How to finish a 3D print with XTC-3D
Do you want to get flawlessly smooth prints without spending hours of sanding? Then you need to try XTC-3D.
XTC-3D by Smooth-On is a brush on coating for 3D printed parts that fills in layer striations created during the print, giving your model a flawless smooth finish.
I have heard good things about XTC-3D by other 3D printing enthusiasts through Facebook, Twitter and Reddit so I thought I would give it a go myself.
So I printed the model in a black PLA on my Prusa i3 clone with a layer height 0.2mm, infill of 10%, a raft and custom support to ensure a great print as I didn’t have much filament left and wanted to avoid another failed print.
The model was printable as a whole, however I chose to print it in two halves which made the print more forgiving by reducing stress on my printer by eliminating steep angles which causes layer adhesion issues (an ongoing fight with my 3D printer).
After the print had finished and I had removed the remaining supports and raft, I used some superglue to stick the two halves together and used some Perfect Plastic Putty to fill in the seam.
I also gave the model a quick sanding to remove some small imperfections with 120 grit sandpaper.
I was now happy with the outcome of the bear and looked at moving on to preparing the XTC-3D solution.
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The instructions are printed on the back of the box, but in no way is it complicated. Check you have all the contents before carrying on.
- Part A solution
- Part B solution
- 30ml measuring cup
- Wooden spatula for mixing
- Small foam brush or applying
- Some instructions.
Preparing XTC-3D is quite easy, You just need to mix Part A with Part B, at a ratio of 2:1. (Example: Part A 20ml with Part B 10ml).
Be sure not to get any on your skin or in your eyes as the chemicals can be highly irritant.
I would strongly recommend using safety goggles and gloves.
Just mix the two solutions together in the provided cup by string with the wooden spatula. I mixed mine for approx 1 minute to ensure the solution had mixed well.
Paint the model using the foam brush provided, you will need add a good amount to give it a good coating, however remember not to add it to thickly to areas of fine detail as you may lose once cured. You will find the solution is quite sticky so I would recommend wearing rubber gloves to prevent skin irritation and avoid touching your eyes.
When you are happy with your final coating of solution, leave in direct sunlight such as a window ledge but keep away from children. Sunlight will help with the curing process, You should note this can take up to 4 hours to cure, applying some heat may aid the curing process.
You may also notice that the solution will run slightly, so you may want to wipe away some pooling around the base of the model.
The solution dries transparent, so the colour of the filament will show through the XTC-3D .
In summary this product is great for giving your 3D prints a smooth finish if applied correctly, If you apply to thinly you will not see much improvement, too much will result in a loss of fine detail. The cure time of 4 hours in direct sunlight seems like a long time but in reality larger prints may take longer to manually sand smooth your model with traditional sandpaper.
I would highly recommend this product as it reduces about 90% of the effort of sanding, easy to prepare and leaves a flawless finish on its own, even though you can sand the cured model for a matted look or as a primer before you paint your model.