How to Smooth 3D Prints

Whether you’ve just recently gotten yourself involved in the world of 3D printing, or you’ve got your own 3D printing business and you’re looking to take all of your designs to the next level, then you might currently be wondering how to effectively smooth all of your 3D prints.

Generally speaking, there’s nothing technically wrong with deciding to leave that distinctive 3D print texture as it is, although most people prefer a more professional finish – especially if they’re a hobbyist that likes to have their pieces on show, or a business owner who wants to make sure that their customers are totally happy.

Even though there are a variety of different types of 3D printing material out there to use, the most common type of 3D printing material is prone to having a slightly rough and bumpy texture that will often require sanding or buffing – and this is where we come in to lend you a helping hand.

In this article today, we are going to be talking you through a variety of different ways that you can effectively smooth and buff all of your 3D printer designs. First off, we’ll start by talking you through some of the most basic methods that you can use to smooth your 3D prints, as well as some alternative options to achieving a professionally smooth finish. So, whenever you’re ready, let’s jump right in.

How to Smooth 3D Prints?

Method One: Smooth your 3D Prints with a Craft Knife

Kicking this article off, we are first going to be talking you through the most simple way that you can effectively smooth out your 3D prints – and this is by smoothing out your 3D prints by getting rid of all of the excess material across the surface of your 3D print models.

This will often be due to the way that it has been layered, and can even sometimes have excess material across the areas of the print that have been given a support while it is being printed to prevent it from becoming unstable.

One of the simplest ways that you can achieve this is by smoothing out your 3D prints with a craft knife.

With a craft knife, you will be able to easily cut away any excess material across the surface of your 3D prints, and will be able to effortlessly (and seamlessly) tidy up the surface of all your 3D prints in order to smooth it out and make it appear more presentable. If you’re currently in need of a recommendation, then we highly suggest that you check out the WORKPRO Folding Utility Knife.

Sold in a set of three, this utility knife features a super sharp blade that will be thin enough to effortlessly tidy up the surface of your 3D prints, while its ergonomic handle will ensure that you can enjoy optimal precision and grip.

Method Two: Smooth Your 3D Prints with a Rotary Tool

If you find that a utility knife is not going to be enough to smooth out your 3D prints or you would simply like an alternative option, then you might be interested in trying out the rotary tool method. Most commonly used by hobbyists and business owners, rotary multitools are an awesome tool for smoothing out your 3D prints as they provide more versatility than a utility knife can.

If you are interested in trying out smoothing your 3D prints with a rotary tool, then it is important to keep in mind that you will need to follow a specific technique to ensure that your 3D prints do not become damaged.

While using it, you will need to make sure that you aren’t applying too much pressure or keeping the tool in one spot for too long as this will cause your 3D prints to become damaged. Instead, you will need to move your rotary tool over the surface of your 3D prints in a gliding motion until all areas have been smoothed.

Once you get the hang of using a rotary tool, you will be able to ensure a professionally smooth result, while also providing you with the opportunity to smooth all of the trickier spots that a utility knife wouldn’t be able to get to.

Method Three: Smooth Your 3D Prints with Sandpaper

Last but certainly not least, another great way that you can smooth out your 3D prints is by using sandpaper! Sanding is a super effective way to quickly and effortlessly smooth out the surface of your 3D prints, and the best part?

It is also one of the most affordable ways to smooth out your 3D prints too – so it’s a great option for those who are on a budget, or for those who have never tried smoothing their 3D prints before and want to start off slow before making a bigger investment.

In order to effectively smooth out your 3D prints using sandpaper, all you will need to do is take your sandpaper (this is a great one) and gently buff over the surface of your 3D prints in order to take away all of the excess material that is causing your 3D prints to have a rough, bumpy texture.

Besides using sandpaper, for those harder to reach areas that a piece or block of sandpaper wouldn’t be able to get to, you could alternatively opt to use nail files, as nail files have a near-identical texture to sandpaper and will be able to buff away texture in those trickier places.

As a side note, one of the best things about using sandpaper to smooth out your 3D prints is that this method can be used by itself or in conjunction with your utility knife or rotary knife as a final finishing touch.

Simply use your main smoothing tool (such as a rotary multitool) to take away the majority of the excess material, and then finish up by buffing away any leftover spots with your nail file of choice.

Final Thoughts

So, there we have it! After reading through this article, we’re hoping that you now have a much better understanding of the different ways that you can effectively smooth out your bumpy 3D prints and achieve a professional finish each and every time. Why not give this page a bookmark?

If you ever find yourself wanting to brush up your knowledge on how to smooth your 3D prints – you’ll know exactly where to find us. Thank you for reading!

Michael Moore
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