Improved Rusting Method for Iron Prints

Dustin shares an improved (and faster) method for rusting prints made with Magnetic Iron PLA!
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Polishing Iron PLA Prints...?

As I was polishing prints made with our Stainless Steel PLA for the last blog post on wheel polishing, I began to wonder if the same could be done with our Magnetic Iron PLA. After all, it also has powderized metal in it, why hadn't we tried to polish it already?

I put this version of the famous Thingiverse owl to the test by attempting to polish it on the bench grinder with a polishing compound. The result was... a slightly shinier owl, but certainly not as impressively shiny as SSPLA after polishing.

So can you polish iron prints? Kind of. A different method (or simpler shaped print) might produce better results.

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Polishing Stainless Steel Prints: Wheel Polishing

For our first post in a series on finishing techniques, we'll be be talking about my personal favorite way to finish prints done with Stainless Steel PLA: using polishing compound and a polishing wheel.

What You'll Need:

WARNING: Make sure you have a good understanding of the tool you will be using. These are high powered tools that can cause injury if used improperly. Wear safety glasses, pull your hair back, and do not wear loose-fitting clothing.


  1. After your print has finished, take it off your printer and remove supports.
  2. With the buffing wheel attached, and the tool firmly mounted to your work table, turn on your polishing tool. If you are polishing with a drill, it's recommended that you mount it firmly with a large vice.
  3. Lightly press the polishing compound to the wheel for a few seconds, or until compound begins flying in the air, at which point you'll know the wheel is fully saturated.
  4. Holding firmly onto your print, lightly press it against the polishing wheel in short bursts, checking the print every few seconds. Polishing does not take long, and over-polishing one area will result in lost detail. Rotate the print to achieve a full polish.
  5. Reapply polishing compound as required.
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Rusting Prints: Saltwater Soaking Method

The coolest thing (I think) about our Magnetic Iron PLA is that you can rust prints made in this material! This gives a whole new look to 3D printed objects that is particularly great for cosplay, artifact replication, and decorative objects.
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