I was delighted to hear from one of my all time favourite 3D printing people yesterday, Asher Nahmias, aka Dizingof. Just a line and a picture came through initially, expressing his excitement about success with his latest 3D printing project:
Obviously, I pushed for more.
Asher has been experimenting with bronze-coating his (always exceptional) 3D printed designs and now is keen to share his experiences and results with the 3D printing community.
He tells me that now “every maker can coat *ANY* 3D printed plastic design with a dense shiny Bronze coat using a Bronze Powder (found on Ebay) and a simple White Glue mixed together in a 2:1 ratio.”
In his search for an optimum bronze coating method for his designs, Asher spent many weeks testing different mixes of resin and epoxy with bronze powder. He ultimately came to the conclusion that the amount of labour needed to burnish a cured coat — to a point where the metallic bronze particles are practically fused together and shine out nicely — with resin/epoxy’s overall results don’t come close to the fast and easy burnishing, metallic shine & Bronze consistency that he got using a simple carpenter glue. Sometimes keeping it simple really is better.
Asher’s esteemed career history has always been rooted firmly in the open source ethos, albeit ensuring fair attribution of his work. In that vein, he is openly sharing his success with his bronze coating methodology and the “winning recipe” is shared below:
- Clean your model with soap and tap water. Let it dry.
- Mix 2 parts of Bronze/Copper/Silver powder with 1 part white glue (approximate how much you’ll need). Mix thoroughly for at least 5 minutes – the more the better, for a good powder spread and consistency.
- Use a simple fine brush to coat your model making sure you don’t leave out holes/crevices etc – let it dry for 4-5 hours then apply a second coat. Allow to dry over night. The longer the coat is hard-cured over time, the better metallic shine.
- Use only a 0000 Steel Wool, (put on gloves – those microscopic steel struts are nasty to your bare hands, also use a nose mask) now start burnishing with simple swipes from side to side until you begin to see the metallic shine come out – continue till you’re satisfied with the result.
- You can leave the result as is and spray-coat it with Matt Lacquer to seal the bronze (and prevent oxidization), or you can brush a small amount of green or black Patina (Shoe shine paste will do fine) to define the recessed areas on your model.
And that’s it!
Asher reports tremendous success with this method, showcasing the results on his Prometheus Sculpture.
The coating also makes the 3D printed model significantly heavier!
Asher says that he can already see new opportunities for this cold bronze coating on 3D printed PLA/ABS designs …. even to the point of rivalling traditional cold cast bronze sculptures.
In sharing this development, Asher hopes that makers will be able to employ this open source method of model-finishing and requests that if anyone is successful with air brushing, or comes up with other ideas, that they share their results in a similar way.
All images courtesey of 3Dizingof.com