How To Make A Vase Mode Print Watertight. Simple And Cheap.

This is one of the first times I have really played around with vase mode and I have to admit it is pretty neat. I printed something the other day that was 2 layers thick on the floor and it was slowly leaking water. This made me think, How can I make this water tight? I don’t want to spend the time and filament to reprint it with more bottom layers.

Then I was thinking again, how do people make vases water tight when they use vase mode? I don’t know… There are a few vague answers here and there but I think the general consensus that I found is that people are not using their vase mode prints as a vase. WHAT? Why? It can’t be that hard. Right?

This is my solution and I think it will work very well for most applications.

The best way to make a vase watertight using vase mode is by applying a coat of spray on vinyl (such as Vinyl Wrap or Plasti-Dip) to the inside or outside wall of the print. The vinyl will fill in gaps and create an inner layer that will prevent water from seeping out.

My vinyl spray of choice was Rust-Oleum Vinyl wrap. This is mainly because I couldn’t find a single can of plastidip in clear online (there was only a 3 pack for around $40 and I didn’t need that much plasti-dip) and also the Rust-Oleum is what my local auto parts store had on the shelf when I went in the other day. I know most hardware stores will carry either plasti-dip or rustoleum as well.

How Much Does Vinyl Wrap Spray Cost?

The cost of vinyl spray such as plasti-dip and vinyl wrap varies depending on the color and brand. For the cheapest possible option, you can get black vinyl spray for around $6 at just about any hardware store. For clear it can range from $8-$12 depending on where you shop.

Considering your print will cost around $0.50 for filament you could be applying roughly the same cost in vinyl spray.

How To Apply A Vinyl Coating To Your 3d Print.

  • Make sure your print is clean.

Any amount of dirt or stringiness can compromise the efficacy of your vinyl spray. Preferably you should tune your printer to remove any stringiness and imperfections that it causes. That way you can save time and end up with an overall better product.

You should also wash your print with soap and water.

  • Make sure your print is dry.

If your print is still wet or damp this can cause your vinyl to run and not stay where you applied it. If you end up with an uneven coating there is a possibility that you did not fill in all the cracks therefore your print is not waterproof.

  • Do not prime. 

The vinyl coating adheres well to the 3D printed surface and if you prime this could actually reduce adhesion.

  • Shake vinyl coating can.

You should shake the vinyl coating vigorously for one minute before use and continue to shake throughout the application process.

  • Apply vinyl spray in coats.

Apply a few light coats followed by one medium coat to achieve proper thickness. Final coat should achieve a smooth finish. You should wait around 5 minutes between coats. 

  • Wait.

When finished, wait 2 hours before touching and 24-48 hours before filling with water.

I know this is a long time to wait but the application is very easy and you will be pleased with the end product. If you are struggling to achieve a water-tight finish you may not be applying a thick enough layer or your gaps may be too large to fill. This is not meant to fill holes, only small gaps that water is sweating out of. If it is pouring out of the hole then the hole is probably too large to begin with.

What Is Vase Mode?

Vase mode, (also known as Spiralize Outer Contour Mode) is a 3D printing strategy that creates one single outer layer in a continuous printing motion. In vase mode, the Z axis continually moves up in a spiral motion around the perimeter of the print as the printer is extruding.

Vase mode is much faster in comparison to a traditional strategy of 3D printing in layers. It took me 2 hours 50 minutes to print out a tall vase in vase mode which would have taken 16 hours and 14 minutes using my standard print settings. 

Obviously, there is a large difference in quality with vase mode only being one layer and my traditional printing strategy being many layers on the walls and 20% infill. The vase mode printing strategy only used ⅓ the filament as well which is pretty impressive but is also a sign of how much lighter duty a vase mode print is.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Is Vasemode Watertight Right Off The Printer?

It is possible to make vasemode waterproof without sealing your part with the right model, slicer settings, and high-quality filament. You should test your vase by filling it with water before leaving the vase full of water for a long period of time.

Typically there are small imperfections in the surface of any vase mode print that will allow water to slowly seep or run out of the print (as shown in the picture below). There are a few ways that you can mitigate how much water escapes but it is extremely difficult to print something that is watertight straight from the printer.

What Infill Should I Use For Vase Mode?

You should use 0% infill for vase mode. The wall is only one layer thick therefore it has no inner cavities to fill. If you have Vase Mode / Spiralize Outer Contour Mode selected the infill setting is irrelevant and will be ignored by the software. 

Setting your software at 100% infill will have the same output as 0% infill. This is something that you really don’t need to worry about. Instead focus on getting your speed and temperatures correct.

Why Are There Blobs In Vase Mode?

Blobs sometimes form in vase mode when your extruder is passing too much filament which is then building up around the nozzle and depositing onto the print as a blob. To fix this try slowing down your machine movement or slowing down your extruder speed in your slicer settings.

Typically, for me, the blobs are so small that I don’t bother trying to get rid of them. Also, they break off pretty easily or I will lightly remove them with a hobby knife.

Is Vase Mode In Cura?

Vase mode is in cura under the “Special Modes” tab. In cura it is called “Spiralize Outer Contour Mode”. Toggle this on to enable vase mode. If you are making a part that has a small perimeter you will want to slow your speed down to allow the material to cool and harden before the next pass.

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