Finish Kit Tips and Tricks

Aug. 18, 2016 in News

The Formlabs Finish Kit includes tools to easily, effectively give 3D-printed parts a professional finish. Watch the video below to learn more about the Finish Kit, and read on for some simple tips and tricks for creating beautiful prints, including expert advice from digital sculptor and 3D printing artist Robert Vignone.

Download the Sharkasaurus Rex model on Pinshape.

Removing the Build Platform

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Removing the build platform is simple, but always leave in the Resin Tank when removing the platform to protect the glass underneath.

Tip: When possible, let the print dry on the platform for a few hours before removing to avoid drips.

Removing the Part

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PreForm automatically generates raised indents, or “quick release tabs,” at the base of any print for easy part removal. Push the Removal Tool under the tabs at the print’s base and gently twist the tool while pushing it further under the part for clean removal.

Tip: Alternatively, use the Flush Cutters to snip off quick release tabs.

The Scraper can also help remove parts from the build platform, and be used for cleaning the bottom of your Resin Tank.

IPA Rinse

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The Finish Kit includes two Rise Buckets for removing remaining uncured resin from the surface of 3D-printed parts.

We recommend using one bucket for clean and one for used isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Once the used bucket needs changing (parts may start to come out sticky), it can be replaced with fresh IPA and the clean bucket can be shuffled into the used slot.

Tip: If you have the resources, use different Rinse Buckets to separate prints created with Tough and Black Resin from the lighter colors. This will help prevent used IPA from staining lighter resins.

Once in the bath, agitate the part for 30-60 seconds. Then rinse in each bucket for 10 minutes (20 minutes total). It can help to soak larger prints for more time, and very small or very thin prints for less. Be careful not to soak too long, though, as this will cause the resin to soften.

Tip: Make sure the rinse basket is in the up position when placing parts into the IPA baths to avoid a splash.

“For hollow models, like the Sharkasaurus Rex, resin can get trapped inside during printing,” Vignone said. “When rinsing, let the IPA go inside the model and give it a few swishes to remove that excess resin.”

When designing hollow models, Vignone includes ventilation holes for drainage after rinse, and to reduce the risk of pressure build up/blow out during the 3D printing process.

Removing Supports

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For some prints, it is possible to simply peel off the supports. For others that are more complicated or fragile, use the Flush Cutters to snip off support towers as close as possible to the model. Supports for Tough and Flexible Resins usually require the Flush Cutters.

Tip: It may sometimes be necessary to snip away some of the other support towers in order to get at ones further in. Breaking the support base into sections can also help (if doing so will not break your part during the process).

Extras

Outside of the Finish Kit, a few additional tools and methods can help prints shine:

Smoothing Support Marks

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Sand off support marks from a print to ensure a smooth finish. Start at a lower (coarser) grit like 400, then work your way up to 600 or even 1,000 grit.

“Sometimes it can be hard to see where supports made contact on a print, especially for White and Clear Resin,” Vignone said. “A quick primer spray over a model makes support marks very bright. You can instantly tell where marks are and sand them off.”

Tip: Nail files are also great for smoothing a print’s surface. Epoxy putty can be used to fill in ventilation/drainage holes, or use uncured resin and a 405nm laser pointer.

Post-Curing
Post-curing under UV light helps parts to reach their highest possible strength and stability. This last step is optional for Standard Resins, but highly recommended for Functional Resins.

Learn How to Post-Cure 3D Prints

Visit our support pages for more information on the Finish Kit and share your own tips in the forums.

Continue on to painting tutorials to bring your finished print to life.

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