Many companies offer post-processing solutions to businesses that have adopted 3D printing as part of their manufacturing and production workflow, but those companies generally offer them as secondary services. However, Postprocess Technologies — as you can surmise from the name — is a company dedicated entirely to treating and processing 3D printed parts and components.
The company primarily focuses on the removal of 3D printed support material, surface finishing and smoothing and the removal and minimization of waste water by-products from the cleaning process.
Thier support material removing machines utilize a combination of water and ultrasonic waves to reduce waste water and speed up the support removal process. Companies can purchase them in multiple sizes and configurations depending on the volume of cleaning required and the types of 3D printing process that was used. Their machines can accommodate parts as large as 36in x 36in x 36in, so they are able to accommodate just about any business or manufacturer.
They also offer multiple finishing and surface smoothing services, including the use of chemicals, sealants, coatings and the use of finishing media. Finishing media are small, angular objects made of various materials that are placed in large agitating machines with the 3D printed parts. The layer lines on 3D printed objects will be worn down and are gently removed by the agitator. The type of media used is dictated by the type of 3D printed object and the material used to print it.
As 3D printing is adopted by a more diverse group of businesses it was only a matter of time before multiple types of support businesses and niche industries emerged. Post processing and finishing services look to be the latest. While 3D printing is making advancements at a very rapid pace, it isn’t going to outpace physics. Molten plastic is only going to be able to liquefy so far and still remain printable. That means layer lines are simply an unavoidable reality for most methods of 3D printing, and as demands are made for a higher quality of finished 3D printed products, post processing services are only going to become more important to the 3D printing industry.