3D Printing ProcessesPost-Processing

A new media mix for more efficient surface finishing of 3D printed plastic

Developed by AM Solutions for a wide spectrum of applications

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With its latest development of a new media type for post-processing of thermoplastic components, AM Solutions is further expanding its product portfolio for 3D printing. The new media permits the safe, cost-efficient finishing of 3D printed components with different shapes and sizes in one single process step and with absolutely repeatable results. This eliminates the time-consuming and costly media changes for different processing stages. In combination with the respective printing know-how, the new media mix generates a perfect, finely structured, and highly homogeneous surface finish. With the growing utilization of additive manufacturing for the volume production of plastic components, the requirements for cost-efficiency and high-quality surface finishes are becoming more demanding.

With a team of experts in the field of automated post-processing, the Rösler brand AM Solutions met this challenge by introducing a media that generates repeatable, high-quality finishing results on thermoplastic components, which are printed with the powder-bed-based printing technology MJF and SLS. For this novel product, the AM Solutions experts took advantage of the comprehensive development know-how of Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH. With more than 15,000 products Rösler offers the largest portfolio of media and compounds in the world.

The material, shape, and size of the new media have been perfectly adapted to the post-processing requirements of 3D printed plastic components. Christoph Bätz, Project Engineer at AM Solutions, explained: “The composition of the new media mix was developed through numerous processing trials. The result is a product that allows the surface finishing of a broad spectrum of components with different shapes and sizes. Irrespective of whether small, delicate workpieces or large components must be treated, the result is always a highly homogeneous, consistent, and repeatable finish”. The grinding performance depends on the geometrical complexity of the workpieces. For certain applications, the surface roughness can be reduced from Ra = 15 μm to Ra = 3 μm within 240 minutes.

Multi-stage finishing processes require frequently multiple media changes. Since the new MJF/SLS media already contains an optimum mix of different shapes and sizes, the need for such changes could be completely eliminated. Maintaining the correct processing sequence is also no longer necessary. This facilitates the overall handling considerably. In addition, since the new media type can be used for a broad range of applications, stocking multiple media types for different workpiece categories is no longer needed. This represents a significant cost saving. But a higher cost-efficiency is only one part of the story. The new media also helps improve the stability and safety of the finishing processes. Of course, a significant factor is also the consistently high quality of the ceramic media, which is guaranteed through a mostly digitized and tightly controlled manufacturing process.

Rainer Schindhelm, Division Manager for the Production of Consumables at Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH commented: “Decades of valuable experience allow us to continuously develop new products that offer a significant added value for our customers and provide solutions to the challenges they have to face. The perfectly adapted interaction between machine, consumables and process know-how makes the innovative, unique solutions of Rösler and its brand AM Solutions – 3D post-processing technology highly successful”.

The surface finishing of particularly delicate workpieces with complex geometries poses especially demanding 3D post-processing challenges. In combination with optimized printing methods, the new media mix generates highly homogeneous results for these difficult finishing tasks. At the same time, it minimizes scrap and saves costs.

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Andrea Gambini

Andrea has always loved reading and writing. He started working in an editorial office as a sports journalist in 2008, then the passion for journalism and for the world of communication in general, allowed him to greatly expand his interests, leading to several years of collaborations with several popular online newspapers. Andrea then approached 3D printing, impressed by the great potential of this new technology, which day after the day pushed him to learn more and more about what he considers a real revolution that will soon be felt in many fields of our daily life.

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