Post processing 3D prints as Rösler launches RapidFinish

Post processing 3D prints is an important, and sometimes neglected, part of the 3D printing workflow. Rösler Benelux, a manufacturer of industrial finishing equipment and chemicals, has announced the launch of its RÖSLER RapidFinish technology, a multi-functional platform for surface finishing 3D printed metal and plastic objects.

Rösler Benelux will be demonstrating the RapidFinish at the TechniShow in Utrecht, an international trade show for the manufacturing industry. Attendees will be given the opportunity to test its RapidFinish smoothing technology.

3D printed plastic object before and after RapidFinish. Photo via Rösler.
3D printed plastic object before and after RapidFinish. Photo via Rösler.

The need for smooth finishing

While 3D printing cuts lead times and accommodates the construction of complex geometries, objects that come directly out of the 3D printer are unfinished with rough surfaces, edges and corners.

As Rösler notes, in the case of FDM/FFF plastic 3D printing, layer-lines are usually visible, which may deter customers wishing to use high-quality components in high-value industries.

In the case of metal 3D printing, the excess metal powder may give objects a rough surface, and render them unsuitable for automotive, medical, dentistry, jewelry and aviation end-uses.

Surface finishing inside a Rösler slide-grinder machine. Photo via Rösler.

Rösler’s finishing machines

Rösler currently offers a wide range of surface-finishers, rotary vibrators and blast cabinets to the surface quality of 3D printed objects.

While Rösler has not specified much about the multifunctional RapidFinish platform, it has revealed that glass-plastic bead blasting and slide grinding are “the most popular methods for achieving smooth 3D printed products,” and that these technologies are best applied to finishing the surface of plastic and metal objects.

Glass-Plastic bead blasting, a process also offered by companies like DyeMansion and Guyson, involves the impacting plastic surfaces with a stream of round particles of metal, glass, or ceramics, which smoothes the surfaces.

In slide-grinding, ceramic or plastic-bonded chips are brought into contact with a 3D printed product inside a vibrating, liquid-filled drum. The composition and size of the chips affect how smooth the surface finish of the object is.

Rosler also promises that the RapidFinish will offer a “fully-automated” yet a “sustainable, environmentally friendly processing technique.”

The RapidFinish will be on display at TechniShow Utrecht, Hall 8, Stand 088, from 20 to 23 March 2018.

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Featured image shows a Rösler Shotblasting machine for large metal components. The RapidFinish will be for smaller end-use parts. Photo via Rösler.