3D Print Kit Finishing Tutorial
3D printing in an excellent way to bring your dream props to life. Whether you print them yourself, through a print service, or purchase them in our store, this is the best method I’ve found to prepare them for use.
(Step photos coming soon!)
Safety is our number one priority, and should be yours as well! You only have one body, let’s keep it functioning for lots of future projects! Please purchase the safety equipment listed here.
Begin by drilling out the pin holes located along the sides of your prints. This will require a ⅛” drill bit, and a steady hand. I recommend drilling just slightly deeper than the original hole. Be careful not to drill too deep, as you may puncture through the wall of the print. A drill depth stop can help accomplish this consistently. We recommend setting it to 7mm deep to accommodate either side of the 12mm pin.
The goal of this step is to take down the peaks of the printed layer lines. Do not attempt to try and make the parts completely smooth at this point. Over sanding can potentially heat up the 3D print enough to pull large pieces off
I recommend starting with a orbital sander with 100 grit sandpaper. Go slow and gradually apply more pressure until you begin to get a feel for how much material your sander is removing. Sand down all exposed outer areas, but do not trying to force the sander into tight areas, you'll only end up sanding divots into your surface.
Lastly, hand sand hard to reach areas with 100/120/150/220 grit sandpaper. I recommend using adhesive backed sandpaper for ease of use! There's a lot of great tools out there for sanding hard to reach areas, a few of my favorites are a classic detail sanding block, soft sanding blocks, disposable sanding sticks, and standard sanding sticks.
Each kit includes a set of 3mm x 12mm pins. Begin by placing a pin in each hole to check for obstructions and proper depth. Next glue pins into one side of each print using a gel cyanoacrylate. After giving the pins about 30 minutes to fully cure, place the second half of the print onto the pins. Confirm that each pin seats nicely, and there are no gaps between the two prints. If necessary, modify the pins holes to accomplish this. Once fitting in confirmed, apply glue to the pins, and quickly press halves together. Gently use a small rubber mallet if necessary to insure a snug fit.
There's quite a few ways you can go about filling the imperfections on 3D prints, my personal favorite being polyester putty, AKA filler putty or Bondo.
PLEASE NOTE: Polyester resins are very toxic. Always wear gloves and a respirator, and work in a well ventilated area.
My personal favorite is Dolphin Glaze, it's what's called a Glazing Putty. It's thinner than other fillers, and self levels. It's extremely important to apply the putty SPARINGLY. If you put on too much, you'll spend a lot of time sanding it back off. You want to use just enough fill all the imperfections, and skin a thin layer over the top. Use a quality set of metal spatulas of varying sizes, in addition to your (gloved!)finger. Make sure to also have a plenty of large mixing craft sticks on hand to mix each batch.
Remember to be sparing with how much you mix up for each pass. This stuff cures quickly, and can get costly if you have a lot of left over.
If you have any spots that you've over applied, you can begin to shave down the think point with a series of hobby knife blades. It has a very clay like texture at this point, so go slow and easy. After about an hour of cure time (varies by temperature), you can begin sand it to shape. I like to use 320 grit sand paper to work over the entire piece. Be careful not to over sand and re-expose divots!
After sanding, touch up any low points and remaining imperfections with more glaze.
At this point you may still have some small remaining imperfections. I like to use a filler primer to both fill in these final imperfections as well as make any remaining pop out to be dealt with.
Paint, of course, is entirely up to you. If you're shooting for a high gloss finish, I recommend wet sanding down the filler primer with 600/1000/1500 grit sandpaper in succession.
Please Note: Your untinted visor will arrive with a protective sheet on both sides. Please gently remove this after cutting and sanding. Also note that PETG is soft and will easily scratch. Handle and work on your visor carefully, and always set it on a soft cloth.
After receiving your rough cut visor, you're going to want to cut off the remaining excess. I recommend a combination of a rotary tool with a plastic cut off wheel, a drum sanding bit, and a blade. Be very cautious while using a rotary tool on PETG, as the PETG can quickly heat up and begin to melt rather than cut. You'll notice I've lightly scored the outside edge of the visor for you, cut along this line for a good fit. When moving onto a blade, slowly score the line until cutting completely through. Take your time while working on the visor, you don't want to slip and scratch it! Leave an extra tab attached to the center base of the visor, you will use this for dying later.
Follow up cutting by GENTLY and CAREFULLY smoothing and shaping the edge of your visor with 400/600 grit sandpaper.
A few additions to their guide: Do this outside! The steam carries dye and will get everywhere. I recommend using an outdoor jet propane burner. It will boil a huge amount of water in no time. Use a single large enough stainless pot to boil all of your water and dye needed at the same time, you will then dip your visor into this pot as well. Make sure your pot is large enough for your entire visor to fit! Drill a small hole into the remaining tab left on your visor, and run a bit of metal wire through it. You will use this wire to dip the visor. Before you begin dipping, use a few paper towels to skim the surface of the dye. This removes small particles of dye that float to the surface and leave dark spots on your visor.
NOTE: Do not let your visor touch the sides or bottom of your dying container! This cause large build ups of dye wherever it touches.
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