• Zach

BotW 009: See Your Reflection in a Printed Part with Vapor Smoothing!

Weekend Win: Gobblet Travel Game

Designer: Joseph Craig

Print Time: About 12 hours

Gobblet is a game anyone can play (rules here). Essentially, you're trying to get four in a row of your color, but your opponent can cover up your piece with a bigger one of theirs! This is a neat travel version of the game. It prints pretty quickly, and it's a solid addition to your collection of games you can play with kids.

Must Print: Disney Light Boxes

Designer: tecnoculebras

Print Time: About 36 hours

Seriously, you need to go check out the whole collection of light boxes by this designer. They've got Avengers, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell, and and some other movie light boxes as well. It's a fairly long print, but the parts are very simple. It's just several layers that fit over each other (like the original Iron Man suit blueprints) with a color-changing light behind them. Really cool! These make me want to make my own light box designs!

Skill Builder: ABS Acetone Vapor Smoothing

I had a customer this week who wanted their part to be super-smooth, and they asked me to use acetone vapor smoothing on ABS. I had never done it before, and when I tried it out on the little tugboat "Benchy" models - WOW! The reflection you're seeing in the boat is the plywood top of my workbench. The vapor smoothing puts a porcelain-like finish on these prints, and it's gorgeous!

Here's how to do it:

  1. Wash and dry a glass container with a lid that's big enough to hold your part inside.

  2. Put a stand made of something impervious to acetone in the bottom of the container. I used a block of aluminum, but you could use a PLA 3D print.

  3. Take the part you want to smooth, your bottle of acetone, and the glass container to a well-ventilated area, away from open flames and sources of sparks.

  4. Pour enough acetone into the container to cover the bottom, and place your part inside on the stand.

  5. Close the lid and periodically check the progress of the vapor smoothing

  6. (Optional - Not recommended for your first try) To speed up the process, gently heat the container using something that is not a spark or flame source. I use the heated bed on my 3D printer.

  7. When the part is as smooth as you want it to be, open the container. Without touching the part, lift the stand from the bottom and set it out for the part to dry. The ABS plastic has absorbed the acetone vapor from the air, and the surface of the plastic will be very soft for about an hour. If you touch the part, you will leave fingerprints. That could be cool if you're intentional about how you touch the soft plastic.

  8. Pour the unused acetone into a suitable container. It will have dissolved plastic in it, but you can still use it in the future to do vapor smoothing.

Best of the Week Pinterest Board

Check out the rest of those light boxes! There's also a tomato planter, an RC Tesla Cybertruck, and a DNA learning game!

The End of the Spool

Just do something! That's been my call to action this week. What have you been dreaming would be part of your life? What goals do you have relationally, professionally, spiritually, or otherwise? Take a step toward them. If you listen to Pat Flynn on Smart Passive Income or Destin and Matt on No Dumb Questions, that's exactly what you'll hear. Stop dreaming and get dirty.

Here's the funny thing about starting to work on your dreams. When you put in some effort to make progress toward your goals, you may find they're not what you really wanted. You may find that you don't have the skills to do exactly what you dreamed, but as you start working, you immediately start learning. You learn what you can do, and you learn more about what you really want.

When you start working, you'll value your long-term success more and more because you realize the pain and sweat it will take to achieve your dream. This week, I've been taking more calls from customers, printing parts, and doing work when it's honestly pretty inconvenient. However, I know if I want to run a business that supports my family as a long-term goal, I need to keep walking this path.

What are you doing right now to step out of your comfort zone to change your future? Where are you challenging your status quo? You will respect yourself more as soon as you do something to bring your dream a little closer.

Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of unknown men.

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