I've previously posted about this, but it was more in the context of a misprint. Since then Shapeways has sent a reprint and all is good!
Below is a FCS print I've made with the intention of using it as a cup coaster. I would have liked to use ceramic for the part where the cup touches the surface, but unfortunately it doesn't look like there's a red option on the ceramic materials and I didn't have the correct bits to glaze it myself.
This is my first experience in printing in FCS and I must say, I'm pleasantly surprised. The piece feels pretty sturdy and colours look great. The surface finish was a bit rough, but I've had some great success in smoothing it out.
Using some fine sandpaper I gave the piece a quick sand and then a couple of light coats of clear coat. Once finished the surface finish was very smooth to the touch and looked even better than before. I've been using mine for 3 weeks now at the office and it seems to be holding up really well, barely any marks on it even though I go through 5 cups each day
If you look at my youtube video (watch in HD to see the detail), 0:05-01:20 is footage of the original piece straight out of the box, and then everything after it is the piece once it has been sanded and clear coated.
Looks great. Could I ask you to post some details on the posting and clear coating? I've only ever tried sanding one FCS piece (with a Dremel) and the surface kind of got a build up of wax on it which then solidified into a semi opaque state. Was not good at all.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to look at my print
No problem. I've seen some people using those abrasive brushes and they seem to get really good results. I've personally never tried it, but I think I will give it a go as it should be a lot quicker than sanding by hand like I did, and you'll probably be able to smooth out the small or awkward parts much better.
I just took some 400 grit sand paper and gave it a quick light sand by hand. When sanding it did produce a lot of white powder residue (from the CA solution they dip the piece into I believe). Some comes off, but a lot sticks to the piece making it look fairly misty/snowy that you won't be able to remove (so the same semi-opaque finish you experienced I think). I think this is because using sandpaper grinds it into the surface. Using a dremel abrasive brush may or may not do this as it's not really grinding into the surface like sandpaper does. It looks horrible at this stage, but once I then put a clear coat over the top of it, it fixes this. As soon as the clear coat touches it, it will remove the misting/snowy effect and the colours will go back to normal. This process is then repeated once or twice once the clear coat has fully dried.
Another user is much more experienced in smoothing FCS than me, and he uses a Dremel too, so it's well worth looking at his process (his name is "Kaetemi" and below is a link to a thread he has posted some information on. Scroll down from this post and you'll see more information)