Using a hot plate, a jar, and acetone, two hackers are developing a new finishing technique for 3D printed models. Two hackers from North Carolina have developed a process that smooths the striations on 3D printed objects. It replaces them with a delightful shiny surface.
Austin Wilson and Neil Underwood take advantage of the fact that ABS plastic–one of the common materials used by 3D printers–is soluble in acetone. To smooth their models, they place a jar with the model and a small amount of acetone on a hotplate. When they apply heat to the jar, the acetone evaporates and slowly melts the surface of the model. As the acetone dries, the plastic hardens and the model can be handled and painted, just like any other ABS part.