3D – Post printing experimentation and working on final

Post production work!

Started with filing:


^ This smoothed out the ridges

Then tried a nailpolish remover:


It didn’t make anything smooth or glossy, but it made filing easier:


So…I came across this:


Enthusiasts have been trying to smooth their printed parts for years by submerging them in acetone or brushing the liquid solvent on by hand — both of which led to unhealthy amounts of chemical exposure and less-than-impressive parts. Now, makers Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood have developed a process that can approximate the results of professional molding machines with only a hot plate, mason jar, and a few ounces of acetone nail-polish remover.

ABS-based printed parts are placed in the jar with the acetone and heated to 90 degrees Celsius on the hot plate. Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish. After a couple hours, the parts solidify, can be removed, and be displayed with pride.

“Acetone has a low evaporation point, but is heavier than air so the process creates a small cloud around the model which melts the surface, slowly smoothing it to a mirror finish.”


Anyone interested in trying this should take care. Wilson says points out that acetone isn’t especially dangerous, but it has to be handled carefully since the vapor can catch fire if exposed to sparks or flames.

“handled carefully since the vapor can catch fire if exposed to sparks or flames.”

So. Since I’m a very careful and crazy safe person. I totally went and preheated my microwave. And placed this totally safe thing in there:


^ Vaseline to hold the thing under the nailpolish remover, it kept bobbing up like a boat.

Don’t know what I was hoping for, since technically the print needed to be in acetone vapours and not the liquid. But yeah. I did that and left it there. The one thoughtful thing I might have done was unplug the microwave, so that random sparks don’t happen and I don’t end up setting the house on fire.

I must have left it there for 40-60mins

Result? Nothing happened. Literally. No glossiness. Not even a fire.


I give up on that and decide to try painting with nailpolish for a glossy finish:


Not bad, but I didn’t like the uneven finish of the nailpolish. I also tested the nailpolish to see if I could remove it from the print. I could:


But that wasn’t the cool part:

I tried a different nailpolish remover as a final ditch at the glossy finish. And it melted the plastic as I started wiping the surface. I was so happy!!!!!!!



The problem was, the amount of nailpolish remover I had left and the fact that it was bought in a small store in India. Ugh.

Anyway, told mum to buy a cheap nail polish remover (high in acetone content [not sure how I expected her to figure that out]) on her next grocery trip. Cutex worked.

But wow, this one was so strong:

Lamsza? Lamzsa?


I submerge it and it MELTS SO FAST that I can’t even scoop the print out; it starts slipping from my fingers back into the remover, because of the layer of plastic sludge that had formed.

This was bad. The finish because of the sludge wasn’t glossy:


I found the perfect technique of wiping the surface with a nailpolish remover soaked piece of wool, with more pressure than you’d think is necessary.

Later I also applied a layer of glossy acrylic varnish over it. It made it shine like anything, but it also made the surface a bit sticky


Working on the final:

So after discussing it with my professor, we decided that the whole string idea was way too complicated to be completed by the project deadline. I decided to go along with the idea of a blob-container with rollable eyes. The design was already done, I had printing and the post processing to do.

When I went to print, the printing-helper there recommended that I use PLA instead of ABS plastic. I kept asking him why, whether it was because PLA dried faster? He said no, in fact ABS plastic dries faster. Eventually (after I’d decided to go with his advice, since he’s the expert), he explained that PLA had a stronger bond. He’d shown me a sample to help me choose. It had the ridges and looked exactly like my ABS, the only difference that I could tell was that if felt glossier and looked shinier (but the ridges were still there).

So last minute plan change to print PLA:

IMG_6510 IMG_6514 IMG_6515 IMG_6518 IMG_6519

Compared to other people, It printed pretty quickly (2 hours-ish) and without problems:


Wasn’t sure which parts were the base and which weren’t, I had to test to see whether I was supposed to remove the ridges part or not:

IMG_6522 IMG_6523

Immediately I noticed how the prints weren’t perfect. They didn’t fit perfectly (like the computer models) and I had to put extra pressure to push the gaps closed:IMG_6524 IMG_6525

Another big problem was how I had made the eyes the exact same fit as the socket. So now with the ridges, no way did it roll, it didn’t even fit without creating a visible gap:IMG_6526

So…sandpaper it was. This was where I said to my friends: ‘I’m sanding the blob’s eyeballs. Imagine sandpapering your eyeballs’, and watched them cringe.


