Magically Finish Your 3D Prints with the MagicBox

By on April 19th, 2014 in Hardware


3D printing newbies often complain about the supposedly unsightly layer lines that are often quite visible on coarsely-printed objects. Now there’s a safer way to get rid of them. 

The MagicBox appeared on Kickstarter this week, providing a way to chemically polish 3D prints to a vibrant shine. It’s an enclosed chamber that subjects your print to an acetone vapor. This particular vapor softens ABS plastic and if timed correctly, your prints will not only have no lines but they will also take on an ultra-smooth shiny surface. Very fine details might be erased during the smoothing, but the results can be wonderful. 

The MagicBox is developed by Sky-Maker, an Asian manufacturer of personal 3D printers that believes smoothing is an accessory function that should be available to anyone owning a personal 3D printer. We think so, too. 

The device is pretty straightforward, technically. You’ll top up the reservoir with liquid acetone, some of which is evaporated into a vapor by their patent-pending process. A timer ensures you don’t leave the print in too long, or else you’ll transform that delicate vase into a lump of mush. 

One feature we quite liked was a fan and filter: 

The vapor fills the chamber and begins to smooth out the surface lines from of your FDM prints. After you’re finished, the exhaust fan and filter will capture the excess vapor to ensure that the air in your room stays clean and fresh.

Safety first! Acetone is a relatively common substance, but it can be nasty. We’d probably use the MagicBox in a very well ventilated area nonetheless. 

There is one peculiarity we don’t understand. The MagicBox claims to work on both ABS and PLA plastic. But it’s well-known that acetone does not soften PLA. Sky-Maker says: 

Yes, it can work. Everyone said acetone was only for ABS, but we don’t want to use methanol and lye on PLA material because it’s too dangerous for our customer. So we found a way out to adjust the temperature and vapor volume to improve this. I need to say, the ABS prints is better than PLA prints,but anyway we will try to find the best parameter for this machine for PLA prints use.

We’d love to see this work. If it does, it truly should be a required accessory for every personal 3D printer owner. 

Via Kickstarter