3D printing has witnessed significant advancement over the last couple years. Now we can print bigger, faster, and with a much wider choice of materials. However, one challenge still remains unsolved even today, that is, the surface quality of 3D printed parts.
"At Polymaker we always want to make 3D printing more useful; we want to see 3D printing in real-world applications rather than being used just to print useless trinkets. This has always been our core mission. We, therefore, challenged ourselves to solve this difficult problem. Today we are here with an affirmative answer. We are excited to introduce to you our latest innovation – PolySmooth PVB and Polysher – an entirely new solution to dramatically improve the surface quality of 3D printed parts." - Polymaker
The polishing process involves exposing a 3D printed part of PolySmooth to an aerosol (a suspension of micro-sized droplets) of alcohol. The aerosol is generated by a unit in the Polysher called the nebulizer, which consists of a thin membrane with hundreds of tiny (< 10 microns) holes, attached to a piezoelectric actuator. When actuated, the nebulizer will generate a fine aerosol of micro-sized alcohol droplets, which will then adsorb onto the surface of the PolySmooth PVB 3D printed part and eventually make it smooth. Everything is done seamlessly and effortlessly in the Polysher.
Do not use other solvents / liquids other than Isopropyl Alcohol and Ethanol in the Polisher. Filling the Polysher resovoir with acetone and/or other unapproved liquids / solvents will damage the unit, increase risk of fire / explosion and void your warranty!
With the Polysher you can smooth parts up to a 15 cm * 18 cm (diameter * height) cylinder.
It is very simple to operate the Polysher:
- 1. 3D print your part with PolySmooth, just like what you normally do with PLA;
- 2. Place the printed part in the Polysher;
- 3. Set the polishing time by turning the knob; a typical part takes 10 – 30 min (depending on part size & environmental conditions)
- 4. Once polishing is finished, the stage will automatically lift up for you to easily get the part.
In addition, the liquid reservoir of the Polysher needs to be filled with alcohol. Suitable alcohols are:
- 6. Isopropyl alcohol (also known as isopropanol)
- 7. Ethanol with concentrations of no less than 70% (90% or higher recommended).
You can choose whatever is more easily available for you. More information on the selection of alcohol polishing liquids can be found in the FAQ section.
Works in conjunction with PolySmooth PVB:
Polymaker developed their new filament PolySmooth PVB to be compatible with this new technology and takes the best featues of ABS and PLA combined into one filament. PolySmooth PVB was formulated by Polymaker’s experienced engineers to offer excellent printing quality, balanced mechanical properties, and, most importantly, the “smoothability”. The basic printing characteristics of PolySmooth are designed to be very similar to PLA – so it is 100% compatible with existing extrusion-based (FDM/FFF) 3D printers and extremely easy to work with.
Below is a quick comparison of PolySmooth to PLA and ABS.
Typical PolySmooth PVB printing conditions:
Nozzle temperature: 190-220 ˚C
Build surface: adheres well to common build surfaces including the blue tape, BuildTak, polyimide/Kapton tape, etc.
Heated bed: not required, but can be set to 60-70 ˚C for better consistency
Layer adhesion and warping resistance: similar to PLA; you can easily print large parts without warping and/or delamination.
Odor: minimal (barely noticeable)
Mechanical/thermal properties of PolySmooth (based on 3D printed parts with 100% infill):
Tensile strength: 40-45 MPa (compared to 30-40 MPa for PLA/ABS)
IZOD Impact Strength: 15-18 kJ/m^2 (compared to 2-3 kJ/m^2 for PLA and 5-15 kJ/m^2 for ABS)
Softening Temperature: ~ 70 C (compared to 55-60 C for PLA and 90-95 C for ABS)
ABS and PLA are not soluble in alcohol so you will be unable to smooth ABS and PLA printed parts.