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General Ship Modeling
Discuss modeling techniques, experiences, and ship modeling in general.
Hosted by Todd Michalak
Cleaning 3D Printed Parts
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Colorado, United States
Joined: September 25, 2016
KitMaker: 15 posts
Armorama: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 07:09 PM UTC
Hello friends,
I recently purchased some 3D printed parts from Shapeways for my 1/192 John C Butler class destroyer escort from Bluejacket Shipcrafters (being built as DE404 USS Eversole).

These parts I bought were printed in ultra frosted detail and some details are cakes with a white waxy film. I'm trying to clean this waxy film off and have tried Aa soak and scrub of Simple Green de-greaser but no dice.

Has anyone on the forum worked with this material before and worked through this problem? I'm hesitant to try anything like acetone, lest I melt the delicate parts.

Happy modeling,
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Virginia, United States
Joined: May 18, 2008
KitMaker: 425 posts
Armorama: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 03:39 AM UTC
Hiya Andrew,

Perhaps you can go back to the retailer, and ask if they're aware of any solutions to your problem. Maybe the retailer can put you in touch with the manufacturer, and you can get a solution from them.


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Washington, United States
Joined: January 18, 2005
KitMaker: 527 posts
Armorama: 62 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 04:40 AM UTC
Best collection of advice I've seen is here and here.
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New York, United States
Joined: February 28, 2002
KitMaker: 5,938 posts
Armorama: 2,948 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 02:40 PM UTC
Pick up a UV grow lightbulb. The FUX/FXD seems to be coming not fully cured to some extent lately.

I think the 3 day lead time is having something to do with it, not enough cure time, combine with a little less time in the oven to remove the waxy support material.

The other advice is helpful as well.
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: June 13, 2015
KitMaker: 64 posts
Armorama: 18 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 07:27 PM UTC
Concur with Tracy and Matt's advice.

"Frosted Detail" 3D-printed acrylic plastic is a different kind of animal in the modeling zoo that has characteristics unlike those of the polystyrene or resin we've become accustomed to, mostly because of how it is manufactured layer by layer.

Products printed in acrylic usually do take some cleaning and "post-curing" (sunlight or other UV exposure), discussed in the comments above.

That said, if it appears that the print itself is flawed, not just covered with waxy residue, please contact Shapeways customer service through their website. Shapeways has an excellent reprint or refund policy and their customer service is responsive.

Important advice: never use acetone or acetate (e.g. fingernail polish remover). It will attack the plastic (melt it) and ruin your parts.

Safely clean with mineral oil, or mild dishwashing detergent like "Dawn" or "Fairy" in water, baby shampoo (no conditioner) or "Simple Green". Rinse well and paint soon after cleaning - the paint seals the plastic. A customer reported that "Goo-Gone" attacked the plastic so probably best to avoid that product.

For painting acrylic parts, acrylic paints meant for plastic work very well. Enamels may not harden on 3D-printed plastic if there is any uncured resin present. For those who prefer enamels such as "Colourcoats", exposing the part to direct sunlight or a UV lamp for several hours before painting is critical to ensure all the resin has hardened.

For those that like to use methyl ethyl ketone "MEK" as airbrush thinner, that can cause a powdery residue to appear on the parts days and weeks after painting. The powdery residue is not known to be harmful to the parts, just a nuisance to clean. It is best to avoid airbrush thinners containing harsh chemicals.

Modelers report great success with Tamiya gray primer out of the bottle. Tamiya's gray primer in the "rattle can" primer does have some harsh chemicals so care is advised if you use that product.

Hope all this helps and best wishes on your build!