Not really. Just a bit of patience and a bit of a Zen attitude. For instance, the actual polishing and/or sanding is something that can be done while reading articles on the interwebby or whatnot. It does not take much strength because you are not trying to grind anything, just knock off the high points.
nzo don't get discouraged because you think a project will be a lot of work. I find that simply spray painting on some automotive primer followed by your favorite color may not be as good as kman's work but you will still likely be pretty happy with it. In other words you can put a small amount of work or a large amount of work and it will make a difference but you will still be glad you did it. So just do it. "shoot first and then..." - I mean just try it - spray paint some model with primer and then a color coat and then maybe even a clear coat.
Or if you are patient do the sanding/filling as well.
nzo acetoning your colorfabb PLA prints and then sticking to 240 grade sandpaper is all I do, but can achieve a very smooth finish. And now I've dug up my airbrush a nice coat is much easier than before! brushing on paint can get tricky if you want it smooth, however i don't have much experience in flake paint and gloss coats. I try not to spent more than 5-30 minutes sanding btw if i need more I will generally try to print the model again or give up. As a perfectionist I have nightmares about sanding, especially filling up holes and cracks that I keep seeing the edges of after filling and sanding.
Unfortunately quality costs both time and money!
If anyone could recommend a product i could use in an airbrush as a clear coat it would be appreciated! Im always up for trying something new!
Not everything has to be done as the examples I showed. I just wanted to show what could be done. But, many of my 3D prints have not gone that far yet. Many of them, I am capitalizing on the actual printing 'artifacts' in the work I am exploring for the most part. An example of that would be "Julia's Dragon" in which it does not matter to me about the actual surface 'print' lines since it is fractal in nature anyway.
And, cloakfiend is doing some work that I am following very closely in exactly the endeavor to minimize post processing. Most of his work just blows me away.
And, not all things have to be really worked on if using the right concept and paints. For instance, here is a print I am finishing up. While not finished, it does show how you can get by with minimal work.
Very little sanding and actually used no primer on it since the Krylon paints have a 'bite into the plastics' because of its chemical composition. The Chrome does take a while to dry because it does have to be piled up to get anywhere near a chrome effect.
Does it look chrome? Not really, but, close enough. I have not posted these because I want to do some washes to age it and bring out details.
Links to the paints I used:
I would not polish a stone wall that needs to be pitted and rough though and many times have to dial back the shine and such. Cars and stuff, yeah, that wet look is nice because, well, that is what a show vehicle would look like. But a tank, fighter plane or other things would not be done the same way at all.