More than half of all enterprises say they are using 3D printing in their production processes. However, most 3D printed objects need some modifications, called post processing, before they can be put into production. These three techniques can improve your 3D printed objects and models.
1. Removing Supports
3D printed objects often have excess material called supports. Removing this excess material through 3D printing post processing can improve the surface quality of objects. Supports can be made of soluble materials, which will dissolve in water or specific chemicals or insoluble materials, which need to be removed by hand or flush cutters. Removing supports is one of the least difficult and most cost-effective techniques and is often the first step before proceeding to other processes.
Sanding can be used to remove marks left behind from support removal or blemishes from the printing process and to improve the overall uniformness and texture of printed objects. Wet sanding techniques are often used to avoid heat buildup from friction. You should begin the process with coarser sandpaper, such as 220 grit, and graduate to a finer sandpaper to achieve a smooth surface. Sanding can make other post processing tasks, such as painting, easier.
Painting your printed objects can drastically affect their appearance and give them a more professional look. The painting should be done after the supports have been removed and the surface has been sanded. You can further improve the quality of your paint job by filling in any gaps in your object before you begin painting.
Hanging your object in an open, dust-free, well-ventilated space, can allow you to paint all of the surfaces, without having to handle the object while the paint is still wet. Beginning with a primer can help fill in any remaining gaps or blemishes, resulting in a smoother finish. Once your object has been primed, you should sand it again. If there are still imperfections, you may need to repeat the priming and sanding process multiple times to remove them.
Once you have finished the priming process and allowed the object to completely dry, you are ready to paint. Be sure to choose a paint that will adhere to the material your object is made from.
Using these three post processing techniques can make your 3D printed models and parts more functional and professional looking. For best results, choose print settings that will make the post production process easier.