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How to polish your 3D-printed objects

Using items you can find around the home or at a hardware store, here's how to polish your 3D-printed objects to a glossy smoothness.

(Credit: Neil Underwood)

Using items you can find around the home or at a hardware store, here's how to polish your 3D-printed objects to a glossy smoothness.

If you've done any 3D printing, you'll know that thanks to the printing process, the creations come out looking a little ridged and rough.

If you're patient, you can have a go at smoothing them out with a Dremel tool or some ultra-fine sandpaper, but the results will never be perfect, particularly if your object has nooks and crannies.

Cue Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood of RepRap: Blog, who figured out how to polish ABS 3D-printed plastic to a high gloss — and you don't even have to touch it.

You'll need acetone (like that used in nail polish remover, but you can get pure acetone at hardware stores); a jar; the heat plate of your 3D printer (able to reach 110 degrees Celsius); some aluminium foil; and some heavy wire, like an unravelled coat hanger, to lower and raise the object.

Heating the acetone until it is vaporous will slightly melt the surface of the ABS plastic until it is smooth and shiny. This process takes several hours, and requires careful monitoring, but it gets a much more even polish.

You can find the instructions on RepRap: Blog here. Please be careful; it can go horribly wrong, even for experienced chaps like Wilson and Underwood.

Via www.livescience.com