Rock Tumbler/Media Blasting - Advice

Hi -

I’m currently the proud owner of a Form 2 - I use it in a professional capacity as an industrial designer at a manufacturing company. I’ve had the the printer for about two weeks now, and have been getting my ducks in a row as far as finishing the print. We have purchased a curebox and now that I have the curing out of the way I’m moving on to figuring out way to smooth and polish the prints.

I have seen some posts about rock tumbling and media blasting and was hoping some of the more experienced users could point me to specific media blasters and rock tumblers as well as the media to use with them. I’ pretty clueless on this subject.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’m a Form 1+ user and reloader, so I do have a tumbler at home.

I did use the tumbler once before, and the results were not that great. I use corncob media in my tumbler which works great for polishing bras cartridges, but with a resin model it wasn’t that great. Yes, it smoothed out and nearly polished flat surfaces, but it also rounded most sharp corners and even wore out some of the finer details (like little bumps simulating rivets and such).

Maybe corn cob is not right for plastics, if someone else that has successfully used it can chime in with alternative media.

I don’t think that any automatic method will give smooth results without removing too much of small details. Another alternative is to try sand blasting which would be better I think for more fragile thin parts but likely removes too much of detail as well. I’ve found for best results you just have to take your time with sanding files and micromesh cloths.

Micro sandblaster using baking soda.

I tried using my tumbler with fine walnut shell, it takes a really long time and does barely anything. I have had the best luck using a micro sander from MicroMark then wet sanding with 600 grit emery paper. For areas that aren’t easily accessible you can use an air eraser from Paashe (respirator and safety glasses should be used with it).

The micro sander has saved me countless hours and is really well worth every penny. So much easier than hand sanding and really easy to control.

If you’re looking for some degree of automation, our post on Creating Camera Lenses with Stereolithography might be interesting. That said, it might not be applicable to more complex geometries. I also suspect that the viability of a tumbler would be highly geometry dependent.

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Just saw this on MicroMark:

I think it’s a little pricey but after the years of using the Paasche air eraser this looks like a much cleaner friendlier way to go.