Post-Processing & Finishing

FDM Printing will often result in artefacts such as scarring and layer lines. Post processing is recommended to achieve a finished final model.

Post Processing Methods

Post-processing refers to a series of procedures which can be applied to prints after they have been printed to achieve better results. As FDM printing is the result of melted layers of thermoplastic (PLA) printed upon each other, layer lines are often visible on the exterior shells of models.

Scarring from supports, and an uneven finish on the raft surface are other elements which will need to be post-processed to achieve a high quality model.

There are four post processing methods that are covered in this section. Click on them to learn more.

pageNo Sanding MethodpageSanding MethodpageEpoxy MethodpageFillers Method

Other Post Processing Methods

Apart from finishing your 3D prints to look nice, there are several other post processing methods that you can employ with your 3D prints. These involve glueing, moulding and vacuum forming.


Superglue (such as BSI adhesives) and 2-part epoxies are the best types of adhesive to use on 3d-printed PLA parts.


3d-Printed parts can be used as masters, positives and negatives for castings or moulding. Like many casting processes, moulding using 3d-printed parts can be a time-consuming process that requires some trial and error until you receive the desired outcome.

We have a page detailing the process of using 3D prints as a mould/sacrifical mould. Click on it to learn more.

Vacuum Forming

PLA prints can be used as vacuum form moulds with relative success and little deformation. Whilst this is an acceptable method to get moulds of various objects and forms, it is important to keep in mind that the accuracy of the resulting vacuum formed moulds is not very high.

If you are constructing moulds for assembly or if you are working with tight tolerances, you will find that vacuum forming will not be the best process to go through. However, it is a good method for getting quick moulds of forms and volumes which you can post-process.

Making your Prints Watertight WIP

Having watertight prints is crucial for particular jobs, specifically where your parts may be immersed in and/or filled with water (such as a planter pot).

If you are unable to achieve a watertight print, we recommend the use of various sealers and coatings to seal parts, edges or corners of your prints that you suspect to not be watertight. One of the methods we would recommend is the use of Waterproof Wood Glues to coat and seal your prints (such as Titebond-3 Wood Glue).

Additional Resources

There are plenty of other articles online that cover many other types of post processing methods. Some of the links below might be helpful to start of with.

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