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Sanding is a surface finishing technique that is well knowm. It involves using rough material such as sandpaper to smooth out and remove small imperfections from the surface.

When you remove any 3D-printed items from the printer, one can see the thin lines where each new layer begins. It does not matter for certain industrial products, but for consumer goods, prototypes, and other things on display, when the product is to be as esthetically appealing as possible. Sanding eliminates imperfections and gives a surface that is smooth.

Sanding comes in handy when planning to apply any kind of coat to the surface because it’s going to have to be smooth so that the coating comes out evenly. While sanding is effective, one downside is that it can be time consuming, especially if done by hand. Some spots, particularly small holes and undercuts, can also be difficult to reach.

Bead Blasting

Bead blasting is more effective for those hard-to-reach areas. In this process, you use a spray gun to fire finely ground thermoplastics at the surface, blow away imperfections, and smooth out the surface in a manner similar to sanding. Bead blasting, however, can be done in a much shorter time and can reach the inside of the channels and other tricky spots.

As with sanding, bead blasting is useful for enhancing the product’s esthetics. It will result in a smooth, matt surface. This is also an easy way to smooth out the substance before applying the coating so that it adheres correctly. If you are using bead blasting, be sure to start at low pressure and slowly increase it if you need to stay too long in any place. Pressure that’s too high or that stays on one spot for too long can blow away too much of your part and create small divots.

Shot Peening

Shot peening is a method similar to bead blasting, but it is used with a specific target in mind. Other than removing imperfections or unnecessary defects from the surface of the product, this technique is primarily used to improve the strength and durability of the part.

Pressurized air fires tiny metal or plastic beads on the surface at high speeds, similar to bead blowing. These particles create small dimples on the surface of the object under which the stress of compression is formed, and as the beads bomb the component, the dimples begin to overlap.

The compressive stress, the type of stress that decreases the length of the object, replaces the tensile stress in the object, which increases the length of the object. The stress of compression makes the surface stronger and helps to resist fatigue, wear, cracking, and cavity erosion.

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