Stringing is a common problem when 3D printing and can be very stressful to clean up, especially if you’re not sure how to do it.
To clean up existing stringing on 3D prints, you’ll want to use a lighter, heat gun or hairdryer to apply heat to the stringing. This will quickly shrivel the stringing and leave the rest of the model in good order. Make sure not to apply heat for too long. You can also use a X-acto knife or scalpel to clean stringing.
Keep reading for more information on how to clean up stringing on 3D prints.
How to Clean Up Stringing on 3D Prints
These are the main ways to clean up stringing on 3D prints:
- Use a lighter
- Use a heat gun or hair dryer
- Use a X-acto knife or scalpel
- Use an electric knife
- Freezing method
1. Use a Lighter
One of the best methods to clean up existing stringing on your 3D prints is to use a lighter or a similar light source.
You can use either a normal lighter, such as the Bic Classic Full Size Lighter, or a torch lighter, such as the Kollea Torch Lighter, both can be found over at Amazon for a great price. If you’re using a torch lighter, remember to adjust the flame to a small, controlled size.Error: Unknown Link Type
The steps are similar to using the heat gun or hair dryer, just hold the lighter flame at a safe distance from the print and sweep it back and forth over the strings, which will cause them to melt and disappear.
One 3D printing hobbyist stated that it is best to use a torch lighter instead of a heat gun if your model only has light stringing as a heat gun can easily damage the print.
Check out the video below to see in detail how to use a lighter to clean up stringing.
2. Use a Heat Gun or Hair Dryer
Another possible way to clean up stringing from your 3D models is to use a heat gun or a hair dryer. The heat will cause the strings to soften, making it easier to remove them manually. You may need a tool to help such as an X-acto knife or scalpel.
When following this method, it is important to start carefully. Set the heat gun or hair dryer to a low or medium heat setting.
Hold the heat gun or hair dryer at a safe distance from the print, typically a few inches away, and gently sweep the flame back and forth over the strings, which will cause them to melt and disappear.
Be careful not to overheat the model or concentrate the heat in one spot for too long as that can damage the printed object. Remember to let the print cool down before handling it further, as the melted filament may still be hot.
You can find both a heat gun, such as the SEEKONE Heat Gun, over at Amazon for a great price and good reviews.
One user really recommends the SEEKONE Heat Gun for cleaning up stringing on your 3D prints as it works really well and helps to cut down on post-processing time.
Another user recommends using a cheap crafting heat gun to get rid of stringing on the 3D printed model. He stated that it always works for him.
Check out the video below for more information on how to use a heat gun to clean up stringing.
3. Use a X-Acto Knife or Scalpel
One of the most popular methods to clean up stringing on your 3D parts is to manually remove the stringing with the help of a sharp object, such as an X-Acto knife or a scalpel.
This method can be very useful for thicker or stubborn strings. Just remember to take care when working on delicate parts of the print.
It’s important to always hold the knife or scalpel with a firm grip, making sure that your fingers are safely away from the blade, that’s important to avoid any accidental cuts or slips.
You can find the X-Acto No 1 Precision Knife over at Amazon for a great price. One user recommends this knife as it helps him to remove any stringing left in his 3D prints.
He stated that as soon as the blade dulls he will order a replacement as the knife is really sharp and works very well. Just be aware that the blade may be a bit loose and may need to be tightened so it doesn’t slip as reported by the user. (from Amazon review)
The MedHelp Disposable Scalpel can be found at Amazon for a good price and is recommended by users as a great tool to clean up stringing on 3D printed objects.
One user stated that he always uses a scalpel to remove stringing and clean the model up and never had a problem with it.
4. Use an Electric Knife
Another method that can be really useful to clean up stringing on 3D prints is to use an electric knife. Electric knives are made for cutting and carving foam and can work great to clean up stringing.
You should get an electric knife made for carving, such as the Walnut Hollow Professional Hot Knife, and not for cooking as those are not made to cut plastic. They can be found over at Amazon for a great price.
Using the electric knife to clean up stringing is a very similar process to using an X-acto knife or scalpel but even easier, as the heating of the electric knife will make the plastic cut a lot smoother.
One user really recommends the Walnut Hollow Professional Hot Knife to clean up any stringing left on your model as the knife offers a lot of precision and feels very sturdy.
Another user stated that he always uses his electric knife to get rid of the unwanted stringing that some of his prints get.
Check out the video below which shows how to use an electric knife to clean up stringing on the 3D prints.
