The Desktop Metal process is designed to provide “near net shape” parts that achieve tolerances comparable to casting. When tight tolerances or smooth surface finishes are required, users should expect to employ secondary operations (milling, grinding, polishing, etc.).
Studio System parts are currently achieving tolerances of +/- 0.5 mm for parts less than 60 mm. (+/- 0.02 in for parts less than 2.3 inches), or between 0.8% and 2%. This means that a 1” part should be 1″ +/- 0.02”, and a 2 inch part would be 2″ +/- 0.02”. As the feature becomes larger, the expected tolerance in the part grows with the size of the feature, at a rate of ±8 μm of error per 1 mm of feature size.
Parts made on the Studio System have a surface quality similar to plastic FFF-printed parts. Since the Studio System employs an extrusion-based process, Bound Metal Deposition, layer lines are typically visible. In general, Studio System part surfaces are similar to cast part surfaces.
The surface roughness of a Studio System part depends on a number of factors:
- Part orientation: Surfaces in contact with support structures or the raft will have rougher surface quality.
- Layer height: a larger layer height will result in higher average surface roughness while a smaller layer height produces parts with lower average surface roughness
The data presented below shows the average surface roughness of specimens printed with each of the Fabricate print profile.
The chart below compares the average surface roughness of Studio System parts printed with the standard profile to parts fabricated with other metal 3D printing technologies. The data for the other metal 3D printing technologies are adapted from the Ampower report.
Field Service Manager
Computer Aided Technology, LLC