Polishing your Transparent detail model

I have been playing around a bit with some Transparent details models to find a good way to polish them and make them shine.
It will take some time (appr 4 hours for this model) but the result really rocks… if I may say so myself.

Bellow I’ll describe the steps I took to get to this result. These steps will be applicable for almost all models printed in Transparent detail

I started with Bryan Vaccaro’s Headspace Bowl model: which (to me) screams to be polished.

To start polishing you should work your way up through the different numbers of sanding paper starting with P400 >> P600 >> P800 >> P1000 >> P1200

If the surface you want to polish is quite rough you can even start with P240.
By working your way up to P1200 you are making the surface smoother every time you go up one paper.

You should use sanding paper that can be used wet (most of the times this is sanding paper that is used for sanding (spray) paint).

When sanding your model you should “clean” your paper with water frequently keeping it quite wet.  This will make the surface nice and smooth.

Once you have sanded your model with the P1200 paper your can clean and dry it. Once it’s dry you can start with the final round. This is polishing it with a polishing paste. This will make it shine like a mirror. I have used a car polish paste (called Commandant) and a towel.
And tatatada…. A beautiful end result 

Some tips:
- Make sure you wear latex gloves for you might also sand away some of the skin from your fingers (depending of the way your hold your paper).
- Also wear some kind of protection for your eyes and mouth.    
- You can mount sandpaper on a flexible piece of plastic to be used when sanding your model. This will help you to keep the lines in your model nice and straight.
- For the more organic models there are products (eg from 3M) that have sanding paper mounted on a sponge. This works quite well also.


  1. Bryan

    Wow! It looks great when its that smooth! Question: have you tried 3M Plastic Polish on Transparent Detail?

    1. Peter Paul Cornelissen

      Nop I haven’t. I can check if I can find it some were to test. The polish past I used I have used on quite some different plastics but normally it’s used to polish the paint on your car.

      I would say any polish past would do the trick but I am not 100% sure. May be someone else has experience with the past you refer to….?

      If I can find it some were I’ll test it and let you know.

  2. Madox

    That’s very nice! Its amazing how ‘clear’ it gets once it has been polished up.

  3. Andreas

    awesome work, Peter Paul.

    On the last step, I’ve used toothpaste with baking soda to polish lexan to same benefit – its cheaper and works pretty good. Try it sometime.

  4. Peter Paul Cornelissen

    Thanks for the tips,

    I have also heard from someone you can use toothpast and your electric toothbrush.
    Haven’t tried it myself though.
    Will try some of the suggestions once I have a new transparent part.

    Cheers Peter Paul

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