This paper aims to investigate the effect of post-processing techniques on dimensional accuracy of laser sintering (LS) of Nylon and Alumide® and fused deposition modelling (FDM) of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) materials.
Additive manufacturing (AM) of test pieces using LS of Nylon and Alumide® powders, as well as the FDM of ABS materials, were first conducted. Next, post-processing of the test pieces involved tumbling, shot peening, hand finishing, spray painting, CNC machining and chemical treatment. Touch probe scanning of the test pieces was undertaken to assess the dimensional deviation, followed by statistical analysis using Chi-square and Z-tests.
The deviation ranges of the original built parts with those being subjected to tumbling, shot peening, hand finishing, spray painting, CNC machining or chemical treatment were found to be different. Despite the rounding of sharp corners and the removal of small protrusions, the dimensional accuracy of relatively wide surfaces of Nylon or Alumide® test pieces were not significantly affected by the tumbling or shot peening processes. The immersion of ABS test pieces into an acetone bath produced excellent dimensional accuracy.
Only Nylon PA2200 and Alumide® processed through LS and ABS P400 processed through FDM were investigated. Future work could also examine other materials and using parts produced with other AM processes.
The service bureaus that produce prototypes and end-use functional parts through AM will be able to apply the findings of this investigation.
This research has outlined the differences of post-processing techniques such as tumbling, shot peening, hand finishing, spray painting, CNC machining and chemical treatment. The paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each of those methods and suggests that the immersion of ABS test pieces into an acetone bath produced excellent dimensional accuracy.
This research was supported by Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) through the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) and Product Development Technology Station (PDTS) and De Montfort University (UK). The authors acknowledge also the support of University of Rwanda-College of Science and Technology (UR-CST). Funding for this work was made available by the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant №97994) and the Collaborative Program in Additive Manufacturing (Contract №CSIR-NLC-CPAM-15-MOA-CUT-01).
Nsengimana, J., Van der Walt, J., Pei, E. and Miah, M. (2019), "Effect of post-processing on the dimensional accuracy of small plastic additive manufactured parts", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-09-2016-0153
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