Recently we have been approached by one of our customers to find a finishing process to remove the lines resulted from the 3d printing process and to polish an intricate 3d printed ornament.
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.
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.