PrintMZ Finishing Guide
An important aspect of your PrintMZ model is finishing it off. Cleaning, trimming, dry fitting and gluing will be a part of the assembly required to complete your model.
Here are a few tips to help you get started. Firstly, you will need a few tools for the job.
  • What you will need
Aside from a 3D printer, you will need a few items in your “PrintMZ toolkit” to get your model from the print plate to your display cabinet. The following items should be easy to come by in any craft shop, or favourite online shopping site.
3d printer model finishing
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  •  Small pair of pliers or clippers
Recommend a pair that has the cutting edge flush with the side of the clippers, rather than in the middle. This will give you a good chance at clipping flush to the model surface, and reduce filing effort.
  •  Craft knife
Sometimes a pair of pliers just can’t get into those tight spots, but a small craft knife will do the job just fine.
  • Fine craft file or emery board (or both)
Inevitably, there will be some material that will need to be removed from the print. A small fine file and / or nail file / emery board will be suitable (Guys – don’t get caught pilfering from your gals handbag…).
  •  Awl
Sometimes a little hole in the model might just get plugged with some unwanted printed material. If a craft knife won’t get it out, an awl will be a hand tool to have available.
  • Working Surface
A small A4 cutting pad should be enough space to work with most models.
  •  Lint free cloth
When the part is removed from the print plate, it will most likely require cleaning. Something that can be used for this purpose will be required.
  •  Plastic Cement
Model kit cement will be the best option to start with. Super-glues, acetone and other methods should only be used when you are comfortable with such advanced methods.
The clear “brush on” type plastic model kit cement will provide the easiest and cleanest method of application. It also has a slight “melting” action, which softens the plastic without damaging it.
Working with the printed parts
Off the printer
3d printer parts
  • Off the printer

When the parts have been printed, they will be affixed to the printing plate. 

They will need to be carefully removed in order to preserve the parts. Take care, as small parts can be fragile, and easily lost. For the 3D Systems Cube, and CubeX, parts need to “washed” off the plate, as the adhesive used dissolves in water. Don’t let those parts go down the plug-hole.

3d printer model parts
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  • Cleaning
When the print has completed, and the parts have been removed from the plate, they will require a bit of cleaning to remove any residual adhesive used to keep the part affixed to the plate during print. A soft, lint free damp cloth will do the job.
3d printer model parts
  • Removing parts from sprue
Some parts are attached to a rail, or sprue. The purpose of the sprue is not to aid the printing process, but rather as an aid to you. Some parts look very much alike, and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from other similar parts – especially on the smaller models. These have been ordered on the sprue to assist you in selecting the correct part when assembling the model, as they will be placed in a particular order, and will be referenced as such in the assembly guide.
3d printer model parts
As the sprue comes closer to the part, it becomes thinner.
Get those clippers close to the part before snipping.
3d printer makerbot replicator
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  • Filing
Sometimes, a part may have a few unwanted bumps on it - due to the printing process, or as a result of sprue removal, etc. These bits can be filed down with a small craft file, or even an emery board will do the job
Using a small file on sprue residue
Getting rid of those little bumps with an emery board
3d printer 3d systems cube
  • Cleaning up “webbing”
As the printer moves from one part to another, or from one area of a part to another area of the same part, it may drag a little filament with it, causing a “web” effect. This can be easily trimmed with a craft knife. Any bumps left over from the trimming can then be neatly filed down.
When webbing occurs over small holes, the best tool for that job is an awl.
Trimming a webbed part with a craft knife
Using an awl to clean a small hole
3d printer stl model
  • Assembly
Finally, when all that parts are nicely cleaned and ready for assembly, always test that they fit first, before applying any glue. You may need to clean a slot that you initially missed.
Check the assembly guide, and make sure that you have the correct part, and are assembling it in the correct orientation to the other parts. It’s quite easy to get a step wrong, so you’ll want to double check first before applying any cement.
Larger models won’t normally require cement, but the smaller ones most certainly will. Some parts are very small, so nimble fingers are needed. Sometimes, if a part it too tight, some cement (of the type depicted in this guide) can be applied to both parts before fitting, and allowed a time to “soak in”. The cement softens the plastic, and will make fitting easier.
Be careful, as small parts become weaker when the cement is applied. It doesn’t take too much pressure to snap a thin part. The entire parts plate will need to be re-printed again, just for that one broken part.
  • Dry fitting a part to ensure it goes together properly
  • Once fitted, cement can be applied if needed

3d printer model

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PrintMZ Sizing Guide
The Wooden 3D puzzles available for CNC or Laser cutting machines at MakeCNC use a sizing method that indicates the material thickness required for the slot sizes in the pattern. 3D Printing does not have a restriction that requires prior knowledge of the pattern requirements for material thickness, as the required material thickness will be printed as needed.
However, when sizing 3D Puzzles that have been converted for 3D printers, we still try to maintain the relationship between the slot size / material thickness and the overall model size.
For example, a 3mm CNC template may produce a final assembled model that is 39cm in length. The 6mm size (meaning the slot is 6mm broad, needing a 6mm thick piece of material) will scale up to 78cm length model.
However, when converting the 3D Puzzels to PrintMZ, some deviation to the relationship between model size and slot size may occur, as sometimes a model thickness may be too thin and over flexible, so a thicker part size is used, but retaining the overall model dimensions. So, using the above example, if the 3mm CNC template is scaled down to 1mm, giving you an overall model length of 13cm, the part thickness of 1mm may produce an undesirably over flexible model. To compensate, the part thickness is increased to 1.5mm – but the model size remains the same – leaving you with a sturdier model.
So, for overall size, we have scaled the converted 3D Wooden Model templates down to fit at least one or two sizes on the smaller 3D printers. We have scaled these templates down to 1mm, 1.5mm and 2mm to give an overall size scale. These give us the sizes of “Small”, “Medium” and “Large” respectively.
Models that have a part thickness that matches the scale (ie: no alteration made to increase the part thickness) are termed as “Regular”, and those that are made thicker are “Heavy”
So a 1mm scaled model, with no part thickness alteration will be a SmallRegular model. The thicker part version will be SmallHeavy.
We are introducing prints for the 3D Systems Cube, and will have the following sizes:
SmallRegular, SmallHeavy, MediumRegular, LargeRegular.
Some Large models may be too large to print on the Cube, so in this case, such models may be made available for larger printers at a later date. Model alteration to allow for a larger model on a smaller bed may be considered in the future as well.
Since 3D printers can print a whole lot more then converted wooden puzzles, other models that are not dependant on part thickness will simply be sized as “Small”, “Medium” and “Large”.