Sanded it to get it to finally fit (and roll). Another problem was that the bigger eyeball wasn’t inset far enough, so after sanding it smooth, it was possible to pop it out. I tested this by temporarily gluing my parts together using all-purpose adhesive. Bad idea. It was a pain to wipe off:

IMG_6528 IMG_6529

Next came making the stuff get the same finish I was able to achieve with my test. Problem? Yes. The test was ABS. The PLA plastic did not shine or melt or anything. Ok I lied, it did a bit, but VERY little. AND sanding made the surface get very visible scratches. I was in a spot where I had to make the decision to live with the ridges, to avoid messing the surface of my plastic. Eyeballs are in a bottle to prevent them from rolling around and off the table and getting lost (that happened. A lot).

IMG_6532IMG_6537 IMG_6534

Testing paints:


Attached string to the base, so that the base could be popped off:IMG_6538

I decided on red (it looked far better than the murky blue and green was too cliched), so I had to experiment with how it looked with the varnish. I mean I couldn’t use nail polish remover, so I might as well use varnish to get an extra glossy look:

IMG_6540 IMG_6541 IMG_6542

I experimenting with painting over a varnished surface (because i thought that maybe that varnish would smoothen the the ridges a bit) and I experimented with varnish over a painted surface.IMG_6543 IMG_6545

The varnish over looked deeper, and using the varnish first didn’t really make a difference to the ridges.

Next came painting with acrylics:

IMG_6548 IMG_6550

Looks like it has just murdered someone…^

I wanted to draw the pupils in such a way that rolling the eye in one way the pupils would be small and look shocked and rotating the eye another way would show a dilated pupil, making him look relaxed:


So i was told to use spray paint and not paint on using acrylics. That would give a smoother finish:

Testing out different colours and types of spray paint. Left to right: Florescent green, a crimsony red, blood red, dark blood red.


For me it was between the green ( boogers…) and the red that was not too dark and not too orange. I ended up picking the red, because again a green blob is too cliched. Although I could make it glow in the dark. But I wanted to keep the idea simple, it was already a container and a blob that had rolling eyes:


Decided to pray paint the eyes too, to give them a clean white finish (acrylic didn’t give an even finish:


Nature (ants, leaves, flying insects things) was testing me. By the end of it I had walked back inside with at least 3 small flying bugs dead on the plastic mat. I think they drowned in the spray paint.

This is a leaf:



The thing I suspect (and hope won’t happen) is that the eyeballs have increased in diameter because of the layer of spray paint:


The next day (final due)

Drew with a technical point pen:

IMG_6604 IMG_6606

Acrylic varnish (so that the pupils don’t get smudged when the eyes roll). Figured out a way to keep the eyes in place while they dried:



The pupils totally smudged. AND the eye didn’t roll anymore (especially with sticky varnish surface trying to roll inside a sticky spray painted surface), it barely fit. It was like being back to square one:




^ this didn’t do anything apart from making the surfaces slippery to hold. What it did do was that it dissolved the layer of varnish. So I wiped the varnish and the pupils (which made them smudgy). It still didn’t roll with the varnish off. Main problem was spray paint. Sanded it off.

Used a sharpie marker this time on the eyeballs. This one didn’t smudge.

Small one rolled perfectly. Big one could be popped in and out. Changed concept…

Glued the side with the rolling eye using superglue. Glued the side with the popping eye, pulled the base out (to test if it opened) and it popped that side off. Considered not gluing that side(side with the popping eye) (so that it would open from the side). Tried gluing it again for a last time. Worked. I was able to open the base too…

And here is my Beauty:

IMG_6616 IMG_6617 IMG_6618

^ realised now that I should’ve spray painted the inside surfaces too. The lines between the eyes really annoyed me. But at this point I couldn’t do anything.

This blob has been through a lot.



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