Most people who own a 3D printer are content when they pull the print out and admire it. But there’s much more that can be done.
It’s one thing to hold a mono-color object in your hand, but another to have something that looks realistic and far removed from a 3D printer. That can be achieved by finishing your print.
Basic finishing techniques might include sanding, clipping off stray bits (especially support material) and gluing multiple pieces together. MAKE magazine has an excellent review of such techniques.
Beyond ensuring the shape is smooth and correct, a great way to finish your prints is to paint them. This is the most common method of applying color to an otherwise monocolor object. But beyond painting, there are other techniques to be used.
At top is the result Cosmo Wenman’s customized metal-infused acrylic paints, which can produce a bronze-like patina. Here we see how Buildparts.com transformed a nice, but dull bust on the right into the near-marble sculpture on the left by applying a surface finish. These techniques may be more advanced, but so is the result.