Home Practice & Makers YouTuber shows how to create smooth 3D prints with PVB

YouTuber shows how to create smooth 3D prints with PVB

The surface quality of 3D prints can be significantly improved with a type of filament called polyvinyl butyral (PVB). In its latest video, the YouTub channel “Lost in Tech” goes into detail about the material’s properties and processing options.

The semi-transparent and slightly waxy PVB has been around for several years, but is only now gradually gaining popularity. A special property of the material is the ability to smooth parts made with it using moderate, largely harmless chemical solvents such as isopropyl alcohol.

The print settings are similar to those of PLA, with a recommended nozzle temperature of 200 to 225 degrees Celsius. A bed temperature of at least 80 degrees Celsius for the first layer is crucial for good adhesion to the print bed. Otherwise, there is a risk that the filament will not adhere properly and will detach from the bed.

PVB actually dissolves in alcohols such as isopropanol, which paves the way for various smoothing processes. These include steam smoothing in a sealed container, manual brushing with isopropanol, spraying with alcohol and complete immersion of the prints. Despite different advantages and disadvantages, all methods achieve a significant smoothing of the surface, which makes the object look very different from typical 3D prints.

The YouTuber cites decorative objects, jewelry, vases and other ornamental objects as practical application examples for the smooth PVB surface. The similar processing method to PLA opens up a wide range of applications, as long as the material does not come into contact with alcohols.

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