Not all 3D printed parts are finished as soon as you pry them from your build plate.
In a lot of cases, there is support to be removed, holes and edges to be cleaned up or trimmed, and a number of minor modifications to be made to get pieces to fit together, or look their best.
Here is a list of some of the tools that will make this job easier, and some that you may have not consider as part of your 3D printing toolkit.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like an obvious tool used for 3D printing.
When it comes to finishing prints, these deburring tools are perfect for removing that thin lip of plastic (also known as the elephant foot) that you get on the bottom layer of prints. It also works really well for cleaning up printed holes, or really any edge that you need to trim.
The tool is essentially a blade on a swivel that can move to the contour of your parts edge.
After small amount of practice, this tool becomes much more accurate and effective than using a razor.
Post-processing your 3D printed parts can require a lot of sanding detail finishing.
A good rotary tool with an array of attachments is a great help when it comes to detailed sanding, or even polishing your parts to a beautiful finish. You can also do some manual milling and boring of holes. 3D Print some fixtures and attachments to turn your rotary tool into a drill press.
You can add an inexpensive set of rotary accessories and you’ll be all set to cut, drill, grind, and polish any of your 3D printed parts..
Another tool that is not so obvious.
A soldering iron is useful in a number of ways. If you’re ever in need to solder connections to your 3D printer’s control board… there you go. Hopefully you won’t need it for that.
A soldering iron can be used to heat metal inserts and melt them in to pilot holes in your finished printed parts. Rather than trying to print threads into a hole, design a hole that will fit metal threaded inserts. Rather than using glue or epoxy, the soldering iron basically lets you heat the insert and use the surrounding plastic for adhesion.
You can also use a soldering iron to meld the plastic parts for “welding” or for creating plastic rivets. More details on using plastic “rivets” HERE
Dental Tool Set
This one did not make our “must have” list, but really is a must have tool set if you do a lot of printing with supports. Particularly if you have a lot of small cavities to clear support from, nothing works better than a good set of dental tools. The small picks and hooks come in handy.
Good bed adhesion usually starts with a clean bed. Rather than pouring IPA from a bottle risking a spill and waste, use one of these pump dispensers. They are inexpensive, convenient, and help conserve your IPA by dispensing just enough to dampen your cloth or wipe. I would also add that if you’re using paper towels for your print bed cleanup, consider switching to paper coffee filters. They are more durable, don’t leave lint, and with a fold or two, they are just the right size.