3D Printing Industry

One of the newest manufacturing processes that RPA has had to work to finish involves the 3D printing industry. Parts can be pretty much printed from any materials, with the most popular being plastic, RPA has worked on developing a finishing process on stainless steel.

As parts are 3D printed the layers that are laid out tend to leave a very jagged rough surface, and if there are any internal areas they are just as rough. Once the part has completed 3D printing in, order for the part to be usable the internal and external areas need to be finished. Sometimes this is can be accomplished by setting them up in a CNC machine and creating a program to machine the surfaces down, but other times the shapes are so complex that machining is impossible. That’s where RPA comes in! We can develop a process that will smooth both internal and external surfaces reducing the need for valuable machine time, and reach those areas that machining cannot. Also, the processes that RPA develops tend to remove minimal material allowing for printing to do closer dimensional tolerances. RPA has finished 3D printed parts using a variety of processes such as; tumble, bead blast, hand polish and or buff. Of course any of these processes can be combined if the part requires more than one step to reach its final end use state. RPA has taken parts measuring Ra of 100+ micro inches and brought them down to Ra of 45 or under micro inches, and this is with stainless steel!

In addition to providing a smooth finish to 3D printed stainless steel parts, RPA has also used passivation to maintain the rust resistance of stainless steel. So if your next project consists of 3D printed parts let RPA provide a free quote on finishing the part.