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Post-processing of 3D Printing

by: Dec 16,2022 2687 Views 0 Comments Posted in 3D Printing

After 3D printing is complete, the part usually needs to be post-processed. Post-processing refers to all the work performed after the part comes out of the 3D printer, and this piece of the article will cover three of these steps: cleaning, annealing and coloring.

Cleaning: This step includes desoldering, rinsing, brushing, and blowing. It removes all the excess powder and material. The time spent depends on the printing process used, for example, for powder sintering, this is usually a very time consuming step that increases manufacturing time.

Annealing: Used for raising the temperature of the part to improve its mechanical properties, including heat resistance, UV resistance, strength or thermal stability. This step mainly involves polymer parts - for example, for resin processes, there are curing machines used directly with specific printers. For powder bonding or indirect metal 3D printing processes, the part must be degreased and then sintered in a suitable oven.

In addition, there are two ways to optimize the appearance of the part: surface treatment and coloring.

Surface treatment includes all methods used to improve the appearance of the part: smoothing, polishing, sandblasting, penetration or milling. These processes can modify the surface of the part by adding or removing material.

Coloring: mainly refers to staining and painting. The choice between the two depends mainly on the printing material used. For example, coloring is more suitable for processes based on polymer powders, while painting is more suitable for parts manufactured using FDM.

Post-processing is a key step in improving the visual appearance and final characteristics of the part. It also allows the user to correct certain print defects that can be camouflaged by removing the appearance of the print layer. In addition, post-processing allows some plastic parts to have properties similar to those of metal parts, resulting in significant price reductions.

Note: Most post-processing techniques are based on other manufacturing methods, not additive manufacturing. Post-processing techniques in additive manufacturing processes can vary. For example, FDM parts must be handled differently than metal parts. Therefore, post-processing is an important aspect of the 3D printing process to consider.

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