5. Freezing Method
Another method that can help out when cleaning up stringing on your 3D prints is the freezing method. This technique involves using cold temperatures to make the thin strings brittle and easy to remove.
To do this method you’ll need to place your 3D printed object in a container and then in a freezer, allowing it to freeze for several hours. Once the print is frozen, take it out of the freezer and gently rub the affected areas with your finger or a soft brush.
The frozen strings should become brittle and snap off at their base when lightly touched or brushed. Be careful not to use too much force to avoid any damage to the print.
Just be cautious when freezing, especially with prints made from certain filaments like PLA, as quick temperature changes may damage the printed object.
One user recommends this method to clean up stringing as it has helped him before, he stated that the cold will make the thin strings snap off very easily.
How to Fix Thick Stringing on 3D Printer
These are the main ways to fix thick stringing on 3D printer:
- Adjust your retraction settings
- Lower the nozzle temperature
- Dry your filament
Adjust your Retraction Settings
One way to solve thick stringing on 3D prints is to adjust your retraction settings, that’s because printing with the wrong retraction settings can result in thick stringing.
To find the optimal retraction distance and speed for your specific printer and filament, you’ll need to experiment with different values to minimize stringing. I wrote an article called How to Get the Best Retraction Length & Speed Settings that may be useful to you.
One user stated that adjusting your retraction settings is a great way to stop the thick stringing on 3D prints as stringing should be light enough to be removed by a torch lighter.
Check out the video below with detailed information about adjusting retraction settings.
Lower the Nozzle Temperature
Another option to help fix the thick stringing on your 3D prints is to lower the nozzle temperature. That’s because different filaments have different optimal printing temperatures, and reducing the temperature can help reduce stringing by avoiding a large flow of filament.
As a general method, reducing the nozzle temperature by 5-10°C can be a good starting point to find the optimal temperature.
One user stated that when the nozzle temperature is too high for the filament it will produce stringing, that’s why it’s important to find the optimal nozzle temperature for the material you are working with.
Another user stated that lowering the nozzle temperature can be a good fix for thick stringing on 3D prints.
Check out the video below for more information on nozzle temperatures.
Dry your Filament
Another method that can help to fix thick stringing on the 3D prints is to make sure you are working with dry filament. That’s because wet filaments will produce stringing and some filaments absorb humidity through the air.
A lot of users recommend having a dryer box for your filament, such as the SUNLU Filament Dryer Box, which can help to maintain the filament at optimal temperatures.
One user was able to solve his thick stringing problem by drying his PETG filament and cutting back on the fan when printing.
Check out the video below for more information about drying your filament.
How to Fix Stringing on One Side of Print
These are the main ways to fix stringing on one side of the print:
- Control ambient airflow
- Upgrade your cooling fan
Control Ambient Airflow
One of the main ways to solve stringing on only one side of the print is to control the ambient’s airflow.
Stringing on only one side can happen when the ambient where you are printing has a draft of air, from an open door or a window, that may affect only one side of the print.
You can try closing any doors or windows to make sure your machine is printing in a controlled environment.
Sometimes, just closing the doors and windows won’t be enough and that’s why a lot of users recommend using 3D printer enclosures, such as the Comgrow 3D Printer Enclosure which helps to maintain a constant temperature and airflow when printing.
You can find the Comgrow Printer Enclosure over at Amazon for a reasonable price and great reviews. I wrote an article called 6 Best 3D Printer Enclosures – Ender 3 & More that may be useful to you.
One user stated that when stringing happens with only one side of the print, it usually has to do with drafts and that’s why controlling the ambient airflow is so important.
Check out the video below with tips on how to build a DIY printer enclosure.
Upgrade Your Cooling Fan
Upgrading your cooling fan is another possible fix for stringing on one side of the 3D print. That’s because original or stock cooling fans will only cool one side of the print, which may cause that type of stringing.
Users recommend searching for print head upgrades that will feature better cooling, such as the Hero Me Gen7 Release 3.2 Printhead Platform, which can be found on Thingiverse to be downloaded and printed for free.
The Hero Me Printhead Platform is compatible with over 100 printers. One user recommends getting a couple of 5015 fans to complement the Hero Me upgrade. You can find some WINSINN 50mm 5015 Blower Fan over at Amazon for a great price.
One user really recommends using the WINSINN 5015 fan instead of the stock one as it reduced almost all the stringing he was getting when using the original fan.
Check out the video below for detailed instructions on how to install the Hero Me upgrade.
By following the tips in this article, you should be able to fix the stringing issues in your 3D prints.