3D Printing

PolySmooth and Polysher take the edge(s) off 3D printing

PolySmooth and Polysher take t...
A spool of PolySmooth, and an item printed with it going through the Polysher
A spool of PolySmooth, and an item printed with it going through the Polysher
View 3 Images
A spool of PolySmooth, and an item printed with it going through the Polysher
1/3
A spool of PolySmooth, and an item printed with it going through the Polysher
Using a built-in nebulizer, the Polysher disperses a fine mist of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol within its sealed chamber
2/3
Using a built-in nebulizer, the Polysher disperses a fine mist of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol within its sealed chamber
Items printed with PolySmooth and polished in the Polysher
3/3
Items printed with PolySmooth and polished in the Polysher
View gallery - 3 images

While people are understandably pretty excited about what can be done with consumer 3D printers, one thing has to be admitted – the objects created by most of those printers tend to have a fairly rough, layered look to them. Polishing them by hand is one option, but Chinese startup Polymaker is now offering an alternative: a new printing material that essentially "self-polishes" when placed in an accompanying machine.

The material is known as PolySmooth, and it incorporates poly(vinyl butyral) or PVB as its base. It comes in spools just like other 3D printer plastics, and can be used normally in pretty much any third-party printer.

When items are first printed from PolySmooth, they'll still have the successive ridges common to other print materials, as a result of the object being built up layer by layer. That'll change, however, once they're placed in the Polysher.

Items printed with PolySmooth and polished in the Polysher
Items printed with PolySmooth and polished in the Polysher

Using a built-in nebulizer, it disperses a fine mist of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol within its sealed chamber. Droplets of the alcohol get into all the nooks and crannies of the printed item, where they react with the PVB, causing the very surface of it to melt. As a result, the ridges are melted away, while the object's basic appearance remains intact.

Polymaker is now raising production funds for PolySmooth and the Polysher on Kickstarter, where it has exceeded its funding goal. A pledge of US$229 will currently get you a Polysher with a spool of PolySmooth (your choice of color), which should be delivered in September if all goes according to plans.

Source: Kickstarter

View gallery - 3 images
3 comments
3 comments
christopher
Acetone baths already do the same thing with existing plastics
Racqia Dvorak
Yes, acetone baths can do this, but can they do it as well and as uniformly every time? This is a dedicated machine who want uniform results with minimum fuss.
I would actually want to see it in action before buying, however.
andysuth
I bought a £10 coffee machine from PC World, put an old ice cream container in the base and left it on for 5 minutes with Acetone in the bottom of the jug.
Net result: Lovely, cheap Acetone Vapour Bath with lovely smooth shiny faces. Terrible coffee though.*
*- joke, don't ever make coffee in a machine you put Acetone.
The Problem with this is the commercially available machine has to be 100% safe, what I do in a shed is not being sent out to customers, its for me, there are all manner of Health and Safety issues with this kickstarter that make this an "avoid". I'll bet a £10 coffee machine this will be one of the projects that either fold or fail to deliver due to safety concerns.
-Andy Southern