Author: Adriana Crisbasan

Case Study: Surface Finishing an Inconel 3D Printed Part

Surface finishing an Inconel 3d printed part

Project Background

 

Client approached ActOn Finishing team to develop a process to allow him to achieve a smooth and polished finish on an Inconel 3d printed part. The part’s surface roughness average before being processed was 7.72 µm.

 

How we surfaced finished the Inconel 3D Printed Part

 

Due to the previous studies, we conducted on Inconel 3d printed parts, we decided that the most effective way was to finish the component was in the Centrifugal High Energy finishing machine. Some of the advantages of this machine includes:

  • Shorter processing times, in comparison with traditional finishing methods;
  • We built this technology particularly for applications like achieving a high surface finish requirement, a mirror finish and the removal of heavy manufacturing defects;
  • The results are always consistent and repeatable

 

Further to our trials we achieved the final finish in a 2-stage process:

 

  • To smooth the surface of the Inconel 3d printed part we used a mix of highly abrasive ceramic media, a concentrated cleaner and polisher compound and water.
  • For the polished effect the component was finished in high density polishing media, using LQ9 compound, a specially formulated brightening and polishing compound. This compound is one of our best-selling products for polishing processes and is used by companies from a wide range of industries.

 

The result

 

This process achieved a 94% loss in roughness average, as requested by the customer (see table below for specific data). Furthermore, the smooth and polished finish required was achieved in only 5 and a half hours without affecting the part’s geometry.

surface finishing an Inconel 3d printed part

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Identifier Roughness Average Before Process (µm) Roughness Average After Process (µm) Total Ra Loss  (µm) %Ra Loss
Inconel 3D printed part 7.72 0.84 6.88 94

Case Study: Prevent corrosion and remove sharp edges on mild steel parts

prevent corrosion on mild steel parts banner

Project Background

The aim of this project was to develop a vibratory finishing process to remove the sharp edges, clean and inhibit the corrosion and achieve a uniform finish on these steel mild steel components.

 

How To Remove Sharp Edges and Prevent Corrosion

Further to the finishing trials we carried, our technical team have concluded that the best vibratory finishing machine to be used for these parts, was the vibratory finishing trough. As our client needs to process both larger and smaller parts in the same time, this finishing machine would allow him to finish components of different shapes and sizes. Furthermore, these machines have been built to suit various customer applications from deburring, descaling, radiusing and cleaning to polishing and surface improvement.

We achieved the final finish in a single stage process, which takes 45 minutes. Essential to this process were also the consumables we used. The abrasive ceramic media (manufactured by ActOn at our facility in PUNE, Malaysia) allowed us to remove the sharp edges and achieve a uniform surface finish. Our technical team chose a mix of sizes and shapes to ensure any lodgement of media can be avoided and the part finish will be consistent.

We also used LQ111S as a liquid finishing compound (manufactured at our facility in Coventry, UK), as it includes good cleaning properties and it inhibits the appearance of corrosion further to the finishing process.

Did you know that all our compounds are biodegradable and environmental friendly? Contact our technical team if you want to find out more about our range of mass finishing compounds.

 

Result

The process delivered a clean and smooth surface finish in a considerably reduced time, while the dimensional integrity of the part was maintained. All sharp edges have been removed and we prevent corrosion effect. A complete end-to-end solution.

 

prevent corrosion on mild steel parts banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study: Choosing the Right Media Shape & Size to Polish an Intricate 3D Printed Ornament

Project Background

 

As the part has some very intricate details one of the main issues we encountered was that if we over processed the components the details would be removed. Also, due to the manufacturing method certain internal areas were difficult to process. Hence the media shape and size was essential to achieve a polish and smooth finish.

 

How We Achieved a Polish Finish on the 3D printed Ornament

 

Due to previous experience, we had with similar 3d printed parts, we carried out the trials in our centrifugal disc finishing machine. This finishing machine is perfect for processing small and thin parts, one of its main advantages being the reduced processing time.

As the part design included some intricate details we carried out different trials to determine the correct media. The final finish was achieved in a 4 stages process, using a mix of abrasive ceramic and plastic media to remove the printing lines, smooth the surface and deburr the part and a high-density porcelain media to achieve the polished finish.

When choosing the shape and size of the media we considered the geometry of the part – hence any lodgement of media was avoided and the part finish was consistent.

Did you know that we manufacture our ceramic media at our facility in Kedah, Malaysia? You can check our range of ceramic media here ceramicmedia.co.uk.

