Chemical smoothing processes for laser-sintered parts have reached market maturity – which is why 1zu1 also uses the latest chemical-smoothing technology for these components. In terms of the surface finish, the resulting laser-sintered components are almost on a par with mass-produced injection-molded parts.
Until now, all available powder-based technologies could only produce rough, sand-like surfaces. While various mechanical abrasion processes were used to smooth the parts somewhat, this often made it difficult to adhere to the required dimensions and tolerances.
Recently, at 1zu1 we have introduced a brand-new technology – chemical smoothing, which is similar to galvanic processes for metal parts. The chemical smoothing process turns the rough, sand-like surface into a smooth one. This gives the components special sliding properties and makes them printable. For example, it allows threads to slide cleanly into each other without snagging.
This quantum leap in the surface quality of these plastic parts delivers a number of downstream benefits:
- Smooth surfaces for pleasant haptics.
- The parts’ bending and tensile strength, as well as their sliding properties, are all noticeably improved, e.g., for smooth-running threads, fasteners, gears, etc.
- The results of finishing steps(dyeing, varnishing)are also greatly improved. For the first time, this means that barcodes can be printed directly on the surface.
- Maximum cleanliness. The microscopically smooth surface structure makes it almost impossible for dirt to attach itself, and can thus be cleaned more effectively in contrast to conventionally smoothed surfaces.
- The SLS materials we use, PA1101 (PA11) and PA2200 (PA12), can also be sterilized. This opens up yet more application possibilities for SLSparts.
Potential for your ideas
As this smoothing technology is still in its infancy, its potential applications are far from exhausted. At 1zu1, we love breaking new ground and letting our customers benefit from our innovations.
Want to be part of it? We will be happy to advise you. Let’s use our vast potential for your ideas.