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Model Tutorial - Getting Your model ready for painting!

By Hearns Hobbies September 25, 2020


3D Printing Multiple examples

With the increase in popularity of 3D printing, many people are puzzled with how to finish their prints to a professional standard. Here is a guide to a selection of products that will help you get your print to the painting stage. Every kind of 3D print will emerge with some surface defects, whether it is FDM (filament) or SLA/SLS (resin). FDM prints can also start separating between layers. If this is the case, repair with a good quality superglue/CA like Zap-A-Gap.


3D Print example - Layer seperation and repairs


Start by removing the supports. Use good side cutters/nippers to cut the supports away from your model. Start from the far end of the support and work your way towards the model. This will reduce the chances of chipping the surface of the model due to having very long supports.


3D Printing example - trimming supports with nippers and hobby knives

Trim the support contacts. These are the nubs left behind where the supports contact the model. After cutting off the supports with the nippers, use a sharp knife to clean up the nubs left behind.


Use good superglue/CA cement to attach or repair parts.

Sand the entire surface of the model to get a smooth surface. If there are significant gaps between layers use a putty (Tamiya putty or Mr Dissolved putty) or thick primer (Mr Surfacer 500 or Tamiya Primer) to fill the gaps. Putty is used if the surface is very rough and needs substantial filling. A thinner putty can be used if the roughness is moderate. Use primer for fine imperfections. Sand the parts after the putty or primer has set. Repeat the process until the surface is almost flaw free.


3D Print example - primer base and putties to use to correct your model and setu for next level sanding and smoothing

Spray the model with a fine primer to prepare for the painting process. Use a finer primer for a smoother finish for glossy finished parts. The surfacer sprays are rated depending on how fine the particles are. 500 is the coarsest and 1200 is fine. The rating is similar to how sandpaper is rated. The higher the number, the smoother the finish. 500 gives a very matte surface whereas 1200 gives a smooth satin finish.

Give a final sand with fine sand paper to get rid of any fine imperfections. The model is now ready to paint with your choice of paint.

3D Printing example - Sanding and final primer recommendations

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