To remove the lines and smooth the surface of the 3d printed ornament, we used alongside the media a liquid finishing compound which acts as a concentrated cleaner and polisher. For the polishing stage, we switched the compound for one of our best-selling compounds, the LQ9. This is a specially formulated polishing and brightening compound which can be used to process ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

 

Result

 

The total process time took approx. 6 hours which was less than what the customer expected. The process delivered a superior polished finish while the dimensional integrity of the part was maintained.

polish 3d printed ornament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deburring & Smooth Finishing Aluminium Crank Case Cover

smooth finishing aluminium crank case cover

The Aim

 

To deburr the aluminium motorcycle crank case cover and achieve a bright smooth finishing without damaging the aluminium crank case cover.

 

How We Achieved the Smooth Finishing on the Component

 

We achieved the final finish in a single stage process, which takes 20 minutes using our Vibratory Trough. We chose this type of vibratory finishing machine as it is perfect for deburring and smooth finishing larger parts. It also allows the client to process a larger batch of crank cases, making it an efficient piece of equipment.

Divider plates are used in the trough machine which enables processing more than one crank case at a time. This reduces the processing time and the risk of impingement. The machine and process delivers consistent results, with a superior surface finish.

Our team developed a unique process, using a single type of media and compound. As certain areas of the crank case could easily become lodged with media, the size of media was an important factor in this process. Moreover, the grade we chose was as significant as the size, taking in consideration that the part is made from aluminium. Hence we used a low-grade plastic media to prevent any damage to the part.

The liquid finishing compound used is a concentrated cleaner and polisher for non-ferrous metals.

 

Result

 

The process delivered a superior surface finish in a considerably reduced time, and the dimensional integrity of the part was maintained. All burs have been removed and the smooth finishing was achieved. A complete end-to-end solution.

 

deburr and smooth finishing aluminium crank case cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ActOn High Energy Finishing Process Enables Client to Deburr 10,000 Parts/ Hour

Centrifugal High Energy Finishing Process

The project background

 

We have been approached by our customer as they required a more effective way to degrease and remove sharpness on Molybdenum parts, before the plating stage. At the time of the initial contact, our customer was finishing 8,000 parts/ batch using a traditional barrel finishing machine and the full process took 9 hours. During the first 8 hours, parts were deburred and degreased and the last hour was used to separate the parts from media. This was not only extremely labour intensive but meant that with an increasing output, capacity was an issue.

 

A Fast and Cost Effective Finishing Process Using CHE Technology

Processing trials

 

ActOn carried out the finishing process trials from the beginning in the Centrifugal High Energy machine, as we knew that we needed a quicker process time, whilst also removing the need for a long separating time for separating parts and media.

Hence we carried out the trials in our CHE50 finishing machine, using an abrasive media and liquid finishing compound we manufacture for cleaning & degreasing of ferrous metals. The final finish was achieved in just 45 minutes and we managed to deburr and degrease 10,000 parts / batch. The unload and separation of parts took just a few minutes over an automated vibratory separator which the barrels of the machine unload onto after the finishing process. To ensure parts do not rust post processing, these are ran through a centrifugal drier to remove any moisture.

Capacity Study Traditional vs High Energy Finishing

 

CHE Finishing Technology Used

 

As a result of the successful trial the customer decided to purchase the CHE50 finishing technology. The system is HMI/ PLC controlled and it includes 100 finishing recipes which makes the machine easy for the operator to use.

CHE50 machines are equipped with 4 hexagonal shaped barrels. Each of these barrels are loaded manually with parts, media and a water/compound mix as per the recipes set up in the system. The CHE50 also includes an integrated temperature monitoring system to ensure that any overheat within the barrels will result in the machine coming to a stop to prevent any damage to the barrel liners.

This finishing technology incorporates a direct drive mechanism which generates high g-forces resulting in shorter processing times in comparison with vibratory finishing. High Energy finishing can be 15-20 times faster and produces superior finishes. This process time advantage meant that the customer was able to process 10,000 parts in one hour, in comparison with 8,000 parts in 9 hours.

To make the finishing process even more efficient, we integrated in the High Energy system, a Vibratory Separation System. Upon completion of the process, parts, media and the mix of water and compound are discharged from the barrel into the vibratory separation system and separated via the screen.

CHE50 High Energy Finishing SystemCHE50 High Energy Finishing System

 

The Result

 

  • Our finishing process enabled our customer to process 10,000 parts in 1 hour, in comparison with 8,000 parts in 9 hours.
  • The trials showed a 98% pass rate compared to an average of 93% using the previous finishing process.
  • The finishing process produces a repeatable and high quality finished product.

 

According to Adam Cook’s (Process/Continuous Improvement Engineer at H.C. Stark Ltd ) statement:

“Acton finishing’s professional service and expertise in designing and installing our new HE Deburring process is critical to us delivering the high-quality product that our customer expect.”

