Tag Archives: Materials


Go Bigger with New Polishing Options

Sculpteo now offers polishing and double polishing options for even larger objects in white plastic.

Everyday at Sculpteo we are looking for new and better ways to quickly turn an idea into reality. We feel that nothing should get in the way of high quality 3D printing and small batch manufacturing – especially size. For this we are excited to announce new, larger maximum polishing sizes for objects printed in white plastic.

Objects in white plastic can now be up to 300mm x 220 mm x 200 mm ( or 11.81 x 8.66 x 7.87 inches).  You can of course find the updated information on our new material page for plastic.

The new polishing machine is another part of our new factory located in Paris. As a result of the factory we are able to turn 3D models into physical prints faster than ever.

We’re extremely excited to add the new polishing machine to our arsenal and invite you to take full advantage. Go bigger than ever.

DIY Tips: refinishing your polyamide models

You created your 3D models. Hit the 3D print button on Sculpteo.com and ordered a plastic print. Now you just received your 3D print at home. Here are a few DIY tips to refinish your polyamide model and particularly to solve to big questions: how to attach and paint your multi-part 3D printed polyamide objects?

Attach your polyamide pieces

A time may come when you need to print your 3D model in more than one piece. This may be because your object was too big for the printer to handle in one batch, or perhaps you anticipated painting your object, and printing it in more than one piece made for an easier paint job. Regardless of the situation, if it arises you’ll need to attach the separated elements.

To effectively attach separated elements the different pieces must be clean, dry, and polished. The surfaces to be attached cannot be painted or varnished.

Required Materials


Photo 1: Required Materials

–        1 modeling knife (X-Acto or equivalent)*

–        1 bottle of liquid LOCTITE superglue** (no gel glues)

–        1 tube of Araldite** glue

–        1 cotton swab

–        1 wooden toothpick

–        a few clothespins or similar pinching tools


First, it’s important to refine the small imperfections that may not have been completely polished when the objects were printed. This can be done with the X-Acto knife.

Also if you have painted the hard-to-reach places before starting to glue, it is important to scrape the paint that may have escaped to the surface that will be glued with the blade’s edge.


Photo 2 Two unpainted helmets; right helmet scraped for gluing

Polyamide objects are extremely porous and “drink” the LOCTITE liquid glue – it’s important to saturate the areas that will be attached with glue before attaching them to ensure there will be enough glue when the objects are finally assembled.

Begin Gluing

After the base coat of glue has dried (about 5 minutes), another coat of the LOCTITE liquid glue can be placed on both sides to be attached. With both sides glued, place the object in its desired position and hold it there for 1-2 minutes. Plan ahead and do not leave your hands in an awkward position – the more the objects move during the glue’s drying process, the higher the chance they will not be fully stuck together.

Using the toothpick and a moist cotton swab, you can eliminate excess glue from around the junctions of the objects.


Photo 3 Removing excess glue with a toothpick.

For larger pieces with wider planes to be glued, use the Araldite glue to adhere the different parts, and, instead of using your hands to keep the parts together, use clothespins.

If the joint between the parts is still loose after the first round of glue, it is possible to reinforce the junction by adding one or two splotches of glue around it. The excess glue can again be removed using the toothpick and moist cotton swab.


Photo 3.1 Adding extra liquid glue to the fragile juncture.

Tip: During the conception of the model it is important to plan ahead to make the gluing process easier – large flat surfaces that are easy to reach will greatly simplify your work. Interlocking grooves or a mortice and tenon can make for even simpler and exact gluing, as there is more surface contact between the various surfaces when using those design features.

3D print painted assembled

Photo 4 Samurai hat assembly using a tenon and mortise: the hole allows for exact fixing of the decorative horns

Helmet 3D Printed

Photo 5 The ridge atop this Greek helmet aligns perfectly with a groove in the decorative feathers.

*Available in most art stores

**Available superstores and hardware stores

***Available in hobby stores (Games Workshop, etc.)

Painting your printed polyamide objects

Polyamide objects are perfect for painting; there are just a couple of rules to respect in order to make sure your paint is both aesthetically pleasing and durable. In this tutorial we work with pieces at a 1/16th scale.

