SLS and MJF 3D printed parts have new options for finish and color.
These powder-based 3D printing processes are proving quite popular. Parts made via SLS or MJF 3D printing processes are often geometrically complex, strong, and quite capable of performing in industrial environments. But they can look a little bit dull.
Due to the lasers involved in these processes, which can reflect off of white powder, color options tend to be quite limited. The finish of the parts are also often very easily discernible as having come off these types of systems. At this point, I can probably spot an MJF part at 100 yards.
As more post-processing options continue to open up the final look of parts, SLS and MJF technologies are increasingly targeted. We’re quickly waving farewell to the Henry Ford-esque era of these parts being available “in any color you want as long as it’s black” (or grey).
A relatively newer entrant onto the scene is Southampton-based AMufacture. The company describes itself on its LinkedIn page as:
“We specialise in small and large format Additive Manufacturing for composite tooling and functional parts.
Our Additive Manufacturing or AMufacturing as we like to call it, capacities mean we can print from very small to very large and post CNC in one process.
We offer PRINT 2 CAST solutions, skipping tooling altogether should you need to as well as Generative Design and composite structure consultation.”
The AMufacture team offers design, 3D printing, and now an interesting technology take to serve their customers. They recently introduced AMuCoat, their proprietary technology response to offer “an alternative finish and color options for SLS and MJF parts.”
“Making parts is what we do, it makes up a large proportion of our customers’ requests, and we have made a significant number of them over the years, many of which have been produced in SLS or MJF.
As the quality and accuracy of SLS and MJF parts is transforming the 3D printing industry, increasingly being used in prototyping and serial production, the advances in technology and end client applications has increased the demand for improvements in finish and colours.”
The finishing appears to smooth some of the telltale porosity of these technologies’ results. AMufacture indicates that the AMuCoat has seen successful deployment in several materials (and these just “so far”):
- SLS PA12
- SLS PA12 GF
- SLS PA12 FR
- SLS PP
- MJF PA12
- MJF PA12 GB
- MJF TPU
Of color, they note:
“AMuCoat is currently available in AMuCoat ONYX Yellow and what we believe will be our most popular colour, AMuCoat ONYX Grey. We plan to expand our colour range quickly with other colours coming on stream soon. If you have a specific request, please contact us.”
It’s heartening to see another entrant into the finishing field, especially for these processes.