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Achieving a Mirror Polish on a Delicate 3D Printed Part

Case Study

Posted on July 31, 2019 by

mirror polish 3d printed part

Most 3D printed components require surface finishing for a nice smooth end product finish. To achieve this, the additive manufactured parts should go through a 3-stage finishing process including a deburring stage, reducing the surface roughness and a mirror polishing stage.

In this blog article, we would like to discuss about the challenges we faced when we had to smooth the surface and mirror finish a fragile Titanium 3D printed decorative 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.

If you would like to find out more information regarding our finishing expertise please check www.acton-finishing.co.uk, or contact our technical team at sales@acton-finishing.co.uk . To learn more about ActOn’s finishing technology for Additive Manufacturing industry please visit the Industries page.

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