Metal additive manufacturing (AM) is increasingly used to create complex 3D components at near net shape. However, the surface finish (SF) of the metal AM part is uneven, with surface roughness being variable over the facets of the design. Standard post-processing methods such as grinding and linishing often meet with major challenges in finishing parts of complex shape. This paper reports on research that demonstrated that mass finishing (MF) processes are able to deliver high-quality surface finishes (Ra and Sa) on AM-generated parts of a relatively complex geometry (both internal features and external facets) under select conditions. Four processes were studied in this work: stream finishing, high-energy (HE) centrifuge, drag finishing and disc finishing. Optimisation of the drag finishing process was then studied using a structured design of experiments (DOE). The effects of a range of finishing parameters were evaluated and optimal parameters and conditions were determined. The study established that the proposed method can be successfully applied in drag finishing to optimise the surface roughness in an industrial application and that it is an economical way of obtaining the maximum amount of information in a short period of time with a small number of tests. The study has also provided an important step in helping understand the requirements of MF to deliver AM-generated parts to a target quality finish and cycle time.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited