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The surfaces of my printed parts using ABS plastic look rough and uneven.

What methods can I use to achieve a smoother finish for my for 3D-printed objects?

1 Answer 1

Acetone can be used to smooth ABS.

<a href=enter image description here"> The left has been smoothed by an acetone bath and the right is the original model. (Image credit: Andrew Sink)

Take note: acetone is dangerous to breathe in, so work in a well ventilated area. It is also flammable.

Warm acetone vapour bath using stove

This method involves suspending the model in a glass jar of boiling acetone that is heated up by a pot of boiling water.

  • Attach the model to the lid of the jar with some string, keep the string short, so the model is close to the lid.
  • Put a few centimetres of water in a pot
  • Place a rag at the bottom of the pot (to keep the jar stable).
  • Place the glass jar in the pot, on top of the rag.
  • Place the pot on the stove and heat to 110°C.
  • When the acetone is boiling place the dangling model into the jar.
  • After a few seconds, remove the model.

See here for a step-by-step guide with pictures.

Warm acetone vapour bath using printer bed

This method elevating the model in a glass jar of acetone that is heated up by the printer's heatbed.

  • Find a non-soluble object that the 3D model can stand on.
  • Put a teaspoon of acetone in jar.
  • Place the jar on the heatbed and heat to 110°C.
  • Place the stand into the jar.
  • Place the model on the stand, the stand should not let the acetone touch the model.
  • After a few minutes, remove the model.

See here for an example.