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topic 60764

What Shiny Coating to Use for 3-D Printed Aluminum Casting?


May 21, 2018

Q. Hi

We have a piece of aluminium cast from a 3D print; as you would expect, the finish is a dull grey.

What would be the most efficient and effective treatment to obtain a shiny finish, say a Rose Gold?

Thank you

Mark Clarke
3D Designer - London, London, UK


May 2018

A. Hi Matt. Finishing/coating 3-D printed metals is still rather new to many of us in the finishing industry. We've had "Guidelines" for the design of parts to make them readily plateable/finishable for decades, but the 3-D printing and other rapid prototyping technologies of today are growing explosively, and involve many approaches such that the answer may depend on what metal forming methods were used …

My limited understanding of 3-D printed metals tells me that they tend to be porous … they may be made of mixed materials (some kind of binders as well as the aluminum?) … and the curing may involve heat that oxidizes the surface and makes it difficult to plate or coat.

If there is no special reason to want a metallic coating (electroplating), I think organic coatings (electrophoretic lacquer, powder coating, or paint) will be more practical. You could do electrophoretic lacquer (electrocoating) and a "rose gold" tinted post dip. Even then some extra prep, pre-baking for outgassing, etc., may be required beyond what is usually used for conventionally built components. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



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