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How Does Polishing Influence the Level of Detail of Cast Metals?

Once your 3D-printed wax model is cast, it will go to finishing. The post-processing techniques for gloss, high-gloss, satin, sandblasted or antique finishes are all unique and each will have a different effect on your model’s level of detail.

  • Gloss models are post-processed in a magnetic tumbler. This technique is the least aggressive process for silver and will erode your model by about 0.05 mm to 0.075 mm. This finish is best suited to maintain a high level of detail; however, surfaces will be left uneven and not as smooth as high-gloss models.

  • High-gloss models will undergo a manual mechanical polish. The polishing technique is the most aggressive and will erode your model by about 0.10 to 0.15 mm. Sharp corners will be rounded. Therefore, this technique will result in the lowest level of detail but provides the highest level of smoothness and shine.

  • Sandblasted models are post-treated with an abrasive blasting operation. The surfaces of your model will get a smooth, matte look. This finish will erode your model by about 0.10 to 0.15 mm.

  • Satin models are manually post-treated with a wire brush. This finish will eat away 0.10 to 0.15 mm of material from your model.

  • Antique models undergo a manual mechanical polish. This polishing technique is the most aggressive; it will erode your model’s outer surfaces by approximately 0.10 to 0.15 mm and will round sharp corners. Therefore, this technique results in the lowest level of detail but provides the highest level of smoothness and shine.

It’s good to take the amount of erosion from these finishes into account when you are designing your model.

Material Color/Finish Type of Finish Amount of Erosion Level of Detail
Silver Gloss Gloss 0.05 to 0.075 mm
High 
Silver
Satin Satin
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
Sandblasted Sandblasted
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
High Gloss High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
Antique Antique 0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





Gold 14K Yellow High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
14K White High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
14K Red High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K Yellow High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K White High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K Red High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





Brass Natural PU-coated Gloss
0.05 to 0.075 mm
High
Brass
Yellow gold-plated polished High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Red gold-plated polished High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Black color-plated polished High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Chrome-plated polished High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





Bronze Natural PU-coated
Gloss
0.05 to 0.075 mm
High
Bronze
Natural uncoated Gloss
0.05 to 0.075 mm
High
Bronze
Polished PU-coated High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





Copper Polished natural uncoated High-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low

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