Orange Tree 3.1 3.5

After I created Orange Tree 3.0 I wanted to create some variations to explore print color, textures, and different finishing techniques. These experiments were useful in understanding what you could possibly do after an object is printed. This will likely be the last time I use the Orange Tree template unless someone requests a new one. (I do take requests) These are going up for sale, so feel free to inquire They will be cheap, likely 20 -40 dollars and have a custom printed hanger in the back that lists their name. All models were printed using regular PLA on my MakerBot 5th Gen.

Orange Tree 3.1

This was my first and likely messiest variant. This was printed using the neutral uncolored filament. After some cleanup I coated the model using a commercial all-purpose paint sealer with heavy gloss. I wanted to paint this thing like a texture painting, so I dug up my acrylics and mixed them with modeling paste and tried to paint a scene. I hated the result. I couldn’t just rip the paint off so I re-covered the painting with another layer of sealer and was close to scrapping it. After some consideration, I decided to retry the experiment this time exploiting the textures by using an airbrush at various angles to capture and create some interesting color combinations. As for the outlines I chose a paint that had some refractory properties which I felt enhanced the lines and added a nice glossy shimmer.

Orange Tree 3.2

3.2 is the last to be printed in neutral with the commercial sealer. After my disaster with the texture paint I decided to only use the airbrush and use warm colors. For the outlines I used a brass paint which adds a nice shimmer which the camera didn’t quite capture. Overall, I thought it was nice; however, the little lines that appear to the left of the trunk were annoying me. No matter how much I sprayed them they would not disappear. I resigned myself to keep them and to start using proper 3D printing finishing products for the remaining prints.

Orange Tree 3.3

Printed in all black, my first inclination was to create an inverted version of 3.0 and paint the outlines in white. I coated the piece using a 3D print finishing product called XTC-3D which does a great job of sealing up the little print treads and creates a nice glossy finish, or if you chose can be sanded and makes a great painting surface. When I was out purchasing the shimmering paints for 3.1 and 3.2, I came across a bottle of glow in the dark paint and decided to try that instead. Initially I thought it was a little gimmicky; however, after getting enough layers on the piece and taking some photos in the dark I really enjoyed the effect.

Orange Tree 3.4 and 3.5

Both are pieces that were finished using the XTC-3D; however, they were not painted. For these two, I wanted to see the effect of having the print medium be the color instead of using paint. Black and white and the inversion of the 2 seemed like a nice start, when the printer reached the layers of the outlines, I simply swapped the color of the PLA. Unfortunately, the MakerBot slicer doesn’t have the commands to tell it to pause at a certain point of the print; consequently, you must keep an eye on the printer and swap the colored PLA manually. For future prints, I may consider getting a printer with dual or triple heads, although I do like having the outline color be a separate and more pronounced layer.


I enjoyed this experiment; however, I am tired of the Orange Tree topic and looking forward to different and more complex designs. Here are my lessons learned:

·        Use 3D print finisher on all prints, the regular commercial sealer/paints are a terrible medium to paint over.

·        Incorporate the hanging mechanism within the print or purposely create and indentation to house the unit. When Gorilla glue says their product expands three times its size, they are not kidding.

·        Create a proper setup for taking photographs with appropriate lighting. I’m spending too much time trying to create shots and cleaning up in Photoshop afterwards.