Before painting your pieces, make sure they are clean, dry, and smooth. We recommend working with our polished white polyamide for the best results.

Required Materials

Painting 3D Prints

Photo 6 Required materials for painting a polyamide piece

–        Paintbrushes in sizes ranging from 00 to 5 (debate 000 for even smaller details)

–        Acrylic modeling paints (Prince August, Citadel, Tamyia, Pelikan Plaka, Ravell, etc.***)

–        1 painting palette for mixing colors and dilutions (a plastic plate can also work)

–        1 water dropper complete with faucet water

–        1 paper towel, folded in fourths

–        1 sheet of white printer-type paper

–        A bit of modeling material: Patafix**, Plastiline*, or Fimo, clothespins, toothpics, etc.

Creating a Support

Instead of holding the piece in your hand while you paint, you can create a support with a bit of Patafix (or equivalent) and a toothpick.

Take a bit of the modeling putty and place it in a place to be painted later (or never), like the inside of a helmet.  Then place a toothpick within that putty – this will function as a type of handle for your piece while you paint. When it comes time to dry you can clip the toothpick into a clothespin for easy drying.

Note: Using a support allows you to hold the object with minimal hand fatigue and maximum visibility of the object. It also avoids finger smudgings of the wet paint.

Determining the Base Coat Color

Before painting your piece, you must determine a base color.

A base paint color can usually be determined at a glance. Modeling stores often have a wide range of modeling colors available to help, in both spray and classic paints.

If you’re looking for a specific color, and the paints that correspond with it, there is a free online tool, which can help to determine it – http://scalemodeldb>com/paint. The program takes the stock photo of a model and determines a particular base coat color and paint.

Note: Be sure to match the base coat with the finishing that will follow.

–        If you plan on using dry brush techniques for a somewhat brilliant metallic shine, add 10-20% black to your base coat.

–        Or, during the opposite case, if you’re going to do multiple washes of your base coat, add 10-20% white.

Finally you can make all visible tints with the three primary colors, white, and black; through a process of mixing and matching.

Applying the Base Coat

Most often, the base coat is either black or white, depending if the resulting object is bright or shadowed – though it is important to have a fixed base color in mind before painting.

–        Use a size 5-6 brush, depending on the size and base color of your object.

–        Dilute the paint with 50% water (one part water for every part paint)

–        Use a small amount of paint on the brush and be sure to cover the entire object. Polyamide is known to “drink” a large portion of the base coat.


Photo 7 Small amount of paint placed as a base coat. *Note the degree to which the polyamide drinks the liquid.

It’s important to cover the entire piece with the base coat, if not you run the risk of small blotches of color that is not uniform.

Also when working with polyamide, leave twice the recommended drying time. This will ensure the object is uniformly saturated with paint.

Apply the Following Layers

Mix your desired paint colors in your palette and drop the excess paint from your brush onto the white piece of paper.


Photos 8 and 9: Removing excess paint from the brush


Photos 8 and 9: Removing excess paint from the brush

To ensure that the paint soaks fully into the object, let the paint dry fully after one to three coats (dry time as recommended by the manufacturer of the paint).

Gold paints have a habit of soaking very poorly into the polyamide and could require up to five coats. Black, on the other hand, soaks very well – we recommended painting the black areas last.

At a 1/16 scale, 00 and 000 sized brushes are fine enough to paint the whites and blacks of a figurines eye.

Always start by painting the center of the object and working your way outward, working from bright paints to darks.

Note 1: Don’t hesitate to dilute your paints and to add more coats – this will avoid losing small details of the object as a result of the paint’s thickness. It is always better to have 4 diluted coats rather than 2 coats that are overly thick.

Note 2: Be sure to respect the dry times recommended by the paint manufacturer and to fully clean your brushes when switching between colors. Also do your best to maintain the point of the brush with water and the paper towel. This will save you money on future brushes and paint jobs.

