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Vapor Polishing Services

Vapor Polishing-the best technique for polishing the surface of 3D-printed objects, particularly those made with thermoplastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), helps to reduce layer lines and imperfections, giving the object a more polished appearance or glossy finish.

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Vapor Polishing for Custom Parts

Vapor polishing part(1)

This is an affordable choice to enhance the visual appeal of prints without investing in expensive machinery. It also improves transparency for certain materials like ABS.

DEK's vapor polishing is quicker than manual post-processing methods like sanding or filling, especially for large or intricate objects. We provide a more consistent finish across the entire surface of the printed object, avoiding variations that can occur with manual finishing methods.

DEK offers efficient results with compatible materials, minimizing the need for different finishing techniques. Furthermore, it requires less manual effort compared to other traditional post-processing methods. Vapor polishing is a simpler, more user-friendly option for achieving a glossy or transparent appearance on the surface of a 3D-printed object.

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More About Vapor Polishing

What’s Vapor Polishing?

Vapor polishing is a finishing technique used in manufacturing and 3D printing processes, particularly with materials like plastics. Vapor polishing improves the surface finish of a 3D printed object, giving it a smoother and more polished appearance.

The process involves exposing the 3D printed part to a vaporized solvent or a specific chemical that selectively smooths the surface by slightly melting or reflowing the outer layers of the material. This can help reduce layer lines and surface imperfections for a more aesthetically pleasing final product. The specific solvent or chemical used in vapor polishing depends on the type of material the 3D printed object is made from.

Commonly used materials for vapor polishing include ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PLA (Polylactic Acid). Vapor polishing should be done cautiously, as improper use or exposure to harsh chemicals can damage or deform the printed object. Safety precautions, proper ventilation, and adherence to recommended guidelines are essential when using vapor polishing techniques.

Advantages of Vapor Polishing

  • Smoothing surfaces
  • Enhancing transparency
  • Improving surface finish
  • Reducing roughness
  • Eliminating visible layer lines
  • Enhancing aesthetic appeal
  • Achieving polished and glossy appearance
  • Facilitating light transmission
  • Streamlining manufacturing process
  • Minimizing post-processing requirements

Design Considerations for Vapor Polishing

  • Effective with certain thermoplastics like ABS.
  • May not work well with all 3D printing materials.
  • Consider material compatibility with the chosen solvent.
  • Solvents used can be flammable.
  • Health risks if not used properly.
  • Follow safety guidelines, work in well-ventilated areas, use protective equipment.
  • Vapor polishing can lead to loss of fine details.
  • Process involves melting the outer layer.
  • Intricate details may be softened or lost.
  • Achieving optimal results needs skill and experience.
  • Control exposure duration and solvent choice.
  • Avoid over-smoothing or damage to the print.


Vapor Polishing FAQs

Vapor polishing is most effective on thermoplastics such as acrylic (PMMA), polycarbonate (PC), and certain other plastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). It is not recommended for thermosetting plastics.
Vapor polishing polycarbonate involves exposing the material to a controlled environment with vaporized solvent, typically dichloromethane or a similar substance. The process smoothens the surface of polycarbonate, reducing visible imperfections and creating a polished finish. The specific parameters, including time and temperature, depend on the material and the equipment used.
Acetone vapor polishing is a technique used primarily on ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic. The process involves exposing the ABS part to acetone vapors, which slightly melts the surface, allowing it to re-solidify with a smoother finish.
Yes, acrylic (PMMA) is one of the plastics commonly subjected to vapor polishing. The process involves exposing the acrylic material to a vaporized solvent, like dichloromethane or acetone, in a controlled environment. This smoothes out the surface imperfections, creating a polished and transparent finish on the acrylic part.

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