How to Eliminate Manual Surface Finishing For Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D Printed Parts

It’s no surprise that the additive manufacturing (AM) industry is continuing to expand at a rapid pace. In fact, it’s projected that 3D printing will grow to a whopping $49.1 billion industry by 2025. Particularly, MJF 3D printing technology is being utilized more and more as a means of developing complex functional parts with low unit pricing. If you’re considering 3D printing options, keep in mind that powder-based MJF print technology has a significant number of advantages over other 3D printing methods.

For example, MJF allows for faster overall cycle times and is capable of notably broader design flexibility compared to other popular 3D printing techniques like FDM or the powder-based SLS. As far as sustainability and eco-friendliness are concerned, MJF printing is a vetted sustainable option, as it allows a high percentage of the powdered material it employs to be recycled. This longer material purchasing cycle not only helps to reduce costs, but makes the MJF a sustainable choice for both your budget and the environment.

That being said, there is an aspect of the MJF printing process that is less than ideal – its surface finishing options. These current techniques hold the ability to cause a variety of issues in the additive workflow, as most require a significant amount of tedious manual labor. These processes tend to involve arcane tools like sandpaper, sanding blocks, or even small dremel tools. Plus, as anyone who has had to hire technical workers knows; manual labor can be quite costly, and at times, hard to come by.

If your business decides not to hire technicians to execute surface finishing, there is a good chance that instead, engineers will be spending precious working hours sanding away at printed parts. This engineering time devoted to post-processing could be otherwise spent working on more significant projects. These various inefficiencies tend to culminate as post-print bottlenecks, preventing production volumes from being achieved, and disrupting streamlined workflows.

Alternatively, traditional vibratory surface finishing systems are also frequently used to post-process MJF printed parts. The issue with this approach is that it lacks significant control as a subtractive manufacturing process. Vibratory systems run a high risk of damage, or at the very least, wearing down the intricate geometry of the parts. This technique has a tendency of resulting in wide inconsistencies and breakage. Our most recent white paper discusses a new, automated approach that mitigates these challenges with a software-driven solution designed specifically for additive manufacturing.

This paper covers:

  • The benefits of a novel automated post-printing method for surface finishing.
  • Opportunities to achieve surface finish values of less than 2-microns across a variety of MJF printer platforms.
  • Key considerations like part density and hardness.
  • Manufacturing factors including the impact of print technology and print orientation on the surface profile.

This aforementioned surface finishing technology prevents bottlenecks, frees up labor costs, and provides rapid, consistent results that preserve complex details.

Read through our white paper to learn about the software-driven automation, suspended rotational force, and patent-pending chemicals that make this automated technology so revolutionary to the MJF surface finishing process.

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