3D Printing, 3D Printing Materials, Post-Processing

Surface Finishing Using TAF Technology

By TriMech on April 28, 2020

Surface finishing is the final step in producing a part to ensure it looks as close as possible to the intended design. There are multiple ways to finish a part and most require extensive manual labor and harsh chemicals to acquire that perfect finish. Thermal Atomized Fusillade (TAF) is an alternative to this manual process with hands-free, fully automated surface finishing by controlling heat, detergents, compressed air and suspended solids. Let's take a look at this option for surface removal.

Traditional Steps for Support Removal and Surface Finishing

Support material is the sacrificial, removable material that is placed to ensure your part 3D prints correctly. Without it, parts would form into something that is unrecognizable. Multiple variables come in to play for finishing the surface of a part and removing excess support that could lead to damage to your perfect print. Here are the traditional steps to removing support and finishing a part:

  1. Determine the type of removal. Choose which process is needed based on the support material used during printing: soluble, breakaway, pressure washing or chemical dissolve. 
  2. Remove the support. This process can be very manual and time-consuming depending on the part geometry and materials used. 
  3. Finish the surface. Determine if the part needs additional work after the support is removed to make the surface smooth. This will vary based on materials and desired finished look. 
PostProcess TAF

Thermal Atomized Fusillade (TAF)

Thermal Atomized Fusillade (TAF) is a technology used for removing excess powder and surface finishing for faster cycle times and more consistency in finished parts by leveraging heat, detergent, suspended solids and fusillade jets. TAF is exclusive to PostProcess Technologies.

Suspended Solids

Suspended solids, usually a metal or ceramic, are used to mix with detergents to create distinct abrading solutions to improve various surface properties. PostProcess Technologies tested multiple materials, shapes and sizes to develop the most effective combination that would work specifically with additive manufactured materials. The suspended solids and proprietary detergents work together to remove powder and finish the surface of a wide variety of geometries. This brings the "Automized" component to the TAF technology.

Proprietary Detergent

There is one detergent that was specifically designed to optimize the abrasive and mechanical energy that is provided by the suspended solids. The combination of suspended solid circulation and the specialized detergent reduces the safety hazards that typically come from the dry blast process. This primary detergent is compatible with a wide range of print technologies which means you can process multiple materials simultaneously without ever changing the detergent.

Fusillade Jets

With the TAF technology, each of the jets produce compressed air, suspended solids and detergent at variable software regulated pressures. There are two "Fusillade" jets that fire in either a rapid succession or simultaneously depending on the agitation algorithm that is set in the software. Having these two software-controlled jets ensures that the part is uniformly processed. 

Benefits of TAF

TAF technology

TAF provides full control to your surface finishing with the two jets that are regulated by software and the combined power of specific detergents that are powerful yet gentle on complex geometries.

Here are some of the benefits of TAF:

  • Unparalleled consistency
  • Hands-free surface finishing
  • Increased throughput
  • Greater productivity 

Thermal Atomized Fusillade is the key to ensuring the perfect surface finish and powder removal in a consistent and reliable way without the manual labor and harsh chemicals. The PostProcess DECI DUO utilizes the TAF technology and removes supports and finishes surfaces on SLASLSDMLS/Binder JettingMJF and SLS materials. 

Learn more about the PostProcess DECI DUO to make your final step in production go from overwhelming to automated. 

PostProcess DECI DUO