3D Printing & Painting

Use the provided files to 3D print the wall sections and handles. Note: depending on the material you are printing with, allow for shrinkage after cooling by scaling the model up before printing. For ABS, somewhere between 1.5% and 2.5% should work. I highly recommend doing some tests, measuring, and math to calculate your actual shrinkage factor before printing the whole run of parts. Otherwise, be prepared to do some extra drilling out of holes at the end of this project, and for the 3D printed parts to not quite line up with the laser cut parts.

Print the Walls

Full models are provided, so you can scale them based on your shrinkage calculation. You will then need to slice the walls into two or more pieces to fit on your printer bed. After printing, use glue (epoxy works well on ABS) to assemble each wall section. For a smooth finish, I filled the joins with Bondo Spot Filler, and sanded smooth when dry.

NOTE: The 3D files do not have a hole for the power switch. I used a scavenged switch in my project, the switch you source may have different dimensions. You can either cut a hole for the switch later (method described in the "Make the Power Circuit" section of this guide), or add a hole into the 3D model before you print it.

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The thinner wall section is the front section (blue in the photo below), and the thicker wall section (white below) is the back section.

Make the Handles

The handles are split into two pieces each, to wrap around the exposed sections of acrylic on each side of SelfieBot (do not glue the handle pieces together!). We'll install the handles at the very end of the build.

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The handles are held together with screws and captured nuts in the back of each handle. Here's how to insert the nuts into the hexagonal holes:

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Turn on your soldering iron. Find the two back handle pieces (the pieces with the bigger, hexagonal holes). Lay the nut on top of the hexagonal hole, it won't quite fit into the hole. Place the tip of your soldering iron on the nut to heat it a bit, and press the nut gently into its hole. Take your time and be careful not to touch the nut while hot.

Painting the Acrylic

I chose to leave the back and middle acrylic panels clear, and back-paint the front panel for a clean finish. Leave the protective film on the front of the panel, and paint the back side. Spray paint needs to be applied to acrylic in many very light coats. Be patient and take your time. I masked and painted the back side of the acrylic in three different colors. Choose your favorite colors and get creative here!

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Some painting tips:

Masking is a lot of work, but makes for a stunning and crisp paint job. Masking the edges of 3 mm acrylic is tedious, but worth it!

To mask the edges of smaller holes, I filled them with bits of Model Magic, a non-toxic air dry clay. I just pushed little spheres of clay into the holes from the front (non-paint) side, and kept them flat on the paint side. Tape in place with blue painters tape.

Another option for dealing with edges is to leave some areas unpainted. For the speaker holes, I turned this approach into a design element by masking the whole area with a hexagon shape.

To paint the three different colors, I masked the panel in two sections, and removed one between colors. I started with the darkest color (black), and finished with the lightest (white) to minimize color bleed.

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Sand, finish, and paint the 3D printed parts as desired. I sanded, filled, and primed the outside of the wall sections before painting with spray paint. I left the handles unpainted.

This guide was first published on Dec 10, 2017. It was last updated on Dec 10, 2017. This page (3D Printing & Painting) was last updated on Nov 16, 2019.