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"Shapeways Model Painting Question" Topic

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Fluoro Phil31 Aug 2014 12:08 a.m. PST

Just a quick question – what is the best way to make paint stick on Shapeways models (specifically ships)? I have heard of cases that the paint can peel off after a certain period of time…I would like to hear what is the best material to paint with (Frosted detail or Frosted Ultra detail), all advice will be gratefully received. TIA…

Coabeous31 Aug 2014 7:59 a.m. PST


Good Luck,

thehawk31 Aug 2014 8:48 a.m. PST

Phil, I tried rustoleum plastic primer on fud but it remained slightly tacky and flaked. Also it seemed to weaken the fud which is already brittle. I have used this primer on metal and plastic without problems.
It seems that heptane is needed to remove wax from fud. Search 'painting fud' on google
But heptane is a solvent so there may be a safer alternative.
If you find an answer (I'm in Oz), pls post here.

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2014 8:58 a.m. PST

As Coabeous link shows WSF paints well. FUD not so much.
The problem seems to be the wax that fills in the stairstep left by the printing process.

As I've written bestine will remove the wax and give a good painting surface. While Shapeways does not mention how to paint FUD Wartimes Journal does discuss their similar material. They say bestine removes the wax but causes the printed material to become brittle but does give a surface that accepts paint.

I've cleaned mine with warm soapy water, brushed it down with a soft toothbrush, soaked them in Simple Green, washed then brushed down. Paint still came off, not immediately but over time. Including the primer.

I'm trying Future. The WSF airplane guys love it. Of course it's (WSF) a different texture, very 'toothy' so paint sticks to it.

Once I've gotten back to the Shape ways FUD I'll post here on the results.

Meantime… anyone have a better method?

I revisited the WTJ site and see that they no longer advise against bestine

We don't discourage its use, but we feel there are cheaper, equally effective paint preparation options.

Also they use stiff bristled brushes, after soaking in warm soapy water, to remove the wax but suggest caution.

I will try the stiff brushes, cautiously evil grin, first.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2014 10:17 a.m. PST

If you use Bestine on Shapeways FUD, all you need to do is soak it for a few hours, so no brushes. This is an advantage for delicate parts.

I personally have soaked ship models in Bestine for a week, with no apparent structural issues. My criterion for testing structural integrity was to deliberately break off thin funnels from 1/6000 FUD models of the USS Atlanta, using my fingers. Using this admittedly crude measurement technique, I couldn't detect any difference between treated and non-treated examples. I subscribe to the traditional interpretation of the FUD post-Bestine white color, which is that the "true" surface is revealed with all its extra surface planes, thus producing extra reflection/refraction of light.

WRT to brittleness, after soaking I subjected a test model to boiling water and gentle bending of the hull (original warping not caused by Bestine; the hull was received from Shapeways in that condition).



boy wundyr x31 Aug 2014 12:26 p.m. PST

For 1/600 aircraft in FUD, I've washed in warm soapy water, rinsed, let dry so the wax/oil (it stains the underlying paper like it was an oil) drains off, rinse again, dry again, then coat in Future and prime with gesso.

So far it works, although without the wax the surface is a bit rougher.

It's a weird substance and I wish Shapeways was more helpful in telling us how to work with it, it's not like we're the only ones using the stuff.

Fluoro Phil31 Aug 2014 9:34 p.m. PST

Thanks so much for your input guys! Another question…is there much difference between FD and FUD – what is everyone's preference? Just to clarify, I am looking at predominantly 1/2400 WWII ships. TIA…

HobbyGuy02 Apr 2015 11:20 a.m. PST

Hmm, did not even know FUD painting was a problem. I just cleaned really well with soapy water (using dish washing liquid) with a brush. Medium hot water. Let dry overnight.

Sprayed with Walmart plastic primer. Dried overnight. Then painted. Dried overnight. Then Glosscoat (Testors). Dried overnight. Then Testors Dullcoat.

Been 6 months and it looks like the day I painted it. Should I worry about this? I had no idea there was even a problem and see 0 signs of a problem so far….?

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2015 9:07 a.m. PST

IMHO, if the paint you used is acrylic, then with careful handling you may be able to get away with painting over the residual wax (which is what you are doing if you don't use Bestine/heptane). I assume this is because acrylic paint forms a skin-like surface when dry.

Since you've already done it, I would leave it alone.


HobbyGuy08 Apr 2015 7:24 a.m. PST

Boy I just see 0 problems with this paint job without the harsh chem treatment. I think it's all about the cleaning and the primer. On FUD.

I also just realized I did not use Plastic Primer, just regular walmart fine gray primer (which has plastic listed along with many other surfaces on the label).

Dameon28 Apr 2015 6:51 p.m. PST

I've only ever ordered models off Shapeways in White Strong and Flexible (WSF).

This material tends to be somewhat porous, so some people recommend sealing it with a gloss coat then priming it.

I give it a coat of Krylon Satin and then use Rustoleum automotive primer.

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