Vacuum. Source: Ilona Baha/Shutterstock.com
Vacuum. Source: Ilona Baha/Shutterstock.com

The ZPrinter® 650 and ProJet®660Pro 3D printers create parts made from a sandstone-like material. The parts are fragile and are best used for display items and decorative prints. These printers come with a post-processing kit that includes paint brushes, tooth brushes and pipe cleaners.

Here are the post-processing methods that WhiteClouds uses on our 3D printed parts from the Zprinter® and the ProJet®.

Vacuuming the Powder on the Build Tray

When a build is completed on our color printers, we are left with a bed of powder. We use a vacuum with various attachments to locate and remove excess powder from around each model.

When the parts are removed from the bed, they are very fragile and much care is needed to remove the models without damaging them.

Once the model is removed from the bed, it is placed in the cleaning bay attached to the printer where we use an adjustable air gun to gently blow away any powder that may be left on the model. The cleaning bay has an adjustable air pressure hose and grated base so that the extra powder that comes off the part goes back into the machine and a cover to make sure the powder doesn’t blow everywhere.

Cleaning the Part with Tools

When the powder is blown off, we use dental picks and other various tools to clean out all of the little cracks, divots, and corners. Using stiff brushes included with the printers, we gently smooth the surface of the model which brings the vibrant colors to the surface.

Permeating the Part with Glue

After the part is cleaned, we put on gloves, hold the part over a container, and cover it in liquid similar to super glue. The glue causes the model to heat up as it hardens, creating a sandstone-like finish. The glue can be brushed on, dripped on, or the model can be fully submerged.

Applying the glue can be more difficult than it sounds. You have to put enough that it infiltrates the whole model, but not too much because then you get shiny patches throughout. Waiting for it to dry is the last step and you need to be careful to make sure you don’t let it sit too long or it will stick to anything it can.

The 3D print is then finished and ready to go.