 

Achieving a Bright Polished Finish on a Stainless Steel 3D Printed Lizard

Achieving a Bright Polished finish on a 3D Printed Lizard

In this blog article we discuss about how we developed a mass finishing process to polish a Stainless Steel 3D printed lizard, using ActOn Finishing Centrifugal Disc Finishing technology.

 

The Aim

 

To smooth the surface and achieve a bright polished finish on a Stainless Steel 3D printed lizard.

 

How We Processed the 3D Printed Lizard

 

We achieved this with our three-stage process, using the ActOn Centrifugal Disc Finishing machine, which combines grinding, smoothing and polishing. Due to the rough surface of the part, a high density ceramic media and LQ18 compound were used in the 1st stage.

The second stage was carried out using an abrasive plastic media and a finishing compound, which is a good cleaner, polisher. The aim of the second stage was to smooth the 3D printed lizard surface without affecting the dimensional integrity of the component. Careful consideration to the media shape and size was given to ensure all areas of the component were processed.

Lastly, the 3D printed lizard was processed using a porcelain media and a finishing compound, specially formulated for polishing and brightening of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

 

Result

 

The total process time took approx. 6 hours which was less than what the customer expected. The process delivered a superior bright polished finish while the dimensional integrity of the part was maintained.

3D Printed Lizard

 

Achieving a Mirror Polish on a Delicate 3D Printed Part

mirror polish 3d printed part

Project Background

 

Our client approached ActOn team as he required a surface finishing process to smooth the surface and mirror polish a 3D printed decorative part. While the initial surface roughness was 15µm, the actual main issues faced by our client were:

  • the intricate geometry of the part which made it difficult for him to finish the part
  • the part fragility as it was easily breakable if the 3d printed part was subject to excessive force.

 

Solution Developed to Achieve the Mirror Polish Finish

 

As we had the experience of finishing 3d printed parts we decided to run a trial in the Centrifugal High Energy finishing machine using abrasive media and polishing compound.

 

Through the tests carried out we decided that the best way to finish these parts without causing any damage was by using ActOn Finishing DT (centrifugal disc finishing machine) and CPM (centrifugal high energy finishing machine) series finishing machines.  Both machines are typically used for processing small components.  Also, these can be aggressive enough to improve the surface finish of the 3d printed part, yet precise enough to process and mirror polish the most delicate piece.

 

The final finishing process has been achieved in 3 stages:

  • In the first stage the part is processed in the DT finishing machine using an abrasive ceramic media and a light descaling and polishing compound.
  • In the second stage, we prepared the surface for mirror polishing in the DT finishing machine using plastic media and a polishing compound.
  • Finally, we mirror finished the 3d printed part in the CPM machine using a polishing media and compound.

 

The result

 

The process delivered a smooth and mirror polished surface, reducing the part’s Ra from 15µm to 0.18µm in a considerably reduced time, whilst maintaining the dimensional integrity of the part.

Introducing the ActOn Portable Finishing Media Screening Unit

Portable Finishing Media Screening Unit

Over a period of time the finishing media starts to wear. This can cause the undersized media to lodge in holes, slots, bores and blind holes of components. The result is a high risk of damaging the geometry of the part. To avoid these situations, we have designed the Portable Media Screening Unit to enable our customers to separate the undersized media by moving the screening unit near the mass finishing machine or underneath the machine door.

The way it works

The Portable Media Screening Unit is a standalone unit. It includes a large undersized finishing media grid and an independent drive system. This unit can be moved next to each finishing machine and can be positioned underneath the machine door

The operator loads the finishing media onto the separator, and starts the process. This allows the media to spread. The finishing media then passes through the open gate and onto the separation screen where it is separated into 2 chambers and then collected by the operator.

Key Features & Benefits of the Portable Finishing Media Screening Unit

  • Allows to separate the media straight from the finishing machine.
  • It screens 25kg of media every 90 seconds
  • unit dimensions in mm / inch (L x W x H): 1794 x 833 x 1135 / 71 x 33 x 45
  • motor power: 0.31 kW, 3 phase, 50 Hz
  • Time efficient – using this system our clients have managed to reduce the downtime by 3 hours, depending on the finishing media condition
  • The portable media screens are made out of steel and the sizes of holes and slots can be manufactured depending on the customer requirements
  • Standard control panel with on/ off controls
  • Easy to move around as it is mounted on castor wheels.
  • British high-quality product
  • Durable product due to design, good quality materials & workmanship knowledge
  • Easy to operate
  • Low maintenance

To learn more about ActOn Portable Finishing Media Screening Unit and how you can experience the benefits for yourself, get in touch with a member of the ActOn Finishing technical team today: sales@acton-finishing.co.uk.