Hello world, Ryan here with Miller 3D! I’m excited to show you some really cool stuff!
Our Surface Finish Sampler Cube
First up today, we’re going to be looking at our Surface Finish Sampler Cube: a small print of some 17-4 Stainless Steel that you’ll be seeing reprinted, today, on some H13 Tool Steel.
Why print a part that samples different surface finishes?
The reason why we made this thing is because we kept getting constant questions from our customers and future clients about what they can reasonably expect from a Markforged Metal X Print.
When they print up their parts, what type of surface finish options do they have available, and how hard or expensive might they be to achieve?
Let’s check this out.
Surface: As Printed
The first one I want to show you is “As Printed”.
The reason why I want to show you this one is because this is the default. The De-facto standard surface finish that you get after printing up the Markforged Metal X (and after you sinter it and wash the part): This is what you get.
On here, I want to show you a couple of the cool features:
We decided to use this side to decide some of the features found in here.
3D Printed Features that are impossible to cut with CNC
For example: these 3 holes and these 2… are impossible to cut out with a CNC machine. The reason why is because these are actually curved. They curve right to the other side, on an arc.
I’d love to see a 5 axis machine (with a really skillful application engineer) cut that shape out.
Surface: Wet Sanded in the Green State
Let’s check out some of the other sides: This is Wet Sanded in the green state.
Now, what’s a “green state”?
After you print up a part, it looks a little bit like this: [shows 3d printed part in green state]
This is a softer, unfinished version of the part. It’s printed, it’s got metal in there, but it also has a variety of waxes and plastics that help hold the part together until it is indeed sintered.
Sanding down the 3D print in its green state
In that soft state, we decided to take our Surface Finish Sampler Cube and sand it down during the green state. What we end up with is a very, very smooth, almost machined, surface where it is just like being machined by a CNC Mill- the only difference is that this does not have that nice polished finish that you often see on those machined parts. Again, you can see those cutouts; I would love to see these cut out by a CNC 5 Axis or however many axes you need.
Surface: Machined after 3D Printed
By comparison, while I’m talking about it, this is the machined side of the part. This is what type of expectation you can have when it comes to the finish and luster of the part, after you’ve machined it down. This is with that 17-4 Stainless Steel that we’ve printed, by the way: this is how easy it is to machine.
Rigid tapping into 3D printed 17-4 Stainless Steel
We’ve also taken the liberty of tapping into this; there are actually some threaded holes in there. It may be a bit hard to see, but trust me, we screwed in a couple screws in there and they work pretty well.
Next up is Polished. Polished is pretty cool because it shows you what the “as printed” state would look like if you just take some polish and polish it up to a nice high shine. This is it right here.
Surface: Unsupported Angle
On the bottom: This is what hits the floor. This is the base piece that this part was printed on. We decided print this angle here to show you what an unsupported angle looks like. It’s pretty nice!
And that’s it, guys: The Surface Finish Sampler Cube.