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spodec90

XTC-3D and casting

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Hey,

I want to cast a 3D print in aluminium. I found the XTC-3D to smooth my PLA Parts. I was wondering if it is a problem to cast the part with the XTC-3D on it? Does anybody have experiences with it?

Thanks

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I haven't used it for that purpose but I have used it. its ok but not as good as i thought it would be.

I would suggest acetone smoothing as it wont add any impurities into the cast

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Acetone smoothing is the only way to go with PLA in my opinion, and I do TONS of it. But it all depends if acetone plays with the particular brand of PLA you are using (remember that PURE PLA is unaffected by acetone!). Also remember that ANY lumps bumps or scratches or anything will show up on your cast so take the time and make it perfect (means loads of delicate precise sanding regardless of any acetone dipping and post work!) Stuff for casting has to be perfect or else all the results will be lame. I just paint my stuff in DIY metal paints and save a lot of time messing about with resins and other chemicals making casts unless you are after actually functional parts. My room looks like a terrorists diy bomb factory with bottles of chemicals spread out all over. lol.

That XTC-3D has always looked crap in my opinion and a total waste of time and money creating wobbly and imperfectly smooth surfaces which still blatantly had the lines in them. You are better off just using filler, or if your model is complicated then invest in some PLA that plays well with acetone and use that to print with exclusively.

But don't expect good results if you print in low resolutions. Smoothing is not magic, the less detail to play with the less you will get at the end. 0.06 is fine and 0.1 is fine for vertical stuff, depending on the brand of PLA once again. To be safe i would recommend UM dark blue PLA as from experience i found this one to be the best. then just a light quick sand to remove any ringin or slight imperfections, chuck your prints into the acetone for 25 or so seconds, and job done!

Good luck.

EDIT: (UM PLA DOES NOT SMOOTH ANYMORE, THEY HAVE CHANGED THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS) Use colorfabb instead.

Edited by Guest
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Thanks for your answers! Ok, so the XTC-3D is no possibility anymore. I didn't know about the possibility to use aceton on PLA, too. Good to know! I have scanned myself and want to print it. It's quite hard to do the sanding on the object so i was looking for a different method.

I still got white PLA from Colorfabb. Do you have any experiences if it works with aceton? Otherwise I will order the blue one from UM.

I always try to print with the highest possible resolution. It didn't work with 0.02mm but I think 0.05mm will work for this object to minimize the post processing.

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Forget about 0.02, 0.06 is fine. Colorfabb pla should also be fine  as i use colorfabb but its more prone to craking and splitting compared to um dark blue. I have a massive thread about this and print faces all the time, check it out over at tips n tricks then go to acetone smoothing PLA (i have loads of close up photos). i have some white colorfabb pla but only use it for atomic pulls. with colorfabb you need to dunk it for like 40 seconds then leave it for an hour or so. It will be harder to tell if you use white as yo can usually tell from the colour when its ready(cured) after the acetone dip as it get a weird white coating not pure white but a glazed white and the model loses,its satin look as well, but feel free to experiment.

Edited by Guest

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when you pour aluminium into a PLA-filled gypsum mold the explosion might KILL you.

The mold has to be burned at "it glows"-temperatures (much more then needed to get rid of any plastic) anyway before you can use it for aluminium casting. If you are looking for a material which allows very thin layers and produces almost invisible ripple, XT might be an alternative to PLA. To me it seems that PLA gives a little more detail and less stringing while XT gives a little more surface smoothness and allows smaller layer heights.

If your parts dont need the full strength of aluminium, maybe you should try one of the many "silicone-cast then epoxy+metal powder" recipies instead of the suicide stuff. The resulting material looks & feels like metal, can be polished like metal, can rust like metal. Casting aluminium in a quality where the UM2s print quality becomes a relevant factor would require master skills anyway.

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I think I will try the PLA smoothing with Aceton and burning out method. The surface should be smooth enough with the acetone.

If it doesn't work as I want to I can try the powder but I prefer real aluminium.

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ive tried the metal powder thing and its ok, but not able to easily do detailed models. electro plating would be the way. looks interesting, i saw companies doing this then buffing it real nicely after. i may give it a shot. i love chemicals. and magic, lol. i wonder how long it takes....link didnt work for me....ill probably get that copper-face thing. looks great. wonder what running costs are for it.

Edited by Guest

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Will do my payday is soon, so ill get it after i get paid! And you can be sure im gonna try and coat all my prints. That is when the dremmel will come in very handy. with all its buffing and sanding addons. ill feel like a scientist with this thing, lol.

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Seems like these kits are a bit too small for all my prints, which often go 180x200. Especially big letters i do a lot of. So i would most likely buy the base machine(bare bones), and do it DIY. The cost of that kickstarter is just unjustifiably high (fair enought they are trying to commercialise the process but im sure its not so hard and with enough time ill figure it out.. not to mention all the consumables adding more cost to the kickstarter. Ill probably get bored of it in a few months so $2000-3000 would be a total waste of money for me. I just bought a cintique companion 2 which i absolutely love for my zbrush on the move, and i just couldn't pay more for electro plating which is something i'd use a lot less. I have enough crap lying around my house.

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I cant seem to find a place to buy that darn copperface machine, the robotfactory website has no shopping tab or purchase section as far as i can see, shame, i sent an email enquiry, but really wanted to just buy the damn thing today. Now i have to wait, great, i do enough of that with 3D printing as it is.

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Cloakfiend, in the UK there are a lot of companies that do electroplating out-jobs - doing it at home is only worth it if you want to do a lot ;). You could save some money though if you covered your object in the conductive medium at home before sending it off. There is a great book out there on the process if you're interested, but finding a supplier in London should not be too hard.

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The kit is only 400 quid. and all the copper sulphate stuff looks dirt cheap as far as i can tell, not sure of the other comsumables, but theres also the brush on electroplating that looks interesting, where you have a brush that is wired to a current and some marerial at the end so you effectively coat areas of choice rather than dipping the entire thing in a solution. I had ordered a copperface thing but only got a proforma, so have not actully paid yet. Changed my mind at the last minute as both kits cost 400 pounds. so thats 800 for both. This stuff interests me and seeing as i can get smooth prints easily, i would like to coat some selected items, and perhaps offer a service to do entire jobs for people, from concept to final print, seeing as i can design, model, print, clean up, and painting already, i've done metal, paint, but a real metal glossy finish like polished gold or copper is what im missing from my portfolio. I met a guy at fablab in london who talked about making jewelry, but i saw his stuff was printed with the form 1 or something,  and he got the shop to make molds and casts, but i think for my purposes i dont need to go that far. Im making molds at the moment for a different job, and even met some guy in a shop who was about to buy this XTC 3D smooth-on stuff, and I told him not to waste his time unless he was going for a lumpy look.

I've noticed these various conductive sprays are quite expensive, and i've also been informed that to get a smoth finish you need to spray it with silver? i though graphite or graphene was most common though? I have no idea. I guess ill learn on the way if i actually ever get round to getting it. The low current worries me on the copper face and seems only good for small items, i want to go big sometimes, and these limitations bother me.

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