Time to read: 3 min
Our customers have been asking for additional finishing capabilities on platform, and today we’re releasing three new finishing options on fictiv.com: vapor smoothing for Multi Jet Fusion parts, and vapor polishing and hand polishing for CNC machined parts. These capabilities improve the surface finish of parts and are available today with instant quoting.
Applicable Process and Materials: Multi Jet Fusion PA 12, PA 12 w/ glass beads
Vapor smoothing is a finishing process for Multi Jet Fusion 3D printed parts that uses a vaporized solvent to smooth the surface of a printed part without adding or removing material. The process is a controlled chemical melt that reduces the variation of peaks and valleys found on the surface of any printed part. Vapor smoothing is used to reduce or remove visual layer lines and natural imperfections that occur during printing, leaving a smooth, glossy finish — smoothing a raw MJF part also gives it a near black color.
Along with improved cosmetic qualities, vapor smoothing seals the part’s surface and improves the mechanical properties of the part by filling in microfractures and other potential points of failure if the part is put under stress. Additionally, this sealing allows liquid to bead and run off the surface.
Applicable Process and Materials: CNC machined Acrylic
Hand polishing is a manual process where the part is wet sanded using finer and finer levels of grit sandpaper, followed by buffing to achieve the desired finish. Hand polishing is performed by specially trained model makers within our overseas facilities and provides the highest optical clarity for prototype and low-volume parts.
Applicable Process and Materials: CNC machined Polycarbonate (Clear, Black)
Vapor polishing is a manual process that uses a vaporized solvent to melt the surface of the material so that plastic flows and fills in microscopic scratches and voids. The surface is polished at a microscopic level and no material is lost in the process, similar to vapor smoothing.
At Fictiv, Weld-on 4 liquid solvent is vaporized — using a machine not unlike a steam iron for clothes — and applied to the part surface to create a clear finish. This process can be dangerous, so it requires a controlled and sealed environment and trained personnel wearing respiratory safety equipment.
This process results in a near optically clear surface finish and is commonly used in applications where high levels of transparency are required. The clarity from vapor polishing polycarbonate (PC) does not reach the same levels of polished acrylic/PMMA (which was developed to be the clearest plastic on the market). However, for high scratch resistance and high strength applications, vapor polished PC is a popular choice.
Sourcing Simplified – Start Your Next Project With Fictiv
For all your custom 3D printed and CNC machined part manufacturing and finishing needs, Fictiv has you covered. We’re experts at producing custom mechanical parts, in a variety of materials, and we simplify custom part sourcing with intelligent, streamlined, automated workflows. Fictiv is your operating system for custom manufacturing that makes part procurement faster, easier, and more efficient.
Create an account and upload your part to see what our instant quote process, design for manufacturability feedback, and intelligent platform can do for you. Our 3D printing service can create your parts in as little as 24 hours, and our CNC machining service manufactures parts in as fast as 2 days!