Author Archives: Burt

How to: Smooth and finish PLA 3D prints

How to Smooth and Finish 3D Prints: PLA

Arkham Knight 3D printed Helmet

 For this tutorial, I’m using the Arkham Knight Helmet from the Batman Arkham Knight game.

Arkham Knight 3D printed Helmet Arkham Knight 3D printed Helmet

1.) Glue each piece of your print together. I use Liquid Super Glue.  My favorite has been Harbor Freights brand, but any will do.

2.) (Optional) Fill each seam with Apoxie Sculpt . This strengthens the seams, and is very easy to sand. This is an entirely optional step, and something you may want to do for larger, heavier props or props with a lot of gaps, or errors. You can also use Apoxie Sculpt to sculpt on details.

    fbV5ezc Apoxie Sculpt

3.) Add 2 to 3 layers of Filler Primer. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area and wear a respirator. Don’t be afraid to lay it on thick. Once it dries and cures,  sand with low grit sandpaper (100~150). Sand back the higher areas to to blend the print lines smooth.

3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

4.) Add Bondo Spot Putty. Some pieces may not need much, others may need a lot. This print had a lot of flaws, and required more Bondo than usual.

Once it dries and cures, sand with slightly higher grit sandpaper (150-220).

3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet  3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

5.) Rinse and Repeat! Literally. Rinse with water, and wait to dry. Bondo the problem areas that are still left, and sand them back again.

cbadut7-1 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

Extra: Your print may have had some flaws like this print and needs more work than just smoothing. This print had warped badly and I thought it would be easier to just fix with Bondo-All Purpose Putty than to reprint.

3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

This Bondo is trickier to use than Spot Putty. You’ll need to read and follow their instructions. You have a limited amount of time and much less forgiving material. Lay it on in thin layers and work your way up. This stuff is much more difficult to sand and I suggest using a hand/mouse sander to save yourself some time.

Once you’ve sanded your Bondo Smooth, repeat Step 3.

3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

Final) Once it is smooth, you’re ready for paint! For this, I used Metallic Blue & Satin Black for the base colors.

3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

For weathering, I took a dry paint brush, sprayed the ends with chrome spray paint, and lightly tapped the edges of the helmet to create a weathered look. This gives the illusion that the helmet is metal and the paint has scratched away revealing the metal under layers.

x2i3lx8 3D printed Arkham Knight Helmet

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.


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Custom ODST

Custom ODST