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Can You Use Wood Filler on 3D Prints?

Sometimes, no matter how thoroughly you design and execute your 3D models, errors like gaps, holes, and insecure layers can wreak havoc on your prints. Fortunately, you can use materials such as wood filler to seal up these mistakes and save your 3D printed object. 

You can use wood filler on 3D prints. Wood filler is flexible and affordable, which is why many 3D printing experts use it to seal up their prints. Wood filler is also easy to use regardless of your level of expertise in 3D printing. 

So, let’s talk more about how you can use wood filler to make your 3D prints whole again. I’ll walk you through the steps to use wood filler on 3D prints and tell you about the benefits of this method. So, let’s get into it!

How Do You Use Wood Filler on 3D Prints?

No matter how much experience you have in 3D printing, errors happen often. If your print comes out with holes and artifacts, you’ll want to address whatever issue is occurring in your process that caused the gaps or divots in your object. However, that doesn’t mean you have to trash the one you’ve already made. 

Here’s how to use wood filler on 3D prints:

  1. Gather your materials. 
  2. Assess the damage.
  3. Fill and dry the print.
  4. Sand the print. 
  5. Prime the print.

We can better understand how to properly execute this procedure by delving deeper into each of these steps. 

1. Gather Your Materials

There are a few tools other than the wood filler that you’ll need to complete this process correctly: 

  • Gloves
  • Respirator with filter
  • Sandpaper (three different grits)
  • Primer
  • Acrylic paint or spray paint
  • Sealant (epoxy, varnish, or polyurethane) 

2. Assess the Damage

You’ve just made your 3D print, and you’ve noticed some issues. Regardless of the size or complexity of the finished product, you’ll want to do a full assessment of the print. Look at it from every angle and make a note of each blemish. 

The next thing you should do is determine what kind of defect it is to help you avoid this issue in your future prints. 

Each imperfection can point to a different problem in the 3D printer or printing process. So be sure to find out in what layer the problem originated and determine the cause of the defect. Is it a first layer gap, are the layers separating, or is the issue between layers?

3. Fill and Dry the Print

Once you know what you need to fill and how many places on the print you need to fill, it’s time to seal your object up!

Wood fillers are typically fast-drying, so you’ll want to be precise and quick in this process. Once you’ve applied the filler into the seams and gaps, you’ll want to run your finger or a paper towel along the edges and smooth out the seams as much as possible. After you’ve done this, give your print a once-over to make sure nothing requires additional filler. 

The next step is to allow your 3D printed object to dry thoroughly. Look at the wood filler you’re using and locate the drying time. Stick strictly to this timeframe. Most wood fillers will be dry within 15 to 30 minutes. 

4. Sand the Print

After your print has had ample time to dry, you can move on to sanding. You’ll need three different grits of sandpaper – 80, 120, and 180.

Begin with the lowest grit sandpaper and work your way to the highest. You should work in this direction because the higher the grit, the finer it is. So, you start with coarse grit and end with a fine grit to buff out bumps. Continue sanding until you get a smooth finish. 

If you run into any issues during this step, like sanding too much, add more filler, let it dry and sand it down again. 

5. Prime the Print

Once you have an even finish on your 3D print, you’re ready to prime. Primer will help keep the wood filler in place and seal it in, making it a permanent feature of your object. 

Before you begin, make sure your print is free of debris and dust. You should also move to a well-ventilated area and have something under your work to catch any primer residue. 

Once you’re all set up, coat your print with the primer and wait for it to dry. You will find dry times on the primer container. 

When it’s adequately dry, add a second coat. After the second coat dries, you can lightly sand one final time using 1,200 grit sandpaper to buff out any lumps. All that’s left is to wipe away the dust and paint or spray your print with a clear coat. 

For the longevity of your print, consider sealing your work with epoxy, varnish, or polyurethane of some kind. Sealers like these will also fill in some of the layer lines or raised areas on your print, leaving a seamless finish. 

Why Is Wood Filler a Good Choice for a 3D Print?

With an array of options to fill any blemishes in your 3D print, it may leave you debating over the best choice. 

Wood filler is a good choice for a 3D print since it is affordable, quick-drying, and odorless. It is also easy to use and clean up, and it will remain durable for many years. 

Wood filler is a great choice regardless of your skill level. So, whether you’re brand new to 3D printing or you’ve been working at the craft for years, it’ll provide the results you’re looking for. 

The Benefits of Wood Filler for 3D Prints

There are many benefits of using wood filler on 3D prints, including its strength, durability, and appearance. This material is an excellent option for those who’ve created a 3D model that they feel needs some extra finishing work. 

When you put wood filler on a print, it gives the appearance of a real-life wooden surface. Some people may choose to put wood filler onto their models out of personal preference, while others may do so because they believe the material will give the piece more stability or strength. 

Wood filler offers a fast-drying application, often within 15 to 30 minutes, and is virtually odorless. Because wood filler is widely available at many local hardware stores, consumers often find it very easy to purchase as needed.

Conclusion

No matter the blemish, a wood filler can tackle the gaps and make 3D prints whole again. Remember that imperfections point to an issue with the printer or printing process, which you can adjust to prevent further defects. Still, it’s always a good idea to have wood filler on-hand as a backup so you’ll never have to toss out a holey print again!