How to clean up 3D printed miniatures?

How to clean up 3D printed miniatures?

3D printing has gained immense popularity in the recent past and is continuing to do so. 3D printed miniatures like built with Creality 10S printer, similarly, have caught the eye of the public, and people love buying tiny miniatures.

But there is a bit of difficulty associated with owning 3D printed articles. Many people wonder how to clean these miniatures once dust accumulates on them, and use different solvents and methods for cleaning.

Well, we do not recommend using different kinds of liquids for cleaning your 3D printed miniatures because these solutions can damage your product.

So in this article, we are going to discuss different methods that you can use to clean your 3D printed miniatures. So if you also own 3D articles, keep reading this article to learn about its cleaning.

How to clean up 3D printed miniatures?

Liquid Metal Polish

You can use any metal polish in liquid form to clean up 3D printed miniatures because liquid metal polishes work great for such processes. One of the most popular metal polishes for cleaning the 3D miniatures is Brasso Multi-Purposed Metal Polish.

Apart from the liquid metal polish, you will also need a soft cotton cloth or simple cotton swabs to apply the polish on the 3D miniatures. Once you have collected all the required materials, apply a small amount of liquid metal polish to the cloth and clean the miniature.

How to Polish the 3D Miniatures?

The technique used for polishing your 3D printed miniatures I very easy and simple. You need a liquid metal polish, and a soft cotton cloth or a cotton swab. Apply a small amount of liquid polish on the cotton swab or the cloth, and rub this cotton on your 3D printed miniature’s surface in a circular manner.

Slowly and consistently move the cotton on the miniature until its whole surface is covered with polish. Once you have done this, the whole surface of the miniature will look shiny and neat.

How to Make the 3D Miniature’s Surface Smooth?

If you have already tried the liquid metal polish method for your 3D printed miniatures and did not find the results satisfactory, we have another method you can try to make your miniatures look more smooth and shiny.

By adding a coating of the basic material on the miniature, either by painting it by hand, spraying, or dipping the 3D printed miniatures into that material, you can make its surface look more smooth and shiny.

Apart from making the surface smooth, this method will also help in filling any defects your miniature has on its surfaces, such as layer lines, and the result is a shiny, flawless surface. You can use the paint primer or an epoxy coating for making the miniature surface smooth.

Make the Surface Smooth Without Sanding it

Many people do not like the process of sanding and often look for alternatives for cleaning their 3D miniatures. You can clean your 3D prints without doing any filler-work or sanding by using a low viscosity epoxy resin. Many 3D printing enthusiasts mix different epoxy resins and make a “cocktail” to smooth their 3D prints.

Washing the 3D Prints

Water can be used for 3D prints as it does not damage them. However, you can use warm or lukewarm water and antibacterial soap to wash the 3D prints. However, you should avoid using the dishwasher, and wash the 3D prints with lukewarm water and anti-bacterial soap right after using them.

This will not only remove the bacteria present on the surface but also reduce the risk of print melting away. Many people often ask if the 3D prints should be washed or not. Well, the answer to this question is yes! It is an absolute necessity to wash and cure 3D resin prints because it keeps them shiny and smooth.

Once a 3D print looks dull, its appeal decreases. The Cure V2 and Anycubic Wash are the most inexpensive and convenient methods to handle the mess created by 3D resin printing. By using a 3.5 liters Isopropyl Alcohol tank and a UV turntable, you can take a lot of fuss out of resin 3D printing.

Best Glue for PLA

If you have to glue together PLA parts and are not sure what glue to use, Cyanoacrylate is the choice you can make. You can use any brand: SuperGlue, Instant Glue, Extra-Strong Glue, Gorilla Glue, or Loctite.

Personally, we add some of the glue in a small bottle and use it from it every time we need to because it is a more convenient and safe way to handle the glue.

Improving the Quality of 3D Printer

You can surely improve the quality of your 3D printer by following these simple steps:

  • Adjust the bed.
  • Set the height of the printer nozzle.
  • Check the temperature of the nozzle.
  • For creating different effects, use different building plates.
  • Be attentive towards your printer’s maintenance and adjustment.
  • Handle the filament of the printer carefully.
  • Use the slicer.
  • Decrease the printing speed of the 3D printer.

Washing the PLA Prints

PLA prints are easily washable, however, you should avoid washing these prints in a dishwasher. One of the best options for PLA filaments is using Polyurethane which is easily available in most hardware stores.

By using lukewarm water and anti-bacterial soap, you can easily wash your PLA prints and make them get rid of all the dust and germs.

Lack of Smoothness on PLA Prints

While the freshly printed 3D resin miniatures and PLA prints are smooth and shiny, the surface can get rough and abrasive after some time.

The best method to fix the 3D prints that are not smooth anymore is to identify the under-extrusion or over-extrusion issues and tackle them to get rid of these problems.

After identifying the issues in 3D prints, change the settings such as lowering the printing temperature of retraction. By fixing the vibration, you can solve the problem of prints not being smooth.

Removing the PLA residue off the Print Bed

You can get rid of the PLA residue accumulating on your print bed by using any of the following tips:

  • Using Acetone will dissolve the PLA or ABS.
  • Heat the bed back up and it will make the plastic softer and convenient to remove.
  • If you have used the tape on the print bed, then by removing the tape you can take off the plastic stuck to the printer.


What can dissolve PLA?

Different solvents can dissolve PLA filaments, such as Methylene Chloride, Ethyl Acetate, Pyridine, Propylene Carbonate, and Acetone, which are the most commonly used solvents to dissolve PLA.

Propylene Carbonate, Methylene Chloride, and Ethyl Acetate can also be used to dissolve the PLA supporters and clean your printer, while the other solvents are mainly used to glue the printed parts or smooth them.

What is better, ABS or PLA?

When we talk about what is better, PLA and ABS, we have to compare the pros and cons of both these materials. PLA is stiffer and stronger than ABS, but ABS has more heat-resistant properties than PLA. This means that PLA is mostly a hobbyist material.

Furthermore, ABS is less rigid and much weaker, but also light in weight and much tougher than PLA which makes it a better choice for prototyping applications.

Is it possible to sand a 3D-printed miniature?

Yes, 3D printed objects can be sanded as well as FDM plastic parts. You can sand these objects either with hand or with belt sanders such as automotive parts or wood. Sanding is a very effective, inexpensive, and proven method for having a smooth finishing on your 3D prints.

Sanding is one of the most commonly used techniques for the smooth finishing of 3D articles. One drawback of sanding is that it is ineffective for the tiniest parts.

What is best for PLA, Acetone, or Alcohol?

Acetone is one of the most popular solvents used for cleaning up the printer bed and removing 3D printed parts from the build plate. Acetone also can dissolve PLA to some extent, so it is a great solvent for cleaning and smoothing your 3D printed objects.

Isopropyl alcohol has also proven to be very effective for cleaning PLA, and the major advantage of using alcohol is that it is much less dangerous than methylene chloride and acetone.

Bottom Line

Cleaning 3D printed products is not a difficult task, but it does require some precautions and careful handling. You can also wash 3D printed miniatures if you want to, however, you should avoid using the dishwasher or cold water.

Use lukewarm water with an antibacterial soap so when you wash the article, it not only becomes shiny and neat but gets rid of the germs as well.

Moreover, there are a variety of solvents available in the market that you can use to clean your print bed of any 3D printer like FlashForge printer, apart from the 3D prints. Acetone and Isopropyl alcohol are the most commonly used solvents.

Hopefully, this article will answer all your questions. Thank you for reading!


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