Author Options:

Smoothing out the rough surface on 3D print? Answered

Hello everyone.

My name is Thomas and I am very new to this 3D scene but still very glad to be here. I would like an input from everyone about something. Recently I purchased MakerBot printer and printed something simple. At first glance I was amazed by the finished product. I'm sure you've felt the same way. But on a closer observation and physically picking up the object, I realized that the outer surface was rough (or more like layered). Now my question is what is your solution to this rough surface? I tried sanding to smooth it out. But I'm pretty sure there's a much starter way to tackle this problem.

Thank you have let's make something!



5 years ago

Always a problem. Some fill the surface some dip in a slovent to melt the ridges back - Depends on your material and preferance.


Answer 5 years ago

thank you for your reply i am looking for smoothing out PLA. unfortunately the comments on the article tell me that this method is not totally unharmful. please feel free to share if you discover something else :)


Answer 5 years ago

If I come across anything else I will but really you only have 3 choices

1. Fill the surface

2. Abrade the surface back to a smooth line

3 Chemically soften and reduce the surface lines. There will be some change in dimensions and in finish for all methods.

This is one of the pitfalls of the cheaper end of 3D printing - That and the relatively slow speed - After looking hard into the technology whilst a teacher I decided that use of jigs for repetitive hand work and CNC machinery was a far better output and in the end was going to be faster UNLESS you paid £1000's for a machine.

Jigs and templates are a sadly now neglected area of making that has stood craftsmen in good stead for centuries. For those with poor hand skills and or a lack of time to gain then then CNC is a really good alternative. A laser cutter is able to cut STL files out of thin material that when reformed worked to produce a 3D object much faster than it can be printed. We even produced prototypes in paper and thin card to check the design. Often, when sanded and painted, these were indistinguishable for the finished product.