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Vapor Smoothing Services

Fine details and intricate features of a 3D print can be enhanced through vapor smoothing. We can significantly improve the overall surface finish of 3D printed objects to make them look more polished and professional. It helps to eliminate layer lines and gives the object a smoother appearance.

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Vapor Smoothing for Custom Parts

Vapor Smoothing part(1)

Vapor smoothing is a fast post-processing technique effective with certain filament materials, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene).

Vapor smoothing is a post-processing technique DEK uses to achieve a polished and refined surface finish on CNC machined parts. This process involves exposing the components to controlled vapors, which delicately melt and smooth out any irregularities or imperfections on the surface.

The result is a flawless, high-gloss appearance that not only enhances the visual appeal of the parts but also improves their overall performance. Our vapor smoothing service is particularly effective on parts with complex geometries and intricate details. It can reach recessed or hard-to-access areas that might be challenging for other finishing methods.

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More About Vapor Smoothing

What’s Vapor Smoothing?

Vapor smoothing is a technique to enhance the surface finish of 3D-printed objects, particularly those made from materials like ABS or ASA.

The process involves placing the printed object in a sealed container, adding a small amount of a solvent (such as acetone for ABS), and heating the container to create vapor. This vapor surrounds the print, causing the outer layer to melt slightly and smooth out imperfections.

After exposure, the object is allowed to dry, leaving behind a smoother surface. Care must be taken to avoid over-smoothing or deformation, and safety precautions should be followed when working with solvents. The effectiveness of vapor smoothing can vary based on the 3D printing material and solvent used.

Advantages of Vapor Smoothing

  • Surface smoothing
  • Enhanced aesthetics
  • Post-processing efficiency
  • Consistent finish
  • Minimized layer lines
  • Improved part strength
  • Reduction of porosity
  • Seamless appearance
  • Time savings
  • Increased durability

Design Considerations for Vapor Smoothing

  • Use materials like ABS or ASA for effective vapor smoothing.
  • Opt for smaller layer heights for finer details and smoother surfaces.
  • Consider specific orientations for complex parts to ensure even smoothing.
  • Design with sufficient wall thickness for better vapor smoothing results.
  • Ensure a well-ventilated area for safety during the vapor smoothing process.
  • Design supports for easy removal without leaving marks.
  • Carefully inspect the part after vapor smoothing for even results.
  • Choose an appropriate solvent based on the 3D printing material.


Vapor Smoothing FAQs

The time required for vapor smoothing can vary depending on the specific 3D printing material, the size of the object, and the smoothing method used. The process can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
Vapor smoothing is typically effective on thermoplastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate). These materials respond well to the smoothing process. Other filaments, such as PLA (Polylactic Acid), may not be suitable for traditional vapor smoothing methods, but alternative techniques like polishing or coating can be applied to achieve a smoother surface.
Vapor smoothing primarily enhances the aesthetic appearance of 3D printed objects by reducing layer lines and creating a smoother surface finish. While it may slightly increase the overall strength by minimizing weak points, the main benefits are improved visual appeal and the elimination of rough textures.

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