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How to Post Process 3D Printed Items

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Now 3D printer technology has gradually penetrated into our lives. For manufacturers, 3D printing can greatly reduce the cost of manufacturing customized products nearly to the cost of mass production. It breaks the barriers of manufacturing customized products. With the continuous upgrading of 3D printer technology, there are more and more different types of materials being used. But when we print some complicated items, we often print additional supporting parts to make sure they’re well printed. Thus, post-processing to remove these parts becomes a must to get the wanted products. How do we do?

  1. Grinding:  as a commonly used polishing method, grinding is necessary for smoothing the surface of 3D printed items. Though 3D printing technology is getting much better and more precise, but we can still see layer-by-layer piling up unsmooth surface on FDM printed items especially when supporting parts are applied while printing. Thus, grinding is required. We can use abrasive papers or professional equipment such as belt sander. Sandpaper grinding is another option being used commonly with lower cost but effective.
  2. Surface sandblasting: This is also a common polishing method. By aiming the nozzle at the item being polished, the machine sprays medium beads at a very high speed and polishes quickly. It’s faster than grinding. Under normal circumstances, the surface can be processed smoothly within 10 minutes with a glossy looking.
  3. Chemical treatment: ABS material can be polished with acetone vapor and PLA can be polished with some special polishing oil. But be aware that acetone is toxic, flammable, explosive, and pungent. Please wear gas mask in a well-ventilated environment while use it.
  4. Vibration polishing: You can also polish 3D printed item with a vibration polishing machine or a centrifuge. The principle is to polish through the collision and friction between the item and the medium caused by vibration.

Recommended reading《How to Use 3D Printer Safely

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