Post processing tools

its probably the wrong description but im wonderig if there are any recommended tools for cleaning up 3d prints particularly the base surface or where random support material has been created.

I thinking of tools such as a soldering irons with a variety of shaped blades …

hot enough to smooth the offending flaw …

or is it too difficult in reality?

Sandpaper and an exacto knife are my toolkit. Also pliers or forceps for the larger pieces.

1 Like

As a final step you could try a vapor bath (aka vapor smoothing). Acetone works for ABS, and Ethyl Acetate has been mentioned for PLA, though is not as effective as far as I know. Be sure you do this in a very well ventilated area though, you don’t want to be constantly breathing in these fumes if you can avoid it.

This is more for finishing touches and final smoothing rather than removing large bits, sanding and scraping as suggested by Brent should be done first to take care of that.

Oh yea, I do occasionally do a dip in a PLA solvent for smoothing. There are several out there, the one I use is not particularly health friendly (dichloromethane). I think THF might be better, and I think there’s other options as well, maybe acetate is the preferred method now.

thanks for pointers

had nt really thought about solvents but probably not advisable I guess

In addition to the pliers, cutters, and sandpaper, I have a set of small jeweler’s files that I’ve found intermittently useful for print cleanup.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried PVB (sometimes sold under the brand name Polysmooth) on the Snapmaker2 yet? It polishes with rubbing alcohol, and supposedly has printing characteristics similar to PLA.

Some other post processing tools I’ve used (in addition to the tools above):
Bondo (takes a bit to dry)
SLA (uv) resin to get a smooth finish (basically instant curing using a uv light)
SLA (uv) resin mixed with talcom powder for filling print holes
Spray filler/primer
Spray resin
Spray paint

As an example, this is a print I did a few coats of spray filler, sanded down, painted with spray paint, then coated with spray resin:

1 Like

Oh, forgot to mention this, but don’t use a heat gun on prints to fix things (it’s fine to just take off wispy PETG strands, but don’t try to e.g. smooth out a rough patch w/ it). I keep tricking myself into thinking it might work, and I always end up over melting my print.