Post Processing Steps for Metal 3D Printing

Printing is one of many steps in the process chain from CAD file to finished object.

Step 1: De-Powdering

Once the printer has completed the printing process, the component must first be depowdered. To do this, the powder surrounding the component is removed from the build envelope. This can be done manually or with the aid of a vacuum cleaner. If the powder used is a non-reactive material (i.e. no titanium or aluminum), the powder can be extracted directly with the vacuum cleaner. So that the extracted powder is not lost, it should be recycled with a powder separator. 2oneLab offers the 2Clean powder recycling system for this purpose. With the help of a cyclone separator, the powder is separated for further use.

Dental component made of CoCr after 3D printing in the powder bed.

The recycled powder should be sieved before it is used again. Ultrasonic sieve systems such as the 2Sieve solution from 2oneLab are recommended for this purpose.

Step 2: Heat treatment

During the printing process, internal stresses occur due to the high temperature gradient in the material. The intensity of this effect depends very much on the material. Particularly in the case of very filigree components, such as partials or multi-element bridges made of CoCr, these internal stresses can lead to distortion (deformation) of the components. In this case, heat treatment of the components is recommended. During this annealing, the stresses in the material are relieved.

Dental Printed Parts Partials & crownsDental Part after Anealing
Anealing of CoCr Parts
Heat treatment temperature Profile for CoCr

Step 3*: Hybrid processes / Additional Machine Work

Particularly in the dental field, CNC finishing of components may be necessary. Abudments must be reworked at their interface in the CNC process.

2oneLab uses certain position markers which are printed on the build platform to link the coordinates on the build platform with those of the CNC machining.

Supports on 3D Printed Dental Components

Step 3: Support removal

Supports are essential for 3D printing metals. As useful as they are for printing, they must of course be removed after printing. Unfortunately, this process can only be automated at great cost and is a purely manual process. The supports are cut from the build platform with a band saw. The individual support rods can then be detached from the component using pliers.

Step 4: Surface treatment

Depending on the application, the surface of the components can then be improved. This can be done by various processes:

  • Sandblasting
  • Electropolishing
  • Coating

Contact us today to learn more about our 3D printing solutions.

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