3D Printing: Cats!

Hello! I'm back with something different this time.

For a while now, I've been experimenting with 3D printing by making models in Sculptris and printing them. It's a fun hobby for when I'm not working on my usual 2D art.

However, I had a problem with very visible "build lines" on my prints. 3D prints are usually made layer by layer, and the lines of each layer were very noticeable, especially after painting the model. 

An older model I created, where the build lines are very visible. Doesn't look too nice!

An older model I created, where the build lines are very visible. Doesn't look too nice!

However, I'm happy to say I finally found out how to get rid of them completely! More on that in a bit.

Have you ever played Neko Atsume? It's become one of my favorite mobile games. Although I don't usually make fanart, I wanted to try my hand at making a cat from this game.

I started off by making the model in Sculptris. I decided to base it off of a particular pose from the game, pictured below on the top left. This cat is Pepper.

Next I printed the cat out in ABS plastic.

Then came the trick to get rid of the build lines. I can't take credit for this technique, as I read about it in a few different places, but here's how it works. I placed the model inside a closed container along with some paper towels soaked in acetone. The acetone vapors then smoothed out the outer layer of the model, getting rid of the build lines and leaving a very glossy surface.

Not only does this look much better, it provides a smooth surface for painting on. If you want to learn more about this technique or find a video on Youtube, you can search for "cold acetone vapor smoothing". As far as I know, this technique only works on ABS plastic.

After the vapor smoothing, I painted the model with craft acrylics.

Penny for size reference!

Penny for size reference!

Finally, I sprayed the model with a matte acrylic coating. And there you have it! A finished model of Pepper from Neko Atsume.

Even though this is different from my usual work, I hope you enjoyed seeing it.

Until next time!

Update July 19, 2016:

I made another cat! This time it's Peaches.