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.

MaterialColor/FinishType of FinishAmount of ErosionLevel of Detail
SilverGlossGloss0.05 to 0.075 mm
High 
Silver
SatinSatin
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
SandblastedSandblasted
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
High GlossHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Silver
AntiqueAntique0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





Gold14K YellowHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
14K WhiteHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
14K RedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K YellowHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K WhiteHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Gold
18K RedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





BrassNatural PU-coatedGloss
0.05 to 0.075 mm
High
Brass
Yellow gold-plated polishedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Red gold-plated polishedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Black color-plated polishedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low
Brass
Chrome-plated polishedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low





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





CopperPolished natural uncoatedHigh-gloss
0.10 to 0.15 mm
Low

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