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An Insight into Post-Processing ABS and PLA 3D prints

An Insight into Post-Processing ABS and PLA 3D prints

If you are a 3D printing enthusiast, you must be aware of the fact that 3D prints aren’t ready-to-go. They need some time to set in the shape. In most cases, if you are too eager to remove the final print from the platform, you might end up leaving uneven dents on the print. This occurs due to the fact that the filament hasn’t yet settled into its form. Today, some of the most popular 3D printing filaments include ABS and PLA. Given their versatility and unique printing features, both ABS filament as well as PLA filament are popular among 3D print enthusiasts as well as commercial crafters.

To help you avoid any uneven dents on the surface, in this blog post, we will share some amazing tips. These tips will help you avoid the struggles of removing the support or fly-away objects. So, without any delay, let’s jump into it.

Quick Post-Processing Tips for ABS and PLA Filament

1-Minimize the Supports:

The very first step when it comes to handling the supports actually begins way before the start of the printing process. These changes need to be done within the slicer software. How can we do that? Whenever you are setting the slicer as per your requirement for print orientation, pay proper attention to the parts that need maximum support. Now, try and include minimal support for the same. Your prime goal is the minimization of supports added to the print.

However, you need to be sure that these additional supports in no way affect your print or distort them. Find the perfect balance for the support that can be removed safely. This will help reduce the amount of work you have to do after the post-processing is done with the ABS filament or the PLA one.

2-Assess the Material:

The entire post-processing method depends majorly on the material being used for the 3D print. So, the next step in easing the after-print process is to determine the quality of the material you have chosen. This particular thing helps you assess the overall time required to help the 3D print set in its form properly. Now, you have purchased an ABS filament from one place that doesn’t mean that the one you bought from the store next to it will be the same. Even if they fall under the same category, the quality can drastically differ.

In such cases, it is advised that after you have tried out various shops, you should stick to the one that provides you the highest quality at affordable prices. This will help you maintain a single time-frame for all your prints.

3-Keep in Mind the Safety Precautions:

Even though the filaments are rendered safe for use in the home environment, it certainly houses chemicals that make the prints smooth and shiny. This is why you need to be careful when working with the chemical-based filaments for 3D printing. Regardless of whether you use ABS filament, PLA filament, or any other variant, there will be a certain amount of chemical present within. Whenever using the filaments, you need to use a durable glove and get the printing done in an area that is well-ventilated.

Additionally, you need to ensure that the gloves you use are non-latex as the THF can eat through the latex gloves. You can replace your latex gloves with neoprene or nitrile gloves.

4-Post Processing with ABS Filament:

The best and the most effective way to smoothen the ABS filament is to use the same with the acetone vapor.

You will need:

  • Acetone
  • Paper Towels
  • Sealable Container
  • Tin Foil

How to smoothen/polish your prints with ABS filament?

  • Remove any of the excess material left off after the 3D printing is done
  • Place some paper towels on all 4 sides of the plastic container
  • Remember to get this task done in an area that is well-ventilated
  • Sprinkle some acetone towards the bottom half of the container
  • Now, cover the container’s bottom part with a tin foil
  • Place the 3D print inside the container & allow the same to settle for hours
  • Remove the print from the container and let the acetone to vaporize off the final object
  • Now, put up the 3D print in a place you desire

5-Post Processing with PLA Filament:

For the PLA filament 3D prints, hand polishing done with the help of THF or Tetrahydrofuran is the best option. While the acetone option works perfectly with ABS filament, the THF works amazingly with the PLA filament-based prints.

You will need:

  • Non-Latex Gloves
  • THF or Tetrahydrofuran
  • A non-dyed, lint-free polishing cloth

How to polish/smoothen the prints with PLA filament?

  • Remove the excess material from the 3D print created from PLA filament
  • Put on the non-latex hand gloves & bring the polishing cloth
  • Be in an area that is well-ventilated
  • Dip the polishing cloth in the THF & polish the print just as you would a shoe
  • Use a circular motion for the best results
  • Let the print sit at a place and allow the extra THF to evaporate
  • Put up the final smoothened piece in an area of your choice

Conclusion

Whether you choose the ABS filament or the PLA option, both come with their own set of pros and cons. However, if you consider the factors such as biodegradability, printed prototypes, material properties, toxicity, and so on, you can surely land on the perfect 3D print. Use it for commercial or personal use; these materials surely help you acquire the best and smooth 3D print. Looking for the best quality 3D printing filaments for your commercial or crafting needs? Try out the range of filaments provided at MakeShaper. We house everything from ABS filament to NYLON filaments for your unique printing needs. All our filaments have been affordably priced without any quality compromise. So, scroll through our collection and purchase your filament today!

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