Are you tired of waiting more than two episodes of Breaking Bad for your high-resolution part to 3D print? Two Masters of Engineering students at UC Berkeley are too, and with their ingenius new 3D Refiner Kickstarter project (already funded with 29 days to go), you can 3D print at a fast low resolution, and then transfer your print to the 3D Refiner for a pressurized smooth-blasting solvent that gives you high-quality results…in less than half the time of a high-quality print.

The 3D Refiner

So we tried different methods to improve the prints finish and still save a ton of time. We tried: (1) sand paper on the part, (2) wiping the part with different solvents, (3) egg beating a bowl of solvent with the part… (13?) a pressurized flow of solvent at the part while its rotating in a tank of solvent — the 3D Refiner.

On their Kickstarter page, engineering team Ross and David claim that the 3D refiner is a machine that rotates a 3D printed part in front of a pressurized and constant flow of solvent, allowing for a symmetric smoothing of the print, resulting in the appearance of a high quality and appealing finish for any 3D printed part. In other words, its like mounting a 3D printed part on the head of a hand drill and sticking it in front of a high-pressured jacuzzi jet of solvent, which essentially has a sandblasting-like effect on the low quality print resulting in a buttery-smooth high-quality print. Genius.

Part Loaded and Ready to Refine
Part Loading Position

3D Refiner
Working Position

fast print, low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner for 15 minutes
fast print, low resolution: (left) normal – (right) 3DRefiner for 15 minutes

In their last three months at UC Berkeley, the two were able to secure lab space exclusively for the 3D Refiner, which is where they will produce and assemble the final products (now that’s a cool school). The majority of the product components will be created on their UP! 3D printer at the rate of two 3D Refiners a day (including soldering, coding, and assembly). Their hope is that after four months of research, development, and prototyping, they can solve some of the pains of 3D printing for hobbyists and professionals alike:

We’ve got a great team, between Ross (Electrical Engineer) handling all the electronics, software and connections, and David (Industrial Engineer) covering the housings, pump, platforms, and assembly components. We have worked tirelessly to get us where we are today. We will continue to work hard to take the product forward to production and even further on, but we need your help.

Prototype 2.0
3D Refiner Setup

Interested in a rotating jacuzzi bath for your 3D prints? Head over to their Kickstarter page to get yours.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.