Material Selection Advice: some products are available in more than one material. For static display models, "Frosted Detail" acrylic plastic and "Black High Definition Acrylate" are recommended for fine detail and smooth surfaces. Of the two types of Frosted Detail plastic, "Frosted Extreme Detail" (FXD) prints in thinner layers producing much better detail and dramatically smoother surfaces. For Radio Control models, where durability and strength are important, some larger scale products are available in "Strong and Flexible" plastic (S&F), a kind of tough nylon. S&F prints in thicker layers, print lines are more noticeable and edges are not as sharp.
Glue: cyanoacrylate (CA) "superglue" works best. Testors liquid or tube cement won't work. Testors cement works best for polystyrene plastic but these 3D-printed parts are either acrylic plastic or nylon. But beware: CA glue remover can melt acrylic plastic.
Cleaning your parts: during the 3D printing process, a waxy substance is used to support certain part features. Although the parts are cleaned by Shapeways afterwards, some waxy residue may remain. It can be safely removed with mineral oil, or water together with a mild water-based detergent like "Dawn" or "Fairy" dishwashing liquid, baby shampoo (no conditioner), or "Simple Green" using an old, soft toothbrush, Q-tips or pipe cleaners. Do NOT use any cleaner, primer, paint or thinner containing acetone, acetate or methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).
Curing the plastic and smoothing surfaces:
- For products printed in "Frosted Detail" acrylic plastic and "Black High Definition Acrylate" plastic, during printing process, liquid resin is cured by ultraviolet light. Microscopic bits of resin may remain uncured. Let your parts sit in direct sunlight or under a UV or fluorescent lamp for a few hours to fully cure the resin. After your parts have fully cured, if desired, careful use of an inexpensive "air eraser" emitting common household baking soda can help smooth surfaces and remove any unwanted "frost" without harming detail. Air erasers, like an airbrush but much cheaper, can be found on Amazon.com. Models by Harbor Freight and Paasche are popular.
- For those few products printed in "Strong and Flexible" plastic, a kind of nylon that is difficult to smooth, apply thin layers of primer meant for nylon, allow the primer to harden, then smooth the hardened primer.
Primer and painting:
- For "Frosted Detail" acrylic plastic and "Back High Definition Acrylate" plastic, only acrylic primer and acrylic paints meant for plastic are recommended. Enamel paint may not harden on "Frosted Detail" plastic.
- For "Strong and Flexible" products, only primers and paints intended specifically for use on nylon should be used. Other hobby paints may not adhere. Simply Google "primer for nylon" and "paint for nylon" for several good choices.
Do NOT use any thinner containing acetone, acetate, or methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Acetone will attack acrylic plastic and damage it. Acetate is found in acetone-free nail polish remover. Acetate and MEK can cause a crystalline powder to form on the surface, even after painting, which is an annoyance to remove. The following chemicals may cause crazing, cracking, discoloration, or dissolving of Frosted Detail acrylic plastics: Acetic Acid, Acetate, Acetone, Ammonia, Aromatic Solvents, Benzene, Brake Fluid, Butyl Alcohol, Chlorinated Solvents, Disinfectant, Ethyl Alcohol, Kerosene, Lacquer Thinner, Lestoil® Cleaner, Lysol® Spray, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Naphtha, Pinesol® Cleaner, Sulfuric Acid, Turpentine, Toluene, White Cap® Cleaner, and Xylene.
Orders: all Model Monkey designs pass Shapeways' automated design analysis software checks before being offered for sale. Occasionally, after purchase, a human print engineer may find a feature too thin to survive cleaning and Shapeways will cancel your order for that product and refund your money. In the unlikely event that this should happen to you, Shapeways will inform me immediately and I'll make an adjustment to the design. Usually, you will be able to reorder the adjusted product the same day.
Requests for New Products or Custom Designs: requests for re-scaling existing designs are gladly considered. Requests for new designs, custom designs or alterations to existing designs are no longer accepted.