Medal_3Dprint_Hand painted_3

Photo 10.1 This Greek Shield has a white base coat diluted at 50% and two coats of gold paint around the edges.

Medal_3Dprint_Hand painted_2

Photo 10.2 The blue frieze of the shield received two coats.

Medal_3Dprint_Hand painted

Photo 10.3 The scorpion received a single black coat, and is yet well covered.

Realizing Finishes

For a worn/weathered type of finish, you can use the same techniques that are used for the plastic models that you can find in hobby stores.

The dry-brush technique does well to bring out the details of an object and can greatly improve the overall look of the paint job.

To begin, soak an older brush with small and tight bristles in a mix of the desired color and white. Take the brush and remove virtually all of the paint from it on the piece of scrap paper. Then run the brush over object – the embossed or engraved areas of your design will be highlighted with the paint mixture.


Photos 11 and 12 A Greek helmet painted using anthracite gray for metallic parts and clear night blue for the crest. Final touches made by light dry brush strokes using pure white.


Photos 11 and 12 A Greek helmet painted using anthracite gray for metallic parts and clear night blue for the crest. Final touches made by light dry brush strokes using pure white.

Note: To learn more about washes and dry-brushing, there are multiple videos that can help you through the process on YouTube. Here are a couple examples:




After finishing your paint job, we recommend varnishing your pieces with an acrylic, matte, satin, or brilliant (PEBEO*) finishing. Acrylic paint is originally matte; to give your object a lacquer-like finish, multiple coats of a brilliant varnish will have the same effect.

Note: We have chosen to make this tutorial about brush-applied acrylic paints, due to the facility those tools offer for model painting. Oil paints can are not thick enough to cover the object effectively, however they can be used for finer details and finishes, or for clearer washes that may add an extra hint of realism.

Have fun!

*Available in most art stores

**Available superstores and hardware stores

***Available in hobby stores (Games Workshop, etc.)


refining layers

Refine layers using Batch Control

It is possible to generate finer layer thickness using Batch Control.

Most of Sculpteo’s printers use a process called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which involves rolling multiple thin layers of polyamide in a basin. Those layers are then fused together through the heat of a laser, resulting in a nearly smooth object. This video gives a good impression of what the process looks like.

Typically the thickness of these layers is between 100-150 μm, but orders of over 20 units allows you to enable batch control. Batch control rearranges the objects within the printer, optimizing the space and material used during the printing process. It also allows for a layer precision of 60 μm.


Batch control is automatically activated when you increase your order above 20 units in the checkout process. Then, to activate the finer layer precision, simply scroll down to layer thickness and select it!

Batch control allows for a finer precision and an optimized unit price. An individual unit has a minimum price of 6€ but that can be cut in half with a large batch.

So be sure to consider using batch control when printing a large quantity of items!


How to choose the right material for your 3D prints?

3D printing is not a unique process with just one material or one technology. In fact, when you’re looking for a 3D printed part, you can choose between many solutions and this choice will largely impact the outcome. Depending on where you are in the development lifecycle of your product, choosing the best material can be the key to your project’s success. Let us guide you through the process of picking the right material when you entrust a 3D printing service with the task to 3D print something for you.

To simplify your products’ develoment,  we created a chart you can refer to when you want to 3D print an object with a specific purpose and chose the right material on our website, and we added a glossary of a “product lifecycle management”.  Take a look at it.

Which material for which use? A chart of the different materials:

material_for_3D printing

Which 3D printed material for which use?

Glossary for your Product Lifecycle Management

To help you understand this chart clearly, we’ve added some definitions about the different of a product’s lifecycle development.

Concept Model

A concept model is used to test some aspect of the intended design without attempting to exactly simulate the visual appearance, choice of materials or intended manufacturing process. Such prototypes can be used to “prove out” a potential design approach such as range of motion, mechanics, sensors, architecture, etc.

At the early stage, Concept testing is useful to identify which design options will not work, or where further development and testing is necessary.

Design Verification

Engineering verification testing (EVT) is used on prototypes to verify that the design meets pre-
determined specifications and design goals. This valuable information is used to validate the design as is, or identify areas that need to be modified.

