One of our biggest gripes about 3D printing is that your finished print invariably ends up looking, well… a bit 3D printed. Sometimes that’s fine, but other times it’s not. Here are our top tips on how to finish 3D prints, condensed into one lovely infographic for you.
Finishing 3D printed parts is all well and good, but the best cure is prevention. So we’ll cover getting your prints looking as nice as possible straight from the bed, and then how to smooth 3D prints with post processing.
First, we talk about setting up your printer to get the absolute best results from it. Nearly any printer can improve a smooth to some degree, although naturally you’ll get better prints from a £2000 printer than a £200 printer. The better finish 3D printed parts you get from your printer, the less work you’ll have on how to clean up 3D prints afterwards.
Then we explain what to look out for with your materials: how to check they’re still good, and how to spot a filament-related finish quality issue.
Want to know how to smooth out 3D prints? Start with a really good quality filament. Good quality filament will look nicer straight from the printer and when sanding 3D prints will come up much nicer and more easily.
Finally, we review our favourite post-print finishing techniques to get that really special finish, giving your prints a quality, mass-produced feel to them. We cover painting 3D printed parts, painting PLA and generally cleaning up 3D prints.
Whether you print for your own business, want to impress your nephew with some shinier toys, or you’re just working on a promotion – we’ve got your back. There are many ways to smoothing 3D prints.
Let us know what you think of these tips to finish 3D printed parts in the comments below. We have more details on these tips on various sections of the site. You can read up on sanding and smoothing PLA prints here.