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Pre and post processing techniques to improve surface characteristics of FDM parts: a state of art review and future applications

Jasgurpreet Singh Chohan (Department of Mechanical Engineering, I.K.G. Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, India)
Rupinder Singh (Department of Production Engineering, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, India)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




The purpose of this paper is to review the various pre-processing and post-processing approaches used to ameliorate the surface characteristics of fused deposition modelling (FDM)-based acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prototypes. FDM being simple and versatile additive manufacturing technique has a calibre to comply with present need of tailor-made and cost-effective products with low cycle time. But the poor surface finish and dimensional accuracy are the primary hurdles ahead the implementation of FDM for rapid casting and tooling applications.


The consequences and scope of FDM pre-processing and post-processing parameters have been studied independently. The comprehensive study includes dominance, limitations, validity and reach of various techniques embraced to improve surface characteristics of ABS parts. The replicas of hip implant are fabricated by maintaining the optimum pre-processing parameters as reviewed, and a case study has been executed to evaluate the capability of vapour smoothing process to enhance surface finish.


The pre-processing techniques are quite deficient when different geometries are required to be manufactured within limited time and required range of surface finish and accuracy. The post-processing techniques of surface finishing, being effective disturbs the dimensional stability and mechanical strength of parts thus incapacitates them for specific applications. The major challenge for FDM is the development of precise, automatic and controlled mass finishing techniques with low cost and time.

Research limitations/implications

The research assessed the feasibility of vapour smoothing technique for surface finishing which can make consistent castings of customized implants at low cost and shorter lead times.


The extensive research regarding surface finish and dimensional accuracy of FDM parts has been collected, and inferences made by study have been used to fabricate replicas to further examine advanced finishing technique of vapour smoothing.



The authors would like to thank the AICTE, New Delhi for supporting the experimentation by providing NCP Grant. The authors would like to extend their acknowledgements to I.K.G. Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar for providing an opportunity to carry out the research work.


Chohan, J.S. and Singh, R. (2017), "Pre and post processing techniques to improve surface characteristics of FDM parts: a state of art review and future applications", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 495-513.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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