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muckychris

LEAK SEAL

by muckychris Aug 3, 2016
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My two favorites for smoothing PLA are Elmer's Carpenters Wood Filler and any of the Stone-finish spray paints.

For the wood filler, you basically take a bit of it, wet it or the print, and then smooth it on by hand with it at roughly the consistency of peanut butter. It's very easy to fill gaps in a print this way -- even the large gaps you get with spiralized surfaces that are too flat. In addition to wet shaping, the material can be sanded/filed after it is dry, although it is fairly soft compared to PLA so aggressive sanding will remove too much of it. Of course, you need to paint it once you're done. This can be particularly attractive using metalic spray paint, such as hammered bronze: it's easy to have some filled areas end up looking a little smoother than others, but the hammered-look paint hides that (it doesn't hide the PLA layering by itself).

The stone finish spray paints also do a great job of hiding printed texture, but they create their own texture and that tends to hide fine detail in the print. They also will not fill larger gaps. Still, this is the fast way to hide the fact that a thing was 3D printed.

I've also tried solvents and even a rock tumbler -- PLA is shockingly resistant. I think you'd need to get the part pretty hot to be able to deform the surface even a little. Most PLAs don't sand well, but there are some that do, so that also can be an option. I often use flat black latex wall paint too, but that mostly improves the light seal between threads; it doesn't really smooth anything.

well I guess I will be stopping by Home depot tomorrow. Any other treatment? or is that just sprayed and done?

Yes I do paint after the LEAK SEAL.
Other good ones to try are PLASITDIP and GRAY PRIMER FILLER.