Painted 3d print

How to Prime and Paint 3D Printed Parts (With Video)


Primer is a special type of paint that adheres strongly to the part and provides a uniform surface for paint to bond with. Different primers have different uses. A spray-on primer is the best way to paint your printed parts because it quickly covers a surface with an even coating. Brush-on primers are available, but they are tricky to work with and better for fine touch ups. For best results, choose a primer and paint that are plastic compatible and from the same brand. We like Krylon and Montana (though both are thick formulas), but nothing really compares to Tamiya brand model paint - it goes on extremely thinly and evenly, preserving delicate surface details.

Rotary Tool

Because sometimes you want to sand fast. With interchangeable bits, rotary tools offer a variety of options for sanding and polishing parts. Drum sanding bits quickly sand down supports, while steel wire brushes smooth surface marks. Rotary tools are rough, so you will still need sandpaper for a smooth finish. There are plenty of great brands: Dremel and Craftsman are popular in the states, Proxxon in Europe. To avoid scorching your part, turn down the RPMs to the minimum (usually 500-1000) and use a light touch.

Hand Files

Not as clumsy or as random as a palm sander. A more elegant tool…for a more civilized age.

One of the most simple yet effective tools, a hand file removes supports and sands down surfaces. Using a firm grip, you can remove marks with more control than with a rotary tool. Keep a wire brush on hand and clean the file’s teeth often (otherwise plastic and resin will gum up teeth). Like a rotary tool, a hand file will leave a rough surface, so it’s best for removing the larger support marks.

Sand Paper

The most unglamourous tool in the shop, sandpaper has come light years in the last decade with the release of flexible sanding sheets. Available at home improvement stores, flexible sanding sheets last 15 times longer than paper ones. They don’t curl, puncture or crease.., and they hey can be used wet, which reduces dust and prevents buildup in the sanding tooth. Because they flex, they can easily reach small interior spaces and rounded surfaces.

Dust Removal

Even after wet sanding, some dust will remain. Remove buildup with water and a soft scrub brush (an old toothbrush works). For serious cleanup, an inexpensive sonicator can quickly remove fine particles caught in corners and cracks of a surface. If you work in an area with hard water, using deionized or distilled water will prevent spotting between painting.

Tack Cloth

Tack cloth is a soft, slightly sticky cotton cloth designed to remove remaining dust and leave a clean surface for painting. Let your model dry before using the tack cloth — the waxy surface does not work well with water.

Painting Block, Dowels & Drill

This simple trick will save you grief in the spray booth (we were excited when we saw this technique in a modelmaking how-to video by Adam Savage). By mounting your 3D print on a dowel (often you can use a preexisting hole in the part), you can quickly maneuver while spraying, allowing you to get to all sides and into the nooks and crannies of the part without creating any fingerprints. When you want to add an even coat to all sides of your model, this is pretty essential. We recommend ordering a variety of size of dowels. To minimize the hole size on a part, start with a small size and work your way up until the model feels firmly seated. Drill a corresponding hole in a block of wood or MDF and insert the part with the dowel - now you can keep the model hands free while spraying.

Safety Equipment

Spraypainting means working with airborne particulates and solvents, both of which pose health hazards. Remember to use a NIOSH approved respirator and work in a well ventilated workspace. While painting, wear nitrile gloves to avoid spraying paint on your hands and and also protect your model from fingerprints.

Ultimate Guide to Painting 3D Prints

Download the full Guide

as a PDF!

The simple post-processing techniques presented in this guide are an excellent way for professionals to create low-cost silicone molds, threaded inserts for enclosures, vacuum formed parts, and more.

If you’re an engineer or product designer creating concept models, a prop or set designer, artist, or an educator looking to add incorporate a bit more creativity into your classroom 3D printing activities, painting your models can be a great solution.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a nearly automotive quality paint job on any of your 3D printed objects.

Working time will vary depending on your model. Including drying time, the process shown took us about 6 hours from start to finish.



3D Print

Rubbing alcohol

Paper towels

Spray primer/filler

Spray paint

Hanging cord

80, 120, 240, 220, 1000 grit sandpaper

Needlenose pliers


Sanding block & sandpaper


Eye protection

Respiratory Mask

Need some of these products? We've curated an Amazon wish list for you.


When preparing models for painting in MakerBot Print, keep in mind how your print settings will affect the quality of your paint job.

Consider: Print settings, print orientation, number of build plates


Surfaces printed in the Z axis will have the smoothest surface finish.

Printing models in 100 micron layer resolution will result in a slightly smoother surface finish, but will take significantly longer.

If possible, avoid placing support material in places you intend to paint as they will require more post processing to remove completely.

Supplies used: Needle-nose pliers or flush cutters

After you remove your print from the build plate of your printer, you will need to remove any raft or support material.

A. Remove prints from the build plate

B. Remove rafts

C. Remove large pieces of support

D. Approach smaller pieces and fine details

Supplies used: Sanding block, electric sander, 80,120, 240, 400, & 1000 grit sandpaper, Cyanoacrylate glue (super glue), Bondo

For the highest quality paint surface, an optional next step is to sand your model.

