Vibro finishing for polymer AM parts

Plastic additive manufacturing is a layer based process, which means that parts have a certain amount of stepping and surface roughness when they come out of the machine (rather like that of an Extra Strong mint). This may be perfectly acceptable to some customers; however, others want their parts to have a smoother, more refined finish, or require them to be coloured, painted, vacuum metallised, plated or resin impregnated.

One of the primary tasks required before any finishing work can proceed is to ‘dress’ the part to remove surface roughness, or the layering effect. Traditionally done by hand, this ‘rubbing down’ can be extremely labour and cost intensive.

The gentle action of our vibro finishing machine removes the labour to obtain smooth parts with minimal time and cost being added. A two hour cycle is sufficient for large batches of small to medium sized parts. The finished parts can be used in functional testing, assembly trials, product demonstrations and launches, or in marketing photography. Alternatively, the parts can be despatched directly to the customer without any further work, which is of particular benefit for applications such as fluid flow work.

Unlike more aggressive tumbling machines, this process can finish some of the internal features of components, such as holes and voids. The only limitations to the process are that the largest size part that can fit into the machine is approx. 300mm x 300mm x 300mm. Features and walls below 2mm thickness are unlikely to survive this process. 

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