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3D Plastic Printed furniture


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Hi everyone,

Has anyone ordered any of the 3D plastic furniture from shapeways.com ? Is it any good? Is it to scale? Any recommendations for a dealer on there that you have had a positive experience with?

They are currently have a 20% off sale so I'm considering a few purchases :-) 



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Thanks, Sable!  :D

From the post Sable linked to, I have links to the various pieces and places I have experience with.  The laundry basket is smooth.  All other minis I've received have a slightly rough texture.  This texture must be part of the plastic process or design, not sure which.  You can select different plastics, and many say they are smooth or polished.  That's not always the case, and I'm not sure why.

I try to order pieces where the person has actually printed them and has a photo of the final product not just the digital approximation.  This way you can tell just how grainy it will be.  The grainy texture resists sanding for some reason, but that doesn't mean they are poor pieces.  I would imagine this will all improve as the technology improves.  You can google ways to smooth the plastic, but it involves chemicals and/or heat.  That's been above my paygrade, so I just buy the pieces with minimal grain and do the best I can with them.

As far as dealers, I've not had a bad experience with anyone.  So, the real drawback is the texture which can vary among pieces.  It will depend on what you want the piece to look like in the end.  I hope this helps.

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I've purchased from shapeways and got some great minis. Shapeways test prints designs so that it works before they ship it to you. If it doesn't work, they don't ship it. 

To remove the grainy surface, you can sit your item on a heat-proof something (eg bowl or cup) in a saucepan with a little acetone in the bottom. Gently heat. I think you need a lid on it. The fumes from the acetone will slightly melt the surface but I believe you have to watch it so that it doesn't melt too much. I have not tried this, just have it on heresay.

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I've ordered 1:24 pieces, and as Brae said, they have a slightly textured surface. This is part of the manufacturing process as 3D printing uses a filament and builds the piece in layers. Some have a smoother finish than others but unless you get a polished finished piece you'll have to deal with the texture. The process Shannon describes is accurate but it is toxic, and on some of the pieces I've gotten, which have some very tiny parts, I'd be concerned with melting too much. Unless you have a clear chamber to observe the piece, it seems like an expensive trial and error process to me. 

I haven't tried sanding any of my pieces, but I have experimented with paints. I spray them with a fixative primer first. I've gotten some very nice pieces and at 1:24 it means some great detail. They are delicate and can break if you drop them so handle with care. :) 

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I've ordered from Shapeways several times (always 1:24 stuff). Here are a couple of blog posts about my experiences:



Their customer service is good and I haven't had any negative experiences with any dealers. Once something I ordered couldn't be printed on the material I chose and they removed it from the order and shipped the rest. I would have preferred to order the item in a different material and had them all shipped together, but they sent me a coupon for free shipping so I could reorder the other piece in the different material. (I don't remember if they offered me that automatically or I had to ask for it.)

The grainy texture only really bothers me on things that should be smooth and sleek, like a faucet (or anything metal, really). I think it adds to the realism for upholstery. They are fragile and I've had a few pieces break. They can be glued back together with super glue.



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I ordered a good amount of 1:48 scale furniture from prettysmallthings --and it is marvelously detailed and tiny. And the price was pretty good considering how scarce detailed 1:48 stuff is outside of kits (also expensive). I enjoy painting in this scale, so all i do is prime it (fusion paint) as needed and paint. 

I ordered a 1:12 item but it didn't pass the quality control steps (they had trouble printing it), so there was no charge and they emailed me promptly. They display the progress of the order so its all pretty clear. I'm sure I'll order again.

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Thanks for your feedback everyone! There are some great detailed pieces on there and so many to choose from. 

I've taken the plunge and placed and order! A washer/dryer, laundry basket, 2 chairs and a wall phone (skeptical of the scale with the phone but we'll see). Looking forward to my delivery later in the month - Then I'll deal with the texture!!! 



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