IDEAL provides an integrated parts finishing service to meet your diverse needs. With our experienced in-house skills and advanced facilities, we try our best to ensure the color, texture, gloss, and surface finish of parts and exceed your expectations.
Whether it is CNC machined, urethane cast or 3D printed parts, to gain an accurate appearance of your final product, the prototype must undergo a rigorous post finishing process, which describes the final steps required before a product can be truly brought to life.
Common Post Processing & Finishing Options
Machined parts will have marks that follow the path of the cutting tool. The machined finish is that a smooth surface, created by a machine without polishing work, only needs a little handwork to clear the bur, the part could be finished and delivered quickly soon after off the machine.
The standard machined surface roughness is Ra 3.2-1.6 μm;
The smooth machined surface roughness is Ra 1.6-0.8 μm;
The super-finished surface roughness is Ra 0.8-0.2 μm.
The finishing will increase the cost of producing a part, as extra machining steps and tighter quality control are required.
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Brushing is a surface treatment process in which abrasive belts are used to draw traces on the surface of a material, usually for aesthetic purposes. Most commonly applied to aluminum. According to the brushed pattern, brushed aluminum sheets are mainly divided into straight wire brushing, chaotic brushing, corrugated brushing, rotary brushing, thread brushing, etc.
The thickness of the abrasive belts (usually between \#80-120) affects the finish. Although suitable for a handful of metals, brushing is most commonly applied to aluminum.
Design Considerations: Brushing is not recommended for parts needing a high level of corrosion resistance.
Painting involves spraying a layer of paint onto the surface of the part. Colors can be matched to a Pantone color number of the customer’s choosing, while finishes range from matte to gloss to metallic. IDEAL can achieve painting effect like Gloss, semi-gloss, flat, metallic, textured. We can also simulate a specific Mold-Tech texture or soft touch to achieve a feel similar to the texture or over-molding of injection molded parts.
Functional Coatings: UV coating is able to resist ultraviolet radiation and protect the underlying material to enhance the durability and wear or scratch resistance. With EMI, the coating is used to shield or contain electronic equipment from magnetic fields or interference.
Design Considerations: POM and PP materials do not have the required adhesiveness for painting, and Sanding should take place before painting.
GRIT SANDPAPER POLISHING
Smooth sandpaper polishing can remove machining marks, burrs, machine lines, and adhesive marks on the surface of the parts. The flatness of the part will be improved and roughness will be reduced to create a smooth and uniform look.
Each grits of the sandpaper are : 120/220/320/400/600/800/1000/1200/1500/2000/2500/
Sanded to 600 grit sandpaper surface finish is Ra 0.8 μm;
Sanded to 1000 grit sandpaper surface finish is Ra 0.4 μm;
Mirror polished and clear polished surface finish is Ra 0.1-0.05 μm.
Design Considerations: Precision requirements cannot be too high when using sand polishing. Parts with very complicated feature structures are not suitable for the process.
Bead blasting adds a uniform matte surface finish on a machined part, removing the marks of tool and sandpaper. It is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, or remove surface contaminants. The size of the air pressure and the size of the glass beads are the main process parameters. Glass beads come in different sizes from #80 to #220.
Due to the impact and cutting effect of the abrasive material on the surface of the workpiece, the properties of the workpiece surface — such as its roughness and uniformity — are altered and improved
Design Considerations: Masking or plugging is available for areas with tight tolerances. Complex, fine and intricate geometries may be difficult to blast evenly. Thin walls should not be blasted, for risk of deformation.
Anodizing is a surface treatment process that uses electrochemistry to form a layer of Al2O3 (aluminum oxide) film on the surface of aluminum and aluminum alloy, Improving corrosion resistance, enhancing wear resistance and hardness, and protecting the metal surface.
Type II anodizing is mainly used to produce parts with a uniform, aesthetically pleasing surface and provides good corrosion and limited wear resistance, The typical coating thickness: 12-18 μm for black, 8-12 μm for clear, 4-8 μm for color. Type III anodizing also known as hard anodizing, provides excellent corrosion and wear resistance, suitable for functional applications, but is more limited in color—often clear or black only. The typical thickness 30-125 μm.
Design Considerations: Anodized parts have poor electrical conductivity. All edges and corners on the workpiece should be rounded with a radius of no less than 0.5 mm, and no burrs are allowed. This prevents local overheating and burning of the workpiece caused by current concentration.
Powder coating adds a thin layer of protective polymer on the surface of the part. It uses corona discharge phenomenon to make powder coating adsorbed on the workpiece, which is a strong, wear-resistant finish. The typical thickness varies from approximately 50 μm up to 150 μm.
The application of powder coating, which is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder is a surface finishing technique used to create a hard finish tougher than normal paint. Powder coating is mainly used to coat metal parts, such as those used in household appliances.
Design Considerations: The added thickness of the coated layer makes it necessary to plug and mask holes or other tolerance-tight surfaces that will play a functional role. Most polymers used for powder coating have poor electrical conductivity.
Nickel plating is a process used to electroplate a thin layer of nickel onto a metal part. This plating can be used for corrosion and wear resistance, as well as for decorative purposes.
Electroplating Subtypes: Galvanizing, nickel plating, tin plating, passivation
During the process of electroplating, very fine layers of metal are bonded to the surface of another metal at the molecular level. The process involves creating an electrolytic cell, which uses electricity to move molecules. Electroplating can be functional, decorative or corrosion-related.
Design Considerations: Tolerances should account for plating thickness, and the part’s ability to fit into a larger assembly should be factored into all critical dimensions and tolerances. Electroplating involves the use of current. This means the overall geometry of the part will influence the current distribution across its surface, sometimes unevenly.
PRINTING & ETCHING
Etching is the process of printing produced by 'etching' patterns, shapes and designs into the surface of a metal or plastic plate, Laser etching is ideal for making precise and permanent marks on metal and and some plastics.
You can print custom text and logos on the parts.
Silk screening can be used for larger surfaces and when mixing multiple colors for even more complex graphics;
Pad printing can be used for printing on curved surfaces.
Design Considerations: For pad printing and silk screening, AI files should be provide to make the film.
Get Your Project Started Today
Still haven’t found the type of finish you want? If you have any other special requirements we pride ourselves on finding solutions for any of your custom needs. Contact us today for a free quote to get your next project started.
IDEAL is capable of providing the best post finishing, including hand-finishing, sanding, blasting, polishing, painting, and printing. We also offer a wide array of specialty surface finishing, including laser etching, anodizing, powder coating, metal plating, vacuum metalizing, chromate, chemical finishing, passivation, heat treatments, etc.
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