Make sure to wear eye protection, gloves, and a respiratory mask.

A. Dry sand the model using 80-240 grit sandpaper

B. Wet sand the model using 400 & 1000 grit sandpaper

C. Glue the parts of your model together

D. Apply filler to any gaps or blemish in your model and sand once dry

Find more detailed information here on gluing and sanding.

The 2021 Guide to 3D Printing Materials

Learn about polymers, composites, and metals all available for 3D Printing!

Supplies used: Hanging cord

Once your model is ready for painting - hang it in an open, dust free space with plenty of ventilation. This will allow you to paint all surfaces evenly without having to handle the model while paint is drying.

A. Tie hanging cord around the model

B. Hang the model in an open room with a tarp


Whether you have chosen to sand your model and apply filler or you are simply painting a rough PLA model printed at high resolution, a few layers of primer/filler will fill any small surface imperfections before painting.

Primer filler is a high build spray filler that comes in aerosol form and can be purchased at most local hardware stores.

Before spraying remember to wear gloves, eye protection, and a respiratory mask.


Shake well before use
Use wide strokes beginning and ending in space outside of the model
Hold the can 10-12 inches from the model
Paint in thin layers using a misting technique


Painting in thick layers
Holding the can in any spot for a long time
Holding the can too close to the model

Once you’ve sprayed 2-3 layers of primer/filler, allow your model to dry for 30-40 minutes.


A. Lightly sand your model with 1000 grit sandpaper (dry). This will smooth the surface of the model as the primer filler tends to create a rough surface texture similar to sandpaper.

B. Evaluate for quality.

C. If there are still surface imperfections you would like to smooth, continue to apply consecutive layers of primer/filler, and sand.

Once you are happy with the model surface, move on to painting.


When choosing paint, you typically have a large degree of freedom as to which color and type of paint you use. Make sure to pick something that adheres well to plastic.

A. Choose a paint

B. Test for color in an inconspicuous location before painting the entire model

C. Let the paint sit overnight to cure


Typically the paint will be dry to touch within an hour or so, and ready to polish within 24-48 hours.

If you’d like to protect the surface of your painted model, you can also apply a thin clear coat at this point.

In the end, you’re left with a beautiful painted model ready for approval presentation, enhanced for sets or galleries, optimized for better classroom learning, or simply improved for better innovation.

Here you can see just how far we have come.

Visit one of our other applications pages for tips on how to take your print even further.

We recommend that you visit our pages on:


Last but not least, remember to share your work with us on Thingiverse and social media @MakerBot.

We can’t wait to see what you make!


Hair Dryer Shell

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Drawing on a 3D printer or Hephaestus trying on Picasso's beret

Good evening everyone!

It's no secret that the best feature of DIY printers is the incredibly wide customization and modification possibilities of the 'car'. From attaching more extruders and expanding the printable area to turning the printer into a food or musical instrument (seriously, the guys on YouTube are already moving steppers to the beat of the music). Or, for example, some make their printer draw. This is what I did today as well!

Preparing for.

In order to bring this daring plan to life, you will need:

1) Printer, which plays the main role in this event. I heartily recommend the Prusa i3 Hephestos (if only for the simple reason that I have used it myself). But, in theory, any DIY or Open Source printer will do.

2) Soft. You will need the Inkscape program, which can be downloaded for free, and the gcodetools plugin for it. About what, how and where - further in the text.

3) Positive attitude on board and some free time.

Item A. An upgrade that makes your printer feel 'naked'.

For the movie magic to happen, you have to 'remove' the extruder. Those. all, including the bracket. Speaking on the example of 'Hephaestus', then in the end you should have only the printed platform-holder left from the extruder on the printer. I strongly recommend doing this carefully so as not to solder the wires to their rightful places later. After the job is done (I have no doubt about you, in the end you somehow assembled this DIY into its current state), you need to install a pen holder on the platform.

You can download them from the well-known site. Here are the holder links for

- RepRap:

- Hephestos:

Personally, I printed the holder with 15% infill and thickness layer 0.3 - no problems experienced. The holder itself can be mounted on the same bolts that were used to mount the extruder. The result is such a nice design:

A few words about the calibration and the level at which you install this same pen. Personally, I did it extremely simply - through the level plate I brought it to the point when the printer brings the extruder to the center of the platform and set the handle so that there is a sure contact between the tip of the rod and the paper previously installed on the platform. The method, of course, only works if the platform is pre-calibrated. But tough guys don't look at the explosion and don't calibrate the table, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Item B. Preparing to transfer beauties and not-so-beauties onto paper.

As mentioned above, you need to download Inkscape. You can download it from the official site at this link. And here you can download gcodetools. The contents of the archive must be unpacked to *Inkscape installation location*shareextensions. Create a separate folder for the plugin DO NOT NEED . When all these boring items are completed, feel free to run the program.

