3D Printing Finish: Polishing

Forms-polished SprayCap-polished Skeleton-polished Phonecase-polished
Forms-polished-thumbnail SprayCap-polished-thumbnail Skeleton-polished-thumbnail Phonecase-polished-thumbnail

General information


At Sculpteo, polishing is a process which makes the objects smoother to touch, with layers that are still somewhat visible on rounded objects.

The polishing finishing option can be applied to:

PA finishes

PA finishes 2


To 3D print in our plastic or alumide material, we use a process called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) . This technology works as a laser passes over successive layers of plastic or alumide powder. Each grain of this powder measures between 0,02 and 0,08mm.

After the melting and cooling processes, there is some air still captured inside the material, leading to about 5% of porosities. Moreover, some powder particles stick to the surface but don’t completely melt, resulting in a rough surface feel. Before polishing the object, we complete a roughness test, which determines the geometrical profile of the object’s surface roughness. This offers a more exact finishing process from there. The smaller is the result of the roughness average (Ra), the smoother is the 3D printed object.

After the roughness test, comes the polishing. There are a couple ways to polish an object, depending on its material and design. At Sculpteo, the technique used involves using small stones in a rotating/vibrating cauldron - as the stones brush up against the object, small imperfections in the surface are smoothed. For reference, something that is long and slim can be just as complicated as a complex object with empty cavities; even some simple shapes can be complicated to polish. This is because we need to both guard the corners and edges of the object, while polishing the flat surfaces.

All of these particularities warrant their very own engineering team at Sculpteo. They determine the appropriate abrasiveness and technology to polish your object into perfection. That optimization makes all the difference.

Technical specificities

The maximum size of your models are limited by the physical size of our polishing tanks - if it doesn’t fit, it can’t be used.

Maximum size polished 300 x 220 x 200 mm
x+y+z ≤ 540 mm

There is no minimum size for polyamide prints, keeping in mind minimum thickness for walls and structural aspects to ensure the object will not break is 0.8 mm.

Delivery time

The polishing process adds no additional business days to the turnaround time on your parts, except for economy production. This means:

  • Express Production: not available.
  • Standard production: minimum 2-3 business days for plastics, 6-8 business days for alumides.
  • Economy Production: the delivery time is not guaranteed. Your object is delivered on average within ten days for plastic. Unavailable for alumides.

For more information, you can take a look at our plastic or alumide material ressource page or our page on all available finishes .