11.19.2014: Platonic Ideal


Thanks to a number of distressingly potent solvents, I finished making the Platonic solid planters I modeled back in September. I started off by 3D printing the five solids out of ABS, and then suspended each solid in an acetone vapor bath to melt the surface plastic and smooth out the finish.


The printed planters pre-acetone bath.

After the first coat or two of spray paint, I realized that while the acetone had worked fairly well, it hadn’t completely smoothed out the deeper ridges in the surface — it had just made those ridges glossy.

I considered re-doing the vapor bath, but, dreading the thought of inhaling more nail polish remover, I decided to switch to sanding the faces with increasingly fine-grit sandpaper in between thin coats of spray paint. This worked beautifully; it took forever and I might have sacrificed more than a few neurons to the cause, but the surface finish was smooth and matte and still preserved the sharp edges of the solids.


I filled the planters with some white phalaenopsis orchids, and now they’ve got pride of place on my windowsill. The most surprising thing about this whole process is that the tetrahedron actually ended up looking…well, pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Maybe it’s not quite the very worst of the lot.



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