Powder 3D printed objects don’t always need to be fired.   In fact, many of our parts  never feel the fire (as it were) of the kiln. Sometimes we just infiltrate them with other materials (often using wax or paraffin).   We are set up with an auto-waxer, thus wax is our default process (and the cost is low).

Visitors and students are always asking “What else could you use as an infiltrant”?   With premium powders, the powder provider also handles a wide variety of infiltrants (every thing from specialty wax to cyano-acrylate glues to polyurethane products).

We’ve been playing again and have a few words of wisdom to share if your using our powders.

  • We have had good luck with super-glues or CA or cyano-acrylate glues.  You can purchase them in bulk (4 – 8 oz) for around $25-$40.  The resulting part is very strong.   It can be sanded and finished using almost any other common finish.   In fact, Trevor’s vase was infiltrated with CA glue, and then painted.   He stated that it even held water!   Several big issues with CA are the smell (and chemical out-gassing), and the fact that you can glue parts of you to other parts of you.  (True story, I took a student to the health clinic with their finger glued to their eye lid.)   Therefore:  always use CA glues in properly ventilated areas and always wear gloves and eye protection.

{Trevor’s vase as finished for Valentine’s Day}

  • Water-thin or penetrating epoxies are also a very good choice for high strength.   Sometimes these epoxies are known as epoxy sealers.  Again, we have been very successful with this product type.   There are multiple vendors for this line of products.  One web site had done testing and includes general recipes to make your own (a very Open idea which we like!).  Note: there are chemical hazard issues with these products.  Therefore:  always use epoxies  in properly ventilated areas and always wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Shellac is a product that we discovered a bit by accident.   Shellacs are generally an organic resin dissolved in an alcohol solution.    They are a very old wood finish.   Please check out the Wikipedia listing for Shellac.   We like this product because it is very thin and it contains the same solvents as our binders ->alcohols.   A variety of colors and concentrations exist for Shellac (as well as additional colorants).   We transferred shellac out of the can into a glue/squirt bottle and applied by the drizzle technique.    We found that a thin first coat which may or may not be followed by a second coat.   A low temperature bake is suggested (150F).   Cool after baking.   Sand and finish as desired.       Can anyone confirm the Skittles coating story?

4 Comments on A Look at Infiltrants

  1. Joris says:

    Sweet! I’m not sure about Skittles because it is made beetle excretions so one would think that a large FMCG company would shy away from using this in a candy. Kids tend to be rather bug averse. At least we know now what lies at the end of the rainbow (or at least what gives it its shine). I do know that Shellac is the most common coating for lemons. That was on a Dutch TV show at one point. I’ve been using a lot less lemon rind in cooking since.

    There are also many many resins that you can use to harden or make models smoother. We’ve tried varnishes over here that gloss well but don’t do much for strength. Next week I will also try Gel Medium which is a product used to glue things and add texture or gloss to acrylic paints.

    And speaking of acrylics I’ve had great results with several layers of Tamiya model spray paint. It is very fast, smooths models effectively and does add strength.

    • admin says:

      Joris, we have several student teams playing with infiltrants (some crazy things). We are also exploring super low temperature glazes (called Cone 020-018). They fire at 1100-1400 degs F. Plaster should be able to take this. Have you played with Sodium Silicate (i.e. water glass)? It’s really cool stuff. It produces a REAL glass finish on a variety of ceramic or ceramic like materials (also works great on glass – hint – hint).

  2. Joris says:

    Sweet! I’m not sure about Skittles because it is made beetle excretions so one would think that a large FMCG company would shy away from using this in a candy. Kids tend to be rather bug averse. At least we know now what lies at the end of the rainbow (or at least what gives it its shine). I do know that Shellac is the most common coating for lemons. That was on a Dutch TV show at one point. I’ve been using a lot less lemon rind in cooking since.

    There are also many many resins that you can use to harden or make models smoother. We’ve tried varnishes over here that gloss well but don’t do much for strength. Next week I will also try Gel Medium which is a product used to glue things and add texture or gloss to acrylic paints.

    And speaking of acrylics I’ve had great results with several layers of Tamiya model spray paint. It is very fast, smooths models effectively and does add strength.

    • admin says:

      Joris, we have several student teams playing with infiltrants (some crazy things). We are also exploring super low temperature glazes (called Cone 020-018). They fire at 1100-1400 degs F. Plaster should be able to take this. Have you played with Sodium Silicate (i.e. water glass)? It’s really cool stuff. It produces a REAL glass finish on a variety of ceramic or ceramic like materials (also works great on glass – hint – hint).

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