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Post-Processing of FDM 3D Prints

by Nice Rapid | Jun 30,2021 | FDM 3D Printing

FDM 3D printers of turning your concepts and designs into a physical product that you can see and touch. But sometimes just like every product made with a machine, they may not come out as intended in the specifications; they might be rough or not be of the right color.

In other instances, you might want your product to be of a solid and perfect build especially if you are looking for investors. Well, if that the case; the perfect solution is post-processing which proves crucial. In this post, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about post-processing.

FDM 3d printing products

Instances which post-processing might be helpful:

  • Hiding/reducing all the layer lines
  • Smoothing all the rough areas and bumps from supportive removal as well as printing issues which arises
  • Completely changing the color of a part or product
  • Enhancing its mechanical features
  • Removing all the discolorations
  • Part joining

Common finishing services of FDM 3D printing  

Sanding

Sanding is probably the simplest techniques of smoothening a part or print, all you just need to have is sandpaper with 0100 to 400 grit this is dependent on the bumpiness of your print. If the print setting has not been dialed in correctly, you’ll have blobs or zits on your prints.

Sanding does a pretty good job when it comes to the removal of all imperfections, it also reduces the prominence of all the layer lines.

It’s always recommended to wet sand all of your printed parts and products for three key reasons.

Sanding mostly depend on friction, this most likely generates heat which can warp or discolor your prints. Using a little bit of oil or water will minimize this.

  • It’s easy to scratch plastic and wet sanding minimizes the risk.
  • Most of the smaller particles created during sanding are dangerous when it's breathed in, when you use wet sanding most of these particles binds with liquid component keeping the surrounding air free from them.  

Painting

If you want to style your 3D printed parts that look neat and professional, painting conceals all of the layer lines which makes all the printed parts seem like injected molded. The painting process is quite simple but repetitive.

Painting has five basic steps:

  • Smoothening out every blemish that comes with sanding
  • Cleaning out of all the parts will rubbing alcohol and gluing all these parts together
  • Using products such as Bondo which fills the seams and gaps and then it's sand smooth
  • Spraying with the aerosol primer filler and then its sanded; to get the best results its recommended to repeat the process a few more times
  • Spray with your desired color aerosol paint that you like; its recommended to use three or more coats for best results

You can also add a film of clear coat that will protect your paint job as well giving it a polished shine. This actually makes it quite easy to carry out polishing using all the buffing tools that you have.

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