During the festive season, there are a lot of shiny sparkly decorations around. Having a 3D printer, it is very tempting to try and make something special. As we are not much of the artists, spray painting 3D prints seemed like an easy solution. And what a variety of paints on offer!
This Guide Covers:
- Top Things to Consider
- How To Video
- Spray Painted Models and Gallery
It does not matter which color to print in, so we went for a dull white filament, to make the transformation more dramatic. Christmas Deer design by Yeg3D was perfect for our task.
Spray Painting 3D Prints – Top Things to Consider
Spray painting should be done in the controlled environment with no draft or wind. Any items in the proximity to the spraying zone must be covered. Keep your camera at a safe distance if filming, as the tiny specks of paint can get on it. Even the slightest movement of air makes the paint particles spread and stick to anything in their path. A shed or a garage can be ideal for this. We would never recommend to do it at home.
Think in advance of the place to stand your freshly painted object, it may have to stay there overnight.
We found that spraying while holding a print inside a cardboard box worked well. It protected the surroundings from paint and sheltered the finished item from dust while drying.
Before applying any paint or primer onto a plastic surface, make sure that it is free from any dust or dirt. We recommend to use fine sandpaper to make the object’s surface a bit less shiny and more adsorbent. After sanding, the surface should be brushed or wiped clean. The object can be primed before the paint is applied. This will treat the surface and help the paint to stick better.
Type of Paint
There are different types of spray paints: the ones transparent with just the glitter and the ones that actually apply the color. When using the first option, the original color of the make will come through. We also found, maybe unlucky with the brand, that it needed a lot of spraying and took too long to dry. The silver metallic spray paint though was incredible. It dried much quicker and was easy to apply.
Spray Painting 3D Prints – YouTube Video
– Safety: Spray paint is a hazardous product. It is flammable, toxic, and can cause harm when breathed in. In some shops, there is even an 18-age limit for some spray paints. Please make sure to wear appropriate clothes, rubber gloves, and a respirator. Have a look at the list of safety tools for FDM 3D printing at home.
Spray Painted Models and Gallery
Thames Embankment in central London is rich in historic artifacts. The lamp posts are decorated with interesting fairy tale creatures that attracted our attention. Spray paint made them look similar to the original.
– Spray-Painted Dragons. I haven’t tried yet to spray paint wiggling objects such as articulated dragons as I suspect that the paint will fall off the moving parts. Of course, it depends on the level of stress and the paint qualities. On static models such as Adalinda, featured above, the paint stays well for a number of years without issues.
– The Swan. Here is an example of a spray-painted Odile the Swan by Louise Driggers. Initially, I printed a few swans in different shades to use the leftover filaments. While swans in white and black PLA are perfect as they are, I spray painted in silver the models that have been printed in other color shades. They served as a great decoration for the silver wedding anniversary.
Spray painting 3D printed models has a big potential. It is sad to see objects not being used just because of some minor flaws or dull colors. We know that there are more sophisticated methods of post-processing available, like airbrush or vapor smoothing for ABS, but spray painting is one of the easiest in our opinion.
Please find before – after gallery of spray painted 3D printed models and parts here.
Read more: ABS Acetone Vapour Smoothing
ABS acetone smoothing allows enhancing 3D printed objects by adding shine and a professional look. We used ABS for 3D printing occasionally and tried different acetone smoothing methods. Check the results.