A Video Tutorial and Test: The Best Paint for 3D Printed Objects

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If you are overwhelmed with which paint type to choose for that glorious moment when your 3D printed object is completely printed, cooled, and ready to be painted, look no further. Seth from “Level Up Your Fandom” has done the honors of testing out four different kinds of paint for us in a posted YouTube video, which you can see below. What you see is a detailed 20-minute test of four different paint types. Seth, our resident paint expert, also constructs a rather elaborate pros and cons list regarding each paint type. Here, we will cover the pros and cons of each type, so you can make your future painting decisions with relative ease.

All of the paints chosen here were tested on four different 3D printed dice using a design from Thingiverse. DrGlassDPM (Nicholas Diovinco) uploaded a “Futuristic Forerunner Dice” design for everyone’s futuristic game playing needs. While Seth was not thrilled with the outcome of his four 3D printed test dice — we can see the print job unfurl in the posted video — he can still work with them since the point is to test paint out on them.

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First, Seth uses an acrylic Basics paint. He applauds the paint for four reasons: it is easy to find; it is cheap; it is available in many colors; and it dries quickly. These are all good qualities for paint, right? However, one thing that Seth indicates, and you can see this at the end of the video when he has all the dice lined up and is comparing them, that the paint job looks cheap (because it is cheap).

paintNext, we turn to hobby enamel paint. And, again, Seth lauds it for all of the same reasons he likes the acrylic paint. Inexpensive, fast drying, and great flat colors: enamel paint is all that. One quality found in this paint, that Seth did not mention for acrylic paint, is that it is also easy to use. So far, hobby enamel wins out over acrylic — but not by much.

Then Seth turns to the interior house paint (semi gloss enamel) that he had sitting around the house, and he also augments his selection with some more interior paint in red. The result? It is high quality, has great coverage, only needed one coat, and you can get any color imaginable custom-made. (If you go into a place like Home Depot with a paint sample, they can usually hook you up with a color almost identical to the one you want.) Here, the problem lies not with quality, although it is a bit cumbersome to work with and needs a top coat, too. The biggest problem with using interior house paint is its price. The good news? You can usually score small sample cans of the paint for much less money than the larger cans, so if you don’t need much, then this could be the paint for you.

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Of course, no paint test would be complete without the ubiquitous can of spray paint. Seth praises spray paint for its great colors, layering, price, availability, and color selection. The one problem is that spray paint is difficult to work with on detailed projects because painter’s tape is required. The color is consistent, it has good coverage, and has a glossy looking coat.

With all that said and without further ado, when it comes down to it, which paint type does Seth choose as his new standard bearer for 3D print jobs? (Drum roll, please!) House paint! You can watch the video below to see his reasoning and testing methods. Any tips of your own? Discuss in the Painting 3D Prints forum over at 3DPB.com.

 

 

 

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