How do you clean up a 3D printed object?
Sometimes you 3D prints need a bit of love when they come off the printer, this can often be due your print settings, hardware or environment. These tips will help you with cleaning up an preparing your 3D printed terrain, ready for painting and gaming.
When do you need to clean-up 3D prints?
Most prints coming off an FDM / PLA based 3D printer such as the Ender 3 won’t require any clean up, but occasionally you will need to tidy up some of the following issues.
Visible layer lines – Horizontal lines on the sides of your prints can be caused by a number of factors such as poor Filament quality, extrusion inconsistency, change jn temperature, or layer height settings, etc. This can often be resolved by light sanding or the application of filler/primer before painting.
Stringing – Looking like cobwebs as thin, fibrous Filament between vertical sections of the print. String is usually caused by incorrect retraction settings or excessive heat. Strings can be picked off by hand removed with a heat gun or cigarette lighter.
Sagging Filament om overhangs – Drooping Filament on overhangs can be caused by improper slicer settings and hardware calibration. These unwanted imperfections in the print can usually be removed with a sharp knife.
Bobbling -Bumps and zits on your 3D print can be caused by a number of reasons such as speed settings, temperature, retraction, etc but
Removing supports – A good 3D printed terrain piece (such as those from Saucermen Studios) will be designed to print without the need for supports, but occasionally you will need to use them in your print to avoid overhangs falling. 3D printed supports can usually be snipped off with clippers, cleaned up with a sharp knife and sanded with fine grain sandpaper.
3D print cleanup tools
There’s a few tools that can help clean up 3D printed terrain
Sharp knife – Used precisely to tidy up stray imperfections, drooping filament at overhangs and and other rogue issues.
Heat gun or lighter – Used sparingly to tighten up loose filament stands or disintegrate thin stringing. Don’t go overboard with your heating, it’s easy to warp models or burn areas if done too hot or close.
Fine grain sandpaper – Reducing layer lines with sandpaper is an option if they are bothering you but be careful not to remove other features as you sand. When sanding, always start with a courser grit and work your way to a very fine, clean finish.
Snippers & needle nose pliers – Precision clippers (like the blue ones that come with a Creality printer) are great for snipping off unwanted imperfections on a 3D print and needle nose pliers can be used to accurately pull away stray bits too.
Filler Primer & putty – Automotive filler primer or spot putty is a great option for reducing layer lines when sprayed on or patching any holes you discover. Spray thin, from a distance and wait for multiple coats! Sand if required.