What Is Additive Manufacturing Post Processing?

Additive manufacturing post processing is the last step ina production design process where parts receive their finishing touches like painting and smoothing.

Why Is Post-Processing Important?

Post processing refers to the process of improving the quality of parts to make sure that they meet design specifications. The finishing process can enhance the surface characteristics, aesthetics, geometric accuracy, and mechanical properties of the part. This can make or break a sale when it comes to sample and prototypes. For production parts, finishing leads to the creation of a ready-to-use part.

Post-processing capacity

It is essential to consider the finishing capacity of an additive manufacturer when you place your order. Some companies only dedicate a small proportion of their facility for the purpose of finishing. This can lead to outsourcing, post-processing, or bottlenecks at the finishing stage for production. It can also provide one with an incentive to rush finishing. Post-processing facilities offer different finishing processes. A facility with a large finishing capacity will be able to make your parts quickly while paying close attention to detail.

Common Finishing Processes

There are different post-processing techniques in existence. Sometimes, additive manufacturing companies will specialize in different types of finishing. They may even possess their own process for proprietary finishing. Some of the most common finishing techniques are discussed below.

Natural

The natural finish is the finish that is considered the most basic. It involves the cleaning and sanding of the places where support structures hold the part. The finish does not have an impact on the geometry of the part, and it is ideal for parts that have small features. This is best used for parts that precise geometries and small features.

Standard

This is the finish that is the most common. It begins with a natural finish. Next, the bead part is blasted for the creation of a uniform matte surface. This finish is ideal for a professional look and feel and for production parts with aesthetic requirements that are average.

Standard + External

The finish starts with a standard finish that is bead blasted. Next, the exterior surface of the part is sanded for the removal of build lines or stair stepping. This creates a surface that is smooth and low friction. The finish is ideal for parts that need to glide against another surface. This finish is also best for prototypes of high quality.

As you can see, additive manufacturing post processing can offer many advantages in the manufacturing process.¬†For more information about additive manufacturing post processing, don’t hesitate to contact us.