3D printing is currently used in many fields to make different kinds of prototypes. It is an innovative technology that allows an idea or object to be quickly realized. It thus makes it possible to carry out various DIY works. The question is: how to paint the 3D parts obtained? Decryption.
Preparation of 3D parts to be printed
Before painting a 3D printed part, it is important to prepare it beforehand. This is why the parts have to go through different preparation steps. Whether it is a prototyping, product design or model making project, it is important to work on the part to be painted so that it has the ideal surface. To do this, it is first and foremost necessary to pay particular attention to its design.
If a 3D part has assembly systems, more or less complex shapes and small cavities, the ideal would be to disassemble the parts. This makes painting easier. It is then necessary to consider carrying out some post-processing work. In particular, you must clean and smooth the part so that its surface becomes more suitable for painting. This makes it easier to attach the finishes.
Other operations must be carried out before painting a 3D print. This includes the removal of adhesive residues. Some parts may require the use of lacquer or glue during printing. This approach is recommended to avoid deformation of the parts or risks of warping. The adhesive residues created during the removal of the part must then be removed by washing with water.
This process is accompanied by the removal of imperfections. It is necessary to use certain specific tools in order to succeed in this operation. This essentially involves removing filament residue from the contours of the printed part. The most common imperfections are drips, ropes and Stringing.
For better surfacing results, you can also sand the parts. The purpose of the operation is to remove the rough parts of the 3D printed structure. This also eliminates the layers of impressions that are still visible. Sanding can be done with carbon fibre, but it can also be done by wet sanding.
It is also important not to neglect the removal of dust for a perfect smoothing. This can be done with a wet brush. It is essential to successfully paint your 3D prints. Once dried, the part can be wiped with a special cloth. As the part is clean and smooth, it is useful to move on to the painting phase.
The choice of equipment
The preparation of 3D printed parts is a step not to be neglected before painting. It is therefore essential to choose the right tools and equipment for surface preparation and post-print finishing.
For example, in order to polish the part, the ideal solution is to use a nail polisher, especially a 3 grain polisher. Reinforced abrasive paper is also recommended for polishing work. For dust removal, it is preferable to use an adhesive cloth or a cotton cloth with a sticky coating. It removes traces of hair and dust from the surface.
The choice of painting
Apart from the choice of the paint for 3D printing itself, it is essential to select the right material for the painting process. In particular, consideration should be given to providing safety equipment to avoid breathing or handling hazardous products contained in certain products. These are mainly masks and gloves. It is also important to use paint tape for details and clear varnish for finishing.
A first coat paint must be used to ensure that the paint adheres well to the printed plastic parts. This paint is generally white in colour. It is then possible to think about using an acrylic paint or a plastic paint for good colouring results.
The realization of the painting
There are two main processes to consider when coloring a 3D printed part. The first method is hand painting. This operation requires the application of a first coat of paint. This prevents colour absorption and also allows several layers of colour to be tested before a satisfactory result is achieved. Once the first coat has dried, you can paint the part in a personalized and precise way.
The second method consists of painting with a spray. It also requires the realization of a first layer. When choosing this option, it is important to consider parameters such as the thickness of paint to be applied or the spray distance to be respected. Once the first coat has dried, you can paint the part with the aerosol according to the manufacturer's instructions. In particular, you must follow the application and drying instructions.