[IMG ID=3063 WIDTH=514 HEIGHT=289]

Initially, I really wanted to draw a patriotic pin-up beauty, but life makes its own adjustments. It should be noted that in general gcodetools was created for extremely serious CNC guys, and therefore I have been digging into it all day, but some functions are still not given to the Padawan. If not today, then tomorrow all pin-up beauties will be drawn, but for now we have to curb our appetite - let's circle this drawing!

With a habitual movement, we throw this guy in . jpg directly from the desktop into the program workspace. Immediately, by the way, in file-> document properties I recommend setting the size of the drawing area. I set it to 180 x 180mm, well within the hephestos print area.

Now let's bring the drawing into a state that our printer can handle. Let me remind you that he can only operate with a pen - that leaves us with only the shaded and unpainted areas. Go to Path->Trace Bitmap.

The main setting we are interested in is Brightness cutoff. This setting is worth fiddling with. The value that suits me is 0.450. It doesn't have to be the same for you. Before clicking 'ok', make sure you have the image selected that you want to convert like this. Also note that the result will appear ON TOP of the original.

Now go to extensions-> gcodetools-> Path to Gcode.

Here we change, first of all, the cutting order to Pass by Pass. Thus, the handle will not make unnecessary gestures. I'm not entirely sure I understand her, but the guys in the know say, 'Believe me. and then you'll understand. Then go to the preferences tab. Everything is simple here - the file name, the path where it will be saved, and z safe (as you might guess, this is the distance that the pen will rise when it needs to move - the standard 5 mm is enough).

VERY IMPORTANT: be sure to add .gcode to the end of the file name. Otherwise, there will be no kin.

After playing around with these options, return to the path to Gcode tab. With a feeling of maximum dignity, press Apply. Warnings will pop up that you haven't set orientation points and tool, so the whole thing will be set to 'default'. We are satisfied with this option, click 'OK'.

Finally, your file is ready. We fill it on a USB flash drive and send it to the printer for 'drawing'.

The process, it must be said, is fascinating. For those who are 'long' - I turned the speed up to 300%. Things went extremely well without any collateral damage. The printer finished drawing in about half an hour:

Personally, I am completely satisfied with the result. For those who were waiting for a pin-up beauty, not this tin can - as you can see, by creating a file in this way, we get a 'stroke'. Accordingly, the printer does not paint over areas filled with black. This can be easily solved if you dig deeper into the plugin settings and Area in particular. If necessary, I will show and tell you more in a separate post or comment.

Thank you all for your attention, stay with us. Drawing printers, big guys in bat suits and educational projects are guaranteed. Further more!

Artists draw a life size car with a 3D pen

Over the past couple of weeks, we have collected information about several members of our creative community who used a 3D pen with a creative approach, gave free rein to their imagination, created works of art and even high fashion.

But Grace went beyond what anyone else did. She assembled a team of 11 artists to create a life-size 3D pen Nissan Qashqai, the largest 3D drawing ever made.

Drawing with a 3D pen for Grace Du Prez is nothing new. « I first started using 3 D with a pen about 3 years ago when I received an order from Maplin Electronics to create a hat for race track attendees at a popular festival " Ladies' Day" , , she says. " That's when I first started working with the 3 D pen, and then did a few more projects, including jewelry, vases and lamps."

But her latest project was more ambitious than anything Grace herself, or anyone else, had ever done before. life size with 3 D handles!”, Grace explains. This will be a full-size 3D drawing of a Nissan Qashqai. “ I was very excited as no one had ever done something like this on such a scale before and it promised to be a very interesting project.”

Based in London, Grace has assembled a team of 11 artists and designers from the UK, as well as students from Kingston University. But before starting the project, they needed a plan.

" The first discussions were mainly about how feasible and realistic it would be to implement and how long it would take ,” says Grace. the whole structure will look like .”

Since the team was large, there were many different visions and ideas to take into account, as well as various aspects that needed to be addressed.” In the early stages of planning, we discussed how this could be to do and how it will look from the outside. There were many meetings where various options were discussed ,” Grace explains. “ Planning took a couple of months .”

When it was time to start building the project, Grace showed the team how to use 3Doodler. Since Grace regularly conducts this kind of workshop in her workshop, she was able to quickly train the team on this.

But when 11 artists work on the same project, everyone should be on the same level. « Each person has his own style of drawing - just like everyone has their own handwriting ,” Grace explains. So to keep roughly the same painting style across the entire surface of the machine, we had to swap s frequently.”

And it was important to communicate with each other throughout the project. " At the beginning of each day we discussed and made a plan what parts we were going to do today ," says Grace. " We started with all the key lines that were thick and strong enough to create the structure and support of the future structure, and we also paid attention to the features of the Qashqai. After that, we were able to move on to filling larger sections of the structure in a "spider" pattern ".

Nobody has ever tried to make this size with a 3D pen before." This was a big challenge for me; since nothing like this had ever been done, there was a little element of suspense ,” says Grace. “ But that just added to the excitement and excitement of .”

Grace and her team were ready for this challenge. " I've always felt confident that we planned everything well and considered every opportunity ," she says.

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