Common Surface Finishes Used for 3D Printing Parts

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by assistant

3D printing is commonly used in the current market to make small batches of prototypes. Its two biggest advantages include its freedom of design and high production efficiency.

However, the surface finish of the printed part is usually relatively low. Not only does this affect the appearance of the part, but it can also affect tolerances. Therefore surface treatment is one of the indispensable steps.

3D Printed Medical Devices

This article will introduce common surface treatments for 3D printing parts to provide you with a more detailed guide.

● Polishing
Sanding is a common surface treatment for 3D printed parts. Because the surface of the workpieces that has just been printed is rough or has protrusions. Instead, it is made smoother by rubbing the surface of the part with a special sandpaper.

Polishing for 3D Printing Parts

Sanding is a simple, cheap, and effective way to make 3D printed parts smoother than other surface treatments. At the same time, you need to pay attention to grinding them carefully. Otherwise, it is easy to damage the parts due to excessive grinding.

If you need to make the surface of the 3D printed part more smooth and more shiny, then you can also choose to polish to achieve it.

● Spray Painting
To add different colors on the printed parts, spray paint is a good choice. Because you can adjust any color you want to make parts have other colors.

Generally speaking, before painting, the 3D printed parts must be polished first, otherwise, the painting effect will be poor. In the painting process, a layer of primer is applied to the surface of the part to fill the small gaps on the surface, and then a layer of paint is applied.

After painting, the surface of the 3D printed part can reduce some porosity while enhancing its aesthetics.

Spray Printing for 3D Printing Parts

● Plating
Electroplating can be applied not only to metal parts to enhance their corrosion resistance and weldability but also to plastic parts. It enhances various properties of plastic parts by electroplating a layer of metal on the surface. This is also one of the surface treatments commonly used for 3D printed parts.

Compared to metal parts, plastic 3D printed parts are relatively fragile and easily damaged. Metal plating can effectively enhance its wear resistance and durability.

Plating 3D Printed Parts
● Sandblasting
Sandblasting is often used for parts after CNC machining and sheet metal processing, and can also be used on 3D printed parts. Its processing is usually in a closed space, by spraying tiny abrasive particles on the surface of the part, so that the surface can form a smooth and more textured surface. The process takes only a few minutes to blast a single part.

The above are the four surface treatments commonly used in 3D printing parts. Each has its processing characteristics and uses, and you can choose the treatment that best suits your specific project needs.

At Ruitai, we provide two 3D printing methods: SLA and SLS rapid prototyping, including various post-processing methods. As long as you send the drawings and other processing requirements to our team, we can quote for you within two hours. Or you can contact us here.