3D Printing & Imaging
Smoothing Fused Filament Prints

The resolution of RepRap-style fused-filament 3D printers is obviously improving, but even the best hobby-class fused filament printers still have noticeable “grain.” Or, to go someplace I probably shouldn’t, “Rrrrrrreplicators have rrrrrrridges.”

This video from Annelise Jeske of MakerBot TV addresses the heartbreak of ridgy-ness head-on. Personally, my aesthetic has always been that materials should be proud of their origins, so I rather like that my fused-filament objects look like fused-filament objects. But if you don’t and/or if you have an application that demands smooth surfaces, this video teaches the two basic methods of smoothing them out: additive, in which the ledges between the steps are filled in with a plastic compound, and subtractive, in which the steps themselves are abraded away. [via adafruit]

MakerBot TV S02E09 – Finishing Techniques


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan