Finishing Your Print

The 3D printer cures the resin to a certain level and requires support material to maintain structure during the printing process. This section describes the final stages of the process:

  • Curing the resin to a complete state
  • Removing the support material
  • Sanding away rough points from the support joints

After completing this part of the process, your print will be ready for modifications specific to its purpose, such as painting or metal molding.

What you need

  • UV oven
  • Ultrasonic cutter
  • Tweezers
  • Scraper
  • Needle-nose tweezers
  • Sand paper

More information

Preparation

  • Make sure that you have cleaned and dried your print. For details, see Cleaning and Drying your Print.
  • Get the listed materials together in a well-lit room with a clean work table.
  • Plug in the UV oven and ultrasonic cutter, or have an outlet ready as needed.
  • Ensure that your plastic container is large enough to fully immerse the print.
  • Put on the protective gloves and wear them during every step of this process.

1. Cure the Print in the UV Oven

Place the prints directly onto the plate inside the UV oven. Turn on the oven by pressing the switch on the back of the oven. From the console, start the curing process by pressing buttons as follows:

1. Memory presets Save and load up to three preset times using the A, B, and C buttons.
To save a time, after selecting the time, press and hold the button to save that time to that button, overwriting any previous setting.
To load a time, press the button.
2. Start Press the yellow button to start the oven. The oven will automatically turn off when the time is up.
3. Timer controls Press and hold the arrow buttons to adjust the timer.
Curing a print for three minutes is appropriate for most Ackuray prints.

When the curing finishes, open the oven and pull out the print wearing protective gloves. Check the print for any cracking or color differences, which would suggest that the print has been over-cured and may be unstable. If none are found, the print is ready for the next step.

2. Cut the Supports with the Ultrasonic Cutter

Hold the print securely in one hand or using a gripping device. Turn on the ultrasonic cutter and remove the blade from the sheath. Cut off each support about 1-2 mm away from the touch point on the print. Leave the material attached to the print, and dispose of the material cut off.

Warning

Do not try to cut off entire supports. Cut off each support away from the touch point, leaving a little bit of material attached to the print. If cut too closely, the cutter may mark or damage the print.

Tip

The ultrasonic cutter may not be as fast as other cutting methods, but you do not need to apply force when cutting. Just slowly move the cutter in the direction you want to cut, and it will do the work for you.

3. Remove the Remaining Support Material

After using the ultrasonic cutter, some support touch points should remain. These touch points are usually small and easy to remove, but depending on the type of print you made, there are a number of methods you can use to remove the material.

  • Fingers: Sometimes the support material can be removed by hand. This is especially true if the touch points are small, and the amount of the support that you left was long enough to easily grasp.
  • Tweezers: Use a tweezers for smaller pieces of support material that have barely any touch point remaining. These are especially useful for very small prints, such as with jewelry.
  • Scalpel: For particularly difficult-to-remove supports with large touch points, you may want to use a scalpel to cut them off. You could also use the blade on the ultrasonic cutter with the power turned off. Don’t force the blade too hard when using a scalpel, but rather saw back and forth slowly to minimize potential damage to the print.

Needle-nose pliers: A pair of pliers can greatly help for removing support material that is inside of hollowed-out prints. Put the pliers inside the print using one of the exit holes, and directly grab some of the infill. Gently but firmly pull that infill through that hole. If the print has a honeycomb or triangular infill design, most of the material should come out all at once.

4. Smooth Off Rough Spots and Deformities

Support touch points are usually small enough to leave no noticeable marks or spikes, but with highly-detailed prints, even the smallest deformities must be removed. Moreover, depending on the selected slice thickness, the surface of the print may be rough at some points, particularly where the print is supposed to be round.

In these locations, use sandpaper to make these spots smoother. Ackuretta recommends having multiple sizes of fine-grit sandpaper available, generally ranging from P220 to P360 using the ISO/FEMA grit standard (220 to 500 using the CAMI grit standard).

Grind the larger deformities, such as support spikes, with the coarser (P220, P240, P280) sandpaper first. Then use the finer (P320, P360) sandpaper to finish smoothing those locations, as well as rough spots from print slicing. When you have finished sanding, wipe the locations with a damp tissue to remove any dust.

Make sure to clean your printer and your tools after printing. For detailed steps, see Cleaning the Printer.