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Post Processing

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Introduction

Once you have completed the print, you will probably have to do a bit of post processing to clean up the print. For FDM, post processing options and techniques can differ for each filament type. For resin printing there are also certain steps required before the print is even ready.

FDM

Burn off 'hairs'

Applies to: PETG, PLA, ABS

Description: Retractions can leave very thin strands of filament on the outside of the model. If the model does not have tiny details you can burn off the hair-like strands with a heat gun or with the flames of a gas stove. You only need to apply the heat for a very short amount of time.

Solvent smoothing

Applies to: ABS, HIPS (possibly others)

Description: Some plactic types can be smoothed using a solvent. The most well known example is the use of acetone on a print made with ABS plastic. The solvent used should of course work with the plastic. Please be mindful of the fact that many solvents are dangerous to work with. Always take precautions to ensure a safe working environment when using solvents.

Joining Parts

  • This article explores the effectiveness of various glues on PLA
  • Tamiya Airbrush cleaner welds PETG
  • E6000 will attach ABS to TPU

Gap-filling

  • Automotive or wood fillers can be used to close up gaps and seams, as can super glue
  • Tamiya Putty can be used to fill gaps and smooth prints and appears to gunk up sandpaper less than filler primer.

Sanding

For more thorough refinement of the model you can try sanding. Sanding is something which takes time. Use of powertools is best done with caution and restraint, as it is very easy to overshoot the desired results, it's best to hand-sand. Start with around 50-100 grit and work up to roughly 400 grit, 1000 for very finished parts.

Priming and painting

Acrylic primers generally work well. Rustoleum make a good filler primer, that makes the sanding process easier. Likewise acrylic paints work well. The general process is to sand first then filler primer 2 coats sand again repeat until desired finish is obtained then paint.

Metal Appearance

  • Gilding wax can be used (and made)

Resin

Curing

Applies to: All resins

Description: All resins need curing to finish the print. There are several ways of doing this, and the method depends on the resin used. (e.g. which wavelength they harden at) Curing can be done with a lamp or in a curing station.

Resources