The Model for EVT will capture the intended design aesthetic and simulate the appearance, color and surface textures of the intended product but will not actually embody the function(s) of the final product. These models will be suitable for use in market research, executive reviews and approval, packaging mock-ups, and photo shoots for sales literature.

Form, fit, function

The term “form, fit and function”, sometimes called F3 or FFF, in the manufacturing and technology industries is a description of an item’s identifying characteristics:

  • Form: the shape, size, dimensions, mass and/or other visual parameters which uniquely characterize an item. This defines the “look” of the part or item. Sometimes weight, balance and center of mass are considerations in ‘form’. Color is not generally considered in ‘form’, except when it has a specific functional meaning.
  • Fit: the ability of an item to physically interface or interconnect with or become an integral part of another item or assembly. This relates to the associativity of the part in relation to the assembly, or to other parts, and includes tolerances.
  • Function: the action[s] that an item is designed to perform. This is the reason for the item’s existence, which also includes secondary applications.

Form, fit and function testing is useful to make the parts of an assembly, put them together and see if they fit properly. You can undertake a first evaluation of tolerances and check design errors.

Functional testing

A Functional Model is also called a working prototype. The functional prototype may be reduced in size (scaled down) in order to reduce costs. The functional Model helps you to test the parts when subjected to stresses and to check how the model will behave in its actual application. The construction of a fully working full-scale prototype and the ultimate proof of concept, is the engineers’ final check for design flaws and allows last-minute improvements to be made before larger production runs are ordered.

Fine feature detail

A fine detail is a very delicate, small, or exact part of an item. This material is appropriate for complex and delicate geometry.

Smooth surface finish

Smooth finish traditionally describes the removal of unsightly tool or machining marks. The material itself or a post-process such as polishing provide a very smooth final surface.

High heat / Chemical applications

Chemical applications require materials with specific properties. This material provides significant resistance to chemicals including acids, bases, hydrocarbons, fuels etc. This material has a low thermal expansion coefficient and a high heat deflection temperature, which enables you to use it for high heat applications.


This material can be used to make goods or wares on a larger scale than prototyping. This means that this material can be life tested (i.e. how the part will behave during the life time of the product) and used in regulatory testing.

Medical applications

Medical applications such as use in surgical instruments or medical devices requires specific properties such as biocompatibility. This material can be in contact with human or animal bodies, inside or outside the body, and will not have any toxic or injurious effects on biological systems.

Tooling (Molding)

This material can be used to create tools for a manufacturing process. For instance, wax is used to create the counterparts of a mold before casting.


That being said, we always provide guidance and support for all your project around 3D printing. Don’t hesitate to contact us directly at sales@sculpteo.com or on Facebbok and Twitter.


The Full List of 60+ Materials Available at Sculpteo. And Yes, We Do Metal and Bi-Materials !

At Sculpteo there isn’t a day without getting special requests. It can be about materials, size, model design… We are always happy to answer these questions and provide you a tailor-fit service. Our contact email is sales@sculpteo.com

We have plenty of materials available upon request. And, as always, we are paying a very special attention to the final quality of your product.

Here are the materials already available on-demand at Sculpteo, additional to our actual list of materials:

Objet Resins

Flexible Resin (Objet TangoBlack):


Transparent Resin (Objet FullCure 720):

All resins from the Objet Vero family (8 types):

We also do bi-materials 3D printing: 2 materials in the same object (one side transparent, one side flexible for example) !


Transparent Resin:

FDM Plastics


Metals (Selective Laser)

Stainless Steel

Tool Steel




Precious metals for jewelry





Simply contact sales@sculpteo.com for getting a quote.


And as a reminder, here is the list of materials you can directly choose from our website:

Polyamid (White Plastic)

Colored Plastic (9 colors available)

Polished Plastic


Silver-coated plastic

Detail resin (white or black)

Spray-painted resin (11 colors available)


Ceramic (8 colors available)

Have a great 3D printing day!