Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

3D Printed Parts

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2013
3D Printed Parts
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 3:37 PM

A few months ago, I picked up a few printed parts for the Polar Lights 1/350 Enterprise Refit from Shape and a set of shadow boxes from Big Easy Model Solutions. The stuff is all well designed and certainly lends a lot of fine details to the ship, but each part exhibits a rough and textured surface, artifacts from the printing process, it seems.


For the most part, this isn't a problem for the shadow boxes, but pieces like the turbo lift shafts require a metal finish. I'd like to smooth out the texture, so I have tried using acetone as Shapeways instructs to level and blend the surface, but it really didn't have much of an effect. Short of filing and sanding these tiny bits and risk the delicate details is there a more effective way of eliminating the texture? 

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by MikeyBugs95 on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 1:08 PM

Try a light painting of super glue or Future Floor Care. After that use a self-leveling primer like Mr. Surfacer 1200. 

 In progress:


1/35 SINCGARS ICOM/ASIP; 1/35 Flat screen TVs; 1/35 tactical light that I shall reveal later Devil


1/35 DML M4A1 DV; AFV Club M18 Hellcat; DML StuG IV; DML Armored Jeep w/ .50 cal; Panda Cougar 4x4 MRAP; Academy M3A1 Stuart; 1/700 Midship Models USS Miami; 1/700 Skywave Rudderow Destroyer Escort

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 4:35 PM

Thanks for the reply, Mikey - much obliged!


In the end, I put the parts into the deep freezer for48 hours to keep them from flexing under the pressure of a file. Once the steps in the material was removed, I re-froze the parts and then dressed everything with sandpaper. A quick polish with Tamiya compound followed to ensure that the clear parts were truly clear, then they were installed and masked off for primer and paint. Fortunately, everything blended together and it's hard to pick out the printed bits from the plastic.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 5:17 PM


In addition to what the others here have suggested I have found some luck in using "Balsa Filler" and "Airplane Dope" or "Sanding Sealer".  The Balsa Filler is a fairly fine grained paste which can be fairly easily smeared across a surface, and a coating of either the dope or sealer ontop helps lock it in place and fill in the gaps.  Though I have found that I often have to do more than one coat and/or some touch ups in some areas, with a bit of light sanding in between.

Here's a link to something that I was working on earlier this year, that I had to set aside for awhile because of work related travel.  The sponsons on that model were 3D printed and finished off using the technique that I described above.

In addition, here is a (slightly out of focus) picture of a small Pre-Dreadnought style hullform that I 3D printed along with a later picture where I had tried filling and sanding the hull.  This was one of the 1st 3D prints that I tried to "seal" up and it was a bit of a learning process so it took me a while to get everything to look reasonably OK, though I think that the end results aren't too bad.



Hope that helps.


  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:51 PM

It totally helps, Pat - thank you!

I have just a few printed pieces laying around that are not printed in the "clear" material from Shapeways that I'll try that out on, just to experiment a bit with the advice offered here.

I feel obligated to admit that I'm of mind to recast things in resin (where applicable - the undercuts you can create in 3D could only be reproduced with lost wax casting in some cases!) and just using the cleaned up print as a master for molding. Resin is just more familiar to me and the ability to pop out castings down the road sort of justifies the expense and the labor.



Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.