Finishing options for sheet metal vary depending on your needs. For instance, are you looking for an aesthetically pleasing part, a part that needs to withstand environmental challenges and wear, or are you testing overall functionality?
It’s no secret that 3D printing processes don’t produce injection molding-quality surface finishes right off the printer, but there is good news. Technologies exist to help, and there are new developments all the time.
If you’ve worked with us in the past for your sheet metal parts, you know that we’re all about efficiency–getting your quick-turn parts to you…well, quickly. There are a handful of design best practices our customers can keep top of mind to ensure a smooth process from design upload to the moment you have your finished part in hand. Here are some sheet metal design elements and features we love to see.
There are a lot of design elements we love seeing in models destined to become injection-molded parts. Sometimes, we get models that just nail it. You can tell the designer/engineer has an excellent sense of what you can and can’t do with the process, and it all starts with solid knowledge of how injection molding works.
We can tell instantly when someone has been thinking carefully about machining in their designs. When we see that process understanding, we know we can produce that part quickly and efficiently, which works out great for both us and our customer.
A lot of people think that you can create virtually any shape your mind can imagine using 3D printing technology. OK, so that’s sort of right, but not entirely. The hard part is coming up with aesthetically beautiful designs that also are functional for your application, structurally sound to achieve longevity, and are modeled to address the limitations of the medium.