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What are the advantages, applications and limitations of vapor smoothing?

Vapor smoothing is a post-print finishing process for 3D printed parts that uses steam to smooth surfaces. It is mainly effective on thermoplastic materials such as PA12.

1. What are the benefits of vapor smoothing?

It produces a smooth, semi-glossy finish with a smooth touch feeling and easy to clean. It can reduce porosity and improve the surface roughness of components.

2. What are the limitations of vapor smoothing?

We suggest component walls should be at least 2 mm thick to ensure structural strength after treatment and no deformation. Areas with different thicknesses may lead to different treatment results: thicker areas may smooth out more than thinner ones. Narrow, complex channels or significant undercuts may not be treated effectively due to the difficulty of allowing vapour to penetrate into narrow spaces.

3. What are the typical applications of vapor smoothing?

Functional components: vapor smoothing improves the surface characteristics of the material by making surfaces smoother, which is particularly ideal for use in applications where friction between two surfaces must be minimised.

Consumer goods: vapor smoothing improves the aesthetic properties of the component by decreasing roughness and smoothing the surface.

Industrial applications: vapor smoothing improves the mechanical properties, liquid resistance and longevity of components, making it particularly suitable for many industrial applications.

Automotive: due to the improved aesthetic characteristics conferred by the process, the parts that have undergone the process can be used for both interior and exterior components.