All You Need To Know About Additive Manufacturing Post Processing

Posted by asitroy on October 29th, 2018

We all know how 3D manufacturing is taking the world by storm. Its applications are infinite as for now and better in terms of quality and efficiency than its predecessors. It’s hard to believe the technology was shelved for over 30 years. It’s a rather easy process then banging your heads on the assembly lines. However, your product is not that refined during the initial print, it needs to undergo a post-processing.

Also, known as the last line of additive manufacturing, the post-processing involves refining the printed product. It can be defined as the final touches on the product through painting and smoothing. Overall, its responsible for enhancing the overall quality of the product which can be clearly noticed through the product’s appearance, geometric accuracy, and other mechanical traits of the product. If sampling is your agenda, then post-processing is a crucial aspect. It adds the necessary flair to sell the product. 

Printing technologies

The surface of your product largely depends on the type of printer you are using, the material grain size, and the size and shape of your product. There is no universal method for post-processing. However, there are multiple methods and finishing technologies like Polymer Processing Additives

 which can be mixed to tune your product on the right level.

Dimensional Challenge

Smoothing out the tricky designs sure will be a complicated task, it’s better to keep the design simple and symmetrical for finishing purposes. The loss of material on the surface area apart from the corners is recorded at 0.001 to 0.005 inches.

Planning ahead-

As you know how product surface is defined by its orientation, the block plates, positioning in the assembly, and the entire printing method. One needs to plan ahead and select an adequate finishing technique when deciding the printing method itself.

Now, as aforementioned before there are different ways to pull off the post-processing method. Here are different types of post-processing used by chemical companies in India

Natural-

Possibly the most basic form of finishing, the Natural method sands and cleans while the support structure holds the printed parts in the AM machine. This type of printing is ideal for small products. It just smoothes the surface without affecting the geometric orientation of the piece. 

Standard-

The Standard method takes up where the Natural methods end. It’s used to add a layer of visual aesthetics to your product. It uses a bead blast to create a matte finish on your ready product. Its widely used to build matte finished prototypes.

Standard + External-

This method starts where the Standard method leaves. After getting the matte finish the exterior surface is sanded to remove any anomalies like lines or stair stepping making it extremely smooth. Its preferred for the products which are going to be closely packed with other parts or prototypes of high quality.

Primed-

The prime process starts where Standard + external ends. The product is coated with primer in 2 rounds. First coat followed by light sanding and then the next one. These parts are extremely smooth and ready to be painted in-house.  

Also See: Post Processing, Starts Where, Standard Method, Processing Additives, Product, Processing, Method
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