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Case Study: Tools and Techniques for Finishing Resin 3D Prints

Updated: Aug 6


In this blog, I share the finishing tools and techniques I used on resin 3D print of the Hands-free door handle (Coronavirus prevention) by ippe on Thingiverse. You can download the STL of the 3D model here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4225872

Washing

After printing, the print was left on the printer for a day. This allowed ample time for any uncured resin to flow off.

Washed and cured resin 3D print sitting on a removable build plate of a Gizmo 3D Printer.

Next, I removed the print with the removable build plate it sat on from the printer, and placed it upside down inside a sonic cleaner filled with 99% pure Isopropyl alcohol. I left the print in the alcohol bath for 5 minutes.

I then sprayed it clean (removing uncured resin and Isopropyl alcohol) with a compressor.

Curing I then placed it inside a UV curing box and left it there to harden/cure for 24 hours.

If you don't have a UV curing box, you can leave the prints in the sun.

Sometimes you can remove supports easier (when they are still soft) before curing the part. In this case, however, keeping the supports intact for the curing steps meant the supports helped to prevent warping.

Removing supports I used a hobby knife with a flat horizontal edge to carefully slice the supports loose from where they were attached to the print.

I then used a side cutter to roughly cut through the middle of the supports that were already not attached to the print anymore to get the print loose from the build plate faster.


Sanding To get rid of small imperfections that were left behind where the supports attached to the print, I used two sanding tools:

  • 18V ONE+ Ryobi Orbit Sander with a multi surface Fine 240 Grit sanding disc from Flexovit. I pressed the flat areas of the print against the disc to sand away the last bit of the supports that were left behind to get a smooth finish​

  • 18V ONE+ Ryobi Rotary Tool to sand inside the circles or grooves of the print where the Orbit Sander won't fit.

These tools make the sanding process a lot faster than sanding by hand. I made sure to wear safety glasses and a N95 mask while sanding the print. I wiped the dust off of the larger parts of the print after sanding using paper towel dipped in the Isopropyl alcohol.​ To remove dust that had gathered inside the smaller crevices in the print, I used a compressor to blow over it with compressed air (as pictured below). I used an earbud dipped in Isopropyl alcohol where needed.

Filling and painting After removing the part from the UV curing box, I sanded the area I painted and repeated the rest of the steps mentioned above from sanding to curing until I felt the area was smooth enough.

Rookie mistakes to avoid: When smoothing over droplets with a brush, take care that unwanted droplets aren't forming anywhere else. If it does, using a sanding tool to remove it can work.

When you sand, dust particles will form on the print. Don't try to blow them off when your mouth is covered with an N95 mask like I did - it won't work haha

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