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Wohlers Specialty Report on Post-Processing – Printed

Final Steps of AM Part Production

This report covers in detail the different types of post-processing techniques used for the major additive manufacturing technologies. It includes steps such as support removal, heat treatment, surface finishing, and more. The report also looks at major players in the post-processing industry and significant news from the past year.

ISBN 978-1-6220-4965-3

Post-processing is one of the most crucial stages in producing high-quality and useful parts in additive manufacturing. It is commonly understood that the time and cost to perform post-processing is high. It is even higher in some cases than the actual time and cost of printing the part itself. This is primarily because of the reliance on conventional finishing methods and the lack of automation in this space. It is also due to the special features that distinguish AM from conventional manufacturing. This report includes:

  • State-of-the-art post-processing solutions
  • Leading post-processing system manufacturers
  • Post-processing techniques available applicable to metals and polymers, including;
    • Material removal
    • Part finishing
    • Thermal treatments

The report was created by a team of experts at Wohlers Associates—the same group that produced Wohlers Report 2022, the undisputed, industry-leading report on AM for 27 years.

PART 1: Introduction to Post-Processing

  • AM post-processing matrix
  • AM process flowcharts

PART 2: Recent Developments in Post-Processing for AM

  • Key developments in post-processing
  • July 2021 to November 2022
    • Addiblast
    • Additive Manufacturing Technologies
    • AM Efficiency
    • AM-Flow
    • AM Solutions
    • DyeMansion
    • Oryx Additive
    • PostProcess Technologies
    • Rena
    • Rivelin Robotics
    • Solukon

PART 3: The AM Mindset

  • The reality of AM
  • Design for AM
  • Design for post-processing
  • Joining AM parts

PART 4: Polymer Support Material Removal

  • Material extrusion
    • Single material system
    • Break-away support material
    • Soluble support material
  • Vat photopolymerization
  • Material jetting
  • Powder bed fusion

PART 5: Material Support Removal

  • Powder removal
    • Laser powder bed fusion
    • Complications of powder removal in PBF-LB
    • The factors for consideration in selecting a powder removal strategy
    • Manual powder removal
    • Integrated powder removal solutions
    • Automated powder removal solutions
    • Electron beam powder bed fusion
    • Metal binder jetting
  • Part removal from build plate
  • Support material removal
    • Manual
    • Wire EDM
    • Electrochemical
    • Metal material extrusion

PART 6: Surface Finishing

  • Abrasive flow machining
  • Anodizing
  • Machining and grinding
  • Media blasting
  • Passivating and phosphating
  • Plasma and ion-beam cleaning
  • Plasma spraying
  • Shot peening
  • Strengthening gypsum parts
  • Strengthening MEX parts
  • Hiding layer lines with textures
  • Vapor smoothing
    • Manual
    • Automated
  • Vibratory polishing
    • High-speed centrifugal barrel finishing

PART 7: Coloring and Coating

  • Dyeing
  • Painting and clear coating
  • Hydrographics
  • Wrapping
  • Metalizing polymer parts
  • Electroplating
  • Physical vapor deposition

PART 8: Heat Treatment

  • Residual stress relief
  • Annealing
  • Case hardening
  • Gas nitriding
  • Precipitation hardening
  • Hot isostatic pressing
  • Sintering

PART 9: Summary

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