Clever new tool makes 3D printing easier

Meet Retouch3D, a hand-held heated tool for designed specifically for finishing 3D prints.

Clean up 3D printing errors quickly with this new tool

"Until you own a 3D printer, what you don’t realize is that removing supports and getting rid of printing errors can be frustrating and time-consuming," says Phil Newman of 3D printing startup 3D 2.0.

"We figured that if heat created a 3D print, then heat would be the best way to clean it up. And that’s how Retouch3D was born."

Recently launched on Kickstater, and having already surpassed its funding goal, Retouch3D is a hand-held heated tool with variable heat settings and interchangeable tips designed specifically for finishing 3D prints.

Retouch 3D uses heat to smooth out your models

Its ergonomic handheld design helps you clean up 3D prints with the assistance of temperatures matched to the thermal properties of their printing material.

Retouch3D will be compatible with the mainstream materials used in 3D printing: PLA, ABS, and resin-based systems.

A 3D printed head before (left) and after (right) using the clean-up tool

It combines a control system for accurate and efficient temperature control, with interchangeable tips designed for specific 3D retouching tasks, including:

  • Removal of support material
  • Refining layer imperfections and stringing
  • Blending print surfaces and infill gaps

To account for future materials, Retouch3D’s fine temperature adjustment settings will allow users to increase or decrease heat by small increments.

For early adopters, 3D 2.0 is offering the chance to become a beta tester. Beta testers will exclusively help the company finalize the design of the Retouch3D’s control system and interchangeable tips.

Backers can expect the first Retouch3D units to be available in early 2016, with full market availability following soon after. For more info, check out their Kickstarter page.

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.