ActOn has recently had the opportunity to develop a finishing process for an additive manufacturing company, that builds 3D parts for a wide array of engineering sectors.
The client enquired as to whether we could find a suitable process that would bring a high polished and smooth finish to one side of the component whilst leaving the other untouched.
The entire component is built via additive manufacturing and it includes a 3D mesh. Hence whilst the front side appears smooth the back of the Inconel component would comprise of a very fine mesh with numerous gaps. Therefore, the mesh side of the part must be completely covered to an air tight tolerance during any mass finishing process. This ensures that no lodgement of media can contaminate the mesh side and no impingement occurs on the structural integrity of the wheel.
- Improve surface finish and polish the upper side of the part
- Make sure the mesh side of the component is untouched during the finishing process
Solution developed for the additive manufacturing company
We examined the component and determined that a masking solution should be developed to cover the mesh side. We designed the masking solution to be air tight in order to not move while the part was processed.
We conducted a 3 stages trial:
- We carried out the first stage by deburring the wheel in the ActOn Centrifugal High Energy machine with an abrasive ceramic media and an acidic compound. This compound is great for removing scale, brightening and polishing ferrous metals.
- To smooth the surface we used a medium abrasive ceramic media and the same acidic compound. For a more effective process we finished the part in the same finishing machine.
- The last stage included polishing the surface in the High Energy machine using only pre-treated media. We have proved through extensive testing that the pre-treated media produces a bright mirror finish, in a reduced time, in the High Energy machine.
- This process achieved a 90% loss in roughness average, as requested by the customer.
- The masking solution developed by us was successful and completely protected the rear side of the component.
- Furthermore the polished finish required on one of the surface was achieved in only 3 hours without affecting the other side of the wheel.
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