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  • Writer's pictureM Aerospace RTC

How To Smooth Your 3D Prints

Have you been trying to figure out how to smooth your 3D prints? Do you find your 3D printer layers not looking smooth? It's likely that you're dealing with PLA, as it is the most common FDM 3D printing material and not to worry, smoothing PLA prints is easy when you have the perfect guide and right materials! Here are some of the ways to create smooth, "finished" 3D prints.

1. Remove Excess Material

If your print has some excess material, try using a utility knife or rotary multitool to get rid of those unwanted edges to be able to properly finish your print. When using these tools make sure not to use excessive pressure in the risk of removing too much of the material, which would end up damaging your print.

2. Sanding

3D print sanding is easily one of the most accessible ways to smooth out your prints. There are many different ways to approach sanding PLA prints. If your print is larger with more surface area, you can use a sanding block or try sandblasting your 3D prints. However, if your print is smaller with many little details, you should consider using loose sheets or even nail files you have at home! At the end of your smoothing process, try wet sanding your 3D prints to get that sleek, polished look.

3. Surface Melting

Smoothing PLA with heat is possible, although PLA is not particularly considered "heat-resistant". You can smooth PLA with a heat gun to achieve a smoother finish to your 3D prints. You don’t want to overheat your print, so make sure to set the heat gun to the lowest setting and start smoothing from there!

4. Surface Coating

Adding an extra surface of coating to your 3D prints is a great way to limit the appearance in texture and an easy way of how to get rid of 3D print lines! Two common materials used for surface coating are primer and epoxy. Coating your prints is going to be more time-consuming, but most of the time, both common methods give you a clean, sleeker look than sanding.

5. Chemical Smoothing

PLA acetone smoothing isn't an option, as the nature of the PLA material doesn't work well with the acetone chemicals, however there is another option. Polymaker Polysmooth is composed of a material that closely resembles PLA, so this chemical can be used to smooth PLA prints. To purchase the Polymaker kit is expensive, but it might be worth it if you have a lot of smoothing projects coming up!

Now you have all the information you need on how to make your 3D prints smooth! Try out one (or all) of these methods on your next 3D print that comes out textured and wait to be amazed at the wonders these methods do for your prints!

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