Best material for good surface finish

Assuming you are making parts that are purely cosmetic and strength and toughness are secondary, what material would produce the finest and most consistent finish? The parts I have made with ABS are pretty good, but really show the layering despite lowering the layer height, and also show the traverse lines on horizontal surfaces. I am not looking for mirror smooth, but just maximising the pre finishing surface as much as possible



I think what you are after may be printer upgrades. If you have backlash in your Z axis it really shows up down the side of your print. Have a look on the hardware forum for piercets anti wobble z nut. The extruder carriage also has some flex in it and changes of direction, particularly at speed, can cause unwanted faults in the side of a print. Lowering your external perimeter speed can help a lot with this, there is also a reinforced extruder carriage on the hardware page that you can make.

Regarding traverse lines in horizontal surfaces, I think you’re talking about the nozzle scrape over top surfaces. This will happen with any filament you use and is an issue which would need rectifying in your slicer/gcode by preventing he extruder to travel over top surfaces. I’ve never tried it but I assume it can be done.

ABS makes an excellent surface finish, the layering is really easy to remove. I have printed at 40 microns and after 10 seconds in a vapour bath the part was completely smooth. Sanding also works very well on ABS, although obviously I appreciate many shapes/objects don’t lend themselves to being sanded easily.

Thanks for the reply

I’ll look into the nozzle scrape issue, worth checking, but my printer is less than a month old. I was just wondering whether some materials are easier to print with in terms of cosmetic appearance, and I had thought about the acetone vapour finishing for what I have been printing.


Printer age has little to do with it. Lead screws are rarely (if ever) perfectly straight and with the way the taz is set up these little deviances influence the whole X axis, and by extension the extruder, with it. The anti wobble nut basically eliminates any play from translating into the axis, it makes a massive difference the the quality of side walls; flat walls are also much easier to get smooth, but look a lot better to start with anyway.

Have a look on the mods page on the hardware forum and read some of the build threads, they are educational if nothing else.

Will do, thanks!


This seems like a good place to ask, I think…

Will an acetone vapor wash work on nGen Amphora filament?

Concerning the question of which material yields the nicest surface finish, there’s a clear answer:

The surface finish does in fact come out matte, and has the remarkable quality of masking the layer boundaries and generally homogenizing the surface appearance.



You may want to try increasing “Z-hop” under Expert: open expert settings. Z hop lifts the nozzle during retraction movements. Usually if the nozzle is traversing, it just performed a retraction. Try increasing the Z hop value a bit to lift it off the part while the nozzle isn’t printing.