vase, Tian Tian was very impressed by the smooth surface finish created by the Polysher. As you can see for yourself, it provided a perfect surface for the artist to work her craft on. “PolySmooth creates the perfect surface for high details painting. Furthermore with 3D printing I can explore new designs and vase geometries bringing this traditional art into the 21st century,” the artist says of the experience.

This case study emphasizes something we already suspected: that the Polysher and Polysmooth combo can add a whole new dimension to creative production. And we’re evidently not the only ones who think like that. Polymaker’s Polysher went live on Kickstarter yesterday, and has already easily reached their target by raising nearly $190,000 (at the time of writing) in less than 24 hours. As the campaign will be open for new pledges until May 25, this could turn into another one of these spectacular crowdfunding success stories. If you’re interested, you can still get on board for a Polysher/Polysmooth set for $249. For more info, check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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