Though the 3D printer-produced resolution is sufficient for many applications, printing a slightly oversized version of the desired object in standard resolution and then removing material with a higher-resolution subtractive process can achieve greater precision.
The layered structure of all AM processes leads involuntarily to a strain-stepping effect on part surfaces which are curved or tilted in respect to the building platform. The effects strongly depend on the orientation of a part surface inside the building process.
Some printable polymers such as ABS, allow the surface finish to be smoothed and improved using chemical vapor processes based on acetone or similar solvents.
Some additive manufacturing techniques are capable of using multiple materials in the course of constructing parts. These techniques are able to print in multiple colors and color combinations simultaneously, and would not necessarily require painting.
Some 3d printing techniques require internal supports to be built for overhanging features during construction. These supports must be mechanically removed or dissolved upon completion of the print.
All of the commercialized metal 3D printers involve cutting the metal component off the metal substrate after deposition. A new process for the GMAW 3D printing allows for substrate surface modifications to remove aluminum or steel.
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