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Additive Manufacturing Finishes & Post Processing

Parts in days anywhere in the USA.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has revolutionized the manufacturing industry by offering unparalleled customization and agility. However, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the finishes of the final products and the post-processing requirements. Additively manufactured parts can have several surface finishes, ranging from rough and textured to smooth and polished. Different surface finishes can be achieved by changing the printing parameters such as layer thickness, nozzle diameter, and printing speed. In addition, post-processing techniques such as sanding, polishing, painting, and coating can enhance the final product’s appearance and performance. Other post-processing techniques include support removal, dyeing, engraving, and electroplating. The choice of post-processing method depends on the requirements of the final product, including its function, appearance, and durability. Understanding the different surface finishes and post-processing techniques can help manufacturers create high-quality 3D-printed products that meet the needs of their customers.

Additive Manufacturing Finishing- Hardware Inserts

Choosing the right additive manufacturing finishes and post processing for your project.

Choosing the right additive manufacturing finishes and post-processing techniques for your project is essential to achieve the desired final product. The finish of the product can significantly affect its appearance, functionality, and durability. Various techniques such as sanding, polishing, painting, and coating can be used to achieve a smooth finish. Post-processing techniques like dyeing, vapor smoothing, and electroplating can add color, texture, and other desired properties to the surface of the product.

When selecting the finishing process and post-processing technique, it is crucial to consider the material used, the shape and size of the object, as well as the intended use and application of the final product. For example, post-processing a medical device requires greater attention to detail and precision than post-processing a decorative object.

By understanding the various additive manufacturing finishes and post-processing techniques available and how they can impact the final product, you can make informed decisions to achieve the desired result for your project.

Laser Sintering
Level Process
Natural
Matte, white finish.
Tumbled
The surface is smoothed with a media for an eggshell finish.
Smoothed & Sealed
Bead-blasted and vapor smoothed for a sealed, satin watertight finish.
Dyed
Dyed, please specify the color.
Smoothed, Sealed, & Dyed
Vapor-sealed and dyed (specify color) for a satin, watertight finish.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are smoothed and coated in grey primer.
Painted
Parts are smoothed, primed, and painted (provide drawing with paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Multi Jet Fusion
Level Process
Natural
Matte, grey finish.
Standard
Matte finish dyed black.
Tumbled
The surface is smoothed with a media for an eggshell finish.
Smoothed & Sealed
Bead-blasted and vapor smoothed for a sealed, satin watertight finish.
Smoothed, Sealed, & Dyed
Vapor-sealed and dyed (specify color) for a satin, watertight finish.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are smoothed and coated in grey primer.
Painted
Parts are smoothed, primed, and painted (provide drawing with paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Stereolithography
Level Process
Natural
Support faces are sanded, and layer lines are visible.
Standard
Support faces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a matte/opaque finish with some layer lines visible (black will appear grey).
Improved Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Improved All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Clear
Natural finish with clear coat. The layer lines are still visible.
Improved Clear
All accessible surfaces are sanded smooth with a clear coat for optimal clarity on transparent materials.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Primed All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Painted
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, primed, and painted (provide a drawing with your paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Digital Light Processing
Level Process
Natural
Support faces are sanded, and layer lines are visible.
Standard
Support faces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a matte/opaque finish with some layer lines visible (black will appear grey).
Improved Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Improved All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Clear
Natural finish with clear coat. The layer lines are still visible.
Improved Clear
All accessible surfaces are sanded smooth with a clear coat for optimal clarity on transparent materials.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Primed All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Painted
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, primed, and painted (provide a drawing with your paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Hybrid PhotoSynthesis
Level Process
Natural
Support faces are sanded, and layer lines are visible.
Standard
Support faces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a matte/opaque finish with some layer lines visible (black will appear grey).
Improved Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Improved All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Clear
Natural finish with clear coat. The layer lines are still visible.
Improved Clear
All accessible surfaces are sanded smooth with a clear coat for optimal clarity on transparent materials.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Primed All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Painted
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, primed, and painted (provide a drawing with your paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Fused Filament Fabrication
Level Process
Natural
Supports are removed. Parts will have visible layer lines.
Improved Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded to reduce layer lines.
Smoothed & Sealed
Vapor smoothed and sealed for a watertight finish. May modify the geometry slightly.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are smoothed to reduce layer lines and coated in grey primer.
Painted
Parts are smoothed to reduce layer lines, primed, and painted (provide drawing with paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Material Jetting
Level Process
Natural
Support faces are sanded, and layer lines are visible.
Standard
Support faces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a matte/opaque finish with some layer lines visible (black will appear grey).
Improved Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Improved All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, and the entire part is bead-blasted for a smooth matte finish.
Clear
Natural finish with clear coat. The layer lines are still visible.
Improved Clear
All accessible surfaces are sanded smooth with a clear coat for optimal clarity on transparent materials.
Primed Exterior
Exterior (cosmetic) surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Primed All
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, and primed grey.
Painted
All accessible surfaces are sanded, bead-blasted, primed, and painted (provide a drawing with your paint specifications).
Custom
Custom finish. Let us know if your project requires special finishing. Please fill out our engineer-assisted quote form.
Additional Finishing Levels
Process Technology Description
Soft Touch
All Technologies
Soft, rubberlike part coating.
Light Bleaching
Material Jetting
UV treatment is used to enhance the clarity of Vero Clear material.
Vacuum Plating
Laser Sintering
Other AM technologies upon consultation.
Aluminum
Electroplating
Laser Sintering
Other AM technologies upon consultation
Copper and nickel are available.
Electromagnetic (EMI) Shielding
All technologies
A conductive paint coating is applied to the part.
The role of automated vapor smoothing additive manufactured parts for enhanced surface finishes.

Automated vapor smoothing technology is essential for improving the surface finish of additive manufactured parts. This technique involves using vapor to dissolve the outermost layers of a 3D-printed object, resulting in a smoother and more uniform surface. It is typically used on thermoplastic parts, specifically those created using laser sintering, multi-jet fusion, and fused filament fabrication.

The benefits of using automated vapor smoothing include enhanced cosmetic appearance, increased strength and durability, and better resistance to chemicals and moisture. The automated process ensures consistent results and requires minimal operator intervention.

Automated vapor smoothing in additive manufacturing is crucial for achieving high-quality surface finishes on parts, especially in aerospace, automotive, and medical devices. As 3D printing revolutionizes manufacturing capabilities, automated vapor smoothing technology will likely become more widespread and significant.