Post Processing for 3D Printing, Laser polishing of 3D Printed Plastic Components

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by Karsten Braun, Scientist, Fraunhofer Institute for laser technology ILT

Despite their great potential for individualization, 3D-printing processes for polymer parts like SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) have the particular disadvantage of a high surface roughness; therefore, surface finishing is often necessary. However, current finishing procedures often have deficits such as low flexibility, long process times or incorporation of abrasives in the component. Therefore, Fraunhofer ILT is developing a non-contact, laser-based polishing process for additively manufactured plastic components.

In this presentation process basics of laser polishing including a special process strategy called “quasi-top-hat scanning strategy” that is especially suited for plastics will be explained and recent achievements on 3D-printed polymer parts will be presented. Example materials are Polyamide, PEEK or TPU and example roughness values after laser polishing are between Sa = 0.1 µm and Sa = 1 µm. It will also be discussed where laser polishing might be applicable as an ancillary post process in the future.

Using a laser means also using the photonics technology! This is an interesting application of photonics.

For more information go to https://www.3dprintingevent.com or www.jakajima.eu.

Watch more 3D Printing presentation and videos on www.jakajima.eu/tv

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