Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks for working with 3D printed items

Always examine items and check to see if anything needs to be sanded or removed prior to working.  Some items get printed with supports, if they are not removed, you need to carefully remove them.  Pay close attention to not trim off part of item.  If an item is very tiny and comes on a “stem”, it is highly recommended that you leave the item on the stem while you finish it. 

Sometimes resin gets left behind on prints, you can soak it a soapy solution to try and remove, and then using judgement based on the size of items,  scrub with a small semi-hard bristle brush.  If your going to paint the item, the shiny should not show through after it’s finished, so I just tend to ignore it.

I prefer to paint non-clear items with spray paint.  If I’m not sure what I’m going to paint them, I will lightly spray items with a coat of primer (I prefer Bullseye 123).  When dry I store in my “stock” and then a light coat of color using acrylic paints or markers works great to finish items quickly to match whatever I’m working on.  ALWAYS, no matter what kind of paint you are using, do light coats.  Items are very small and detail can be lost with thick paint. 

Sharpies and alcohol based markers usually work great on 3D items, I still prefer paint in lots of cases though.  Just a personal preference. 

If you want to weather or dirty items, after the paint is dried, use eye shadow and an applicator, this is a great dollar store purchase.  You could also use chalk. 

For clear items, I find a light coat of clear nail polish will turn items from the opaque color they come, into a nice clear.  If you’re interested in items appearing to be filled with liquid, after the clear has dried I find stain pens work great for brown colors (again look for at the dollar store).  You can also use markers and reg. nail polish, just be careful with how thick nail polish can get. 

To remove items from stems, ALWAYS use a new blade on your exacto knife.  You can also use cuticle trimmer, which works really well.   I tend to keep both handy as some items work better with one or the other.  On a cutting mat, hold the item with a finger tip, then starting at the bottom of the stem run the blade up to where it stops, at the base of the item, and cut straight across there.  This way you are holding on to the item so it doesn’t go flying, and you get a straighter cut.  If need be, re trim if you need to get the item to stand on their own.  

I hope some of this helps you to have great results with your 3D printed items.

I’d love to hear from you regarding any tips you may have that I’m not aware of.  The more I work with these items, the more I learn and the easier it gets, also the more my confidence builds, I hope you feel the same way.