Cobalt Chrome 3D Printing Finishing Processes / /
Finishing may be necessary to help a part achieve a professional surface finish. In addition to enhancing the surface finish and appearance, finishing can add strength, rust resistance, and metal conductivity. Finishing services offered by Fathom include shot peening, electrochemical polishing, CNC finishing and more.
Abrasive Blast (Grit & Ceramic)
Abrasive blasting removes imperfections, rust, or other contaminants from a part’s surface. Abrasive blasting can also prepare the component for a coating application. Different abrasive blasting methods include micro-abrasive blasting, bristle blasting, bead blasting, etc. Steel grit, silicone, carbide, pumice, and other abrasive materials may be used during abrasive blasting.
Shot peening adds strength and reduces the stress profile of a part. When a part is shot-peened, the part’s surface is hit with multiple shots that cause deformation on the part’s surface. Once a part has undergone the shot peening process, it has a compressive stressed layer.
Optical finishing produces a superfinish or microfinish on the surface of a component, allowing the part to undergo further processing. Optical finishing is best used for low-volume projects that are not tolerance dependent. Optical polishing creates a brilliant finish while being cost-effective.
Electrochemical polishing results in a mirror-like finish on metal surfaces and is sometimes used to prepare a part for further finishing. When a part undergoes the electrochemical polishing process, it is placed into an electrolytic solution alongside a cathode of copper or lead. The part is smoothed by an electric current which moves through the solution.
Abrasive Flow Machining
Abrasive flow machining deburrs and polishes parts. A chemically inactive media is used during abrasive flow machining, removing unwanted material and polishing the part.
Electroplating adds strength and durability to a part by adding a metal layer. During electroplating, metal is dissolved in an electrolytic solution and then transferred to a part’s surface. Copper and zinc are common raw materials used during electroplating.
Micro Machining Process (MMP)
Micro machining results in a part with a mirror-like finish with great technical precision, preserving the geometries of a part. To begin the MMP process, the part is mapped using a profilometer to make a roughness profile. The part is moved to an MMP envelope where micro-milling cutters polish it.
CNC finishing or machining enhances a part’s wear resistance, metal conductivity, strength, rust resistance, etc. Other benefits of CNC finishing include improving the appearance of the part and prepping it for a final coating. Finishing may involve powder coating, bead blasting, passivation or anodizing.