A comprehensive collection of 3D printing tricks – Part 4

This part of the series discusses what happens when your print is done. Believe it or not but you’re not safe yet! There’s still a few things that can go wrong, even after your print finished successfully and this article addresses them.

Removing the printed parts, cooling, reworking

Once the printer finished moving, it’s time to remove the printed parts. If you have a heated bed, let it cool down a bit before removing the printed parts, especially if they are large. When you’re not in a hurry, let it cool down to room temperature before removing the parts.

This ensures that the parts cool evenly and won’t warp while cooling. ABS is especially prone to warping, even while cooling. PLA, as well as PETG, can remain malleable while they are still warm. PLA is especially flexible, so remove parts printed with PLA carefully when they are still warm.

Some methods of sticking, especially the glue stick method, could make it hard to remove the printed parts because they adhere to the printbed too well. If that’s the case, I recommend to let it cool to room temperature before attempting to remove the printed parts. Usually, this will make the parts become loose and they sometimes even detach from the bed on their own. If you try to force it and pull on the part too aggressively, it might get damaged. I sometimes use a plastic spatula to remove the parts from the bed. I don’t recommend using knifes or metal spatulas as they could damage the print bed.

Once you removed your parts, it’s time to rework them! Holes usually shrink while the part cools so you might need to use a drill to widen them. You can use common woodworking tools to rework your parts. I sometimes use a sharp knife and sandpaper to take off edges. But make sure not to breathe in the dust.

Summary

Let the printed parts cool before you remove them from the print bed. It can sometimes take hours to print a part so you should definitely not rush it when it comes to removing it. If they are stuck to the print bed, try using a soft plastic tool to remove them.

You can rework printed parts with common wood working tools, just make sure not to breathe in the dust.

Table of contents

Part 1 – Basics, Maintenance and Cleaning
Part 2 – 3D modelling, slicing, and printing software
Part 3 – Choice of material, layer adhesion, and warping
Part 4 – Removing the printed parts (You are here)
Part 5 – Short summary and cheat sheet

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