Formlabs Launches Finishing Tools for Streamlined, High Quality Post-Processing of SLA Parts

Finishing tools

Formlabs is excited to announce Finishing Tools, a set of curated products designed to streamline the SLA post-processing workflow and help users achieve superior surface finish, perfectly smooth planes and edges, and an elevated appearance—all while driving down labor time and cost per part.

Customer Feedback and Rigorous Testing

Since the days of the Form 1, customer feedback has been an essential element of the Formlabs product development process. Over the years, a common request surfaced time and time again for a designated set of tools that users could rely on for removing supports, polishing, buffing, and keeping their workspace clean and organized. Many customers found creative ways to fill this need, by sourcing tools from various manufacturers, or by utilizing household items they already owned. These sourced products were different for every business, in every industry, and some worked better than others. 

Through extensive research, customer interviews, and our own testing, we came up with a set of tools that combine the best elements of the many solutions we heard our customers were using. Finishing Tools are able to streamline SLA workflows, making the post-processing steps faster, easier, and more organized. Bought as one set, Finishing Tools are more affordable than purchasing each tool individually, and they’ve been rigorously tested by our team and customers to prove their utility and efficacy. From a university makerspace lab helping students finish year-end projects to a medical device engineer looking to present a final prototype to a regulatory panel, Finishing Tools are an affordable, complete solution to help you make parts appear polished and indistinguishable from injection molded plastics. 

finishing tools

Putting Finishing Tools To Work

At Black Diamond Equipment, a leader in sports and outdoor equipment design and manufacturing, rapid prototyping calls for high volumes of parts that act as visual confirmation for each stage of the design process. Black Diamond Equipment Product Designer Matt Tetzl says, “The Formlabs Finishing Tools have been an absolute game changer for the final step in post processing here. The Finishing Tools have led to an increase in quality and productivity, reducing finishing time by up to 40%. Overall the entire kit provided a noticeable impact immediately and has continued to elevate our parts from both visual review, ease of part finishing, and versatility of printed prototypes.”

Which Items Are Included In Finishing Tools?

Finishing Tools include:

  • linear sander

  • rotary tools and various finishing bits

  • hobby knife and replacement blades

  • microfiber cloths

  • spray bottles

  • flush cutters

  • large silicone mat to use as a work surface 

Formlabs heard from thousands of users, and determined that these tools are the most popular, effective, and commonly needed for any non-dental SLA workflow. 

The linear sander and rotary tool with rotary bit set are ideal for creating a buff, polished sheen on your parts. Formlabs has tested various bit sets and have found that these 16 grinding and polishing bits and 12 buffing bits are the most useful and easiest to use. Having these tools at the ready eliminates any testing or guesswork that costs you time and drives up your price per part. “The fiber polishing wheels have been especially useful at cleaning up surfaces as well as removing small marks leftover after support removal. The endmills and sanding bits have been exceptional for cleaning up connecting surfaces and threads on printed parts. The pen sander with the 320 grit sandpaper is crucial for large surface area cleaning. We are able to use 3D printed lasts for climbing shoe prototyping with our in-house cobbler due to the surface quality,” says Tetzl. 

The flush cutters, and hobby knife and blades create an easy, safe workflow for any small feature work, such as clearing any small channels or removing any bumps leftover from the support removal process. The microfiber cloth and spray bottle are integral for keeping your parts as well as your workspace clean, and can be used to remove any excess resin on the parts or supports.  

Affordability and Cost Per Part

Anyone who has calculated their ROI for 3D printing parts has taken into account the labor involved with 3D printing. For SLA 3D printing in particular, this includes the post-processing workflow of washing, post-curing, and removing supports. Formlabs has strived to provide solutions to speed up each of these steps, with the automated Form Wash and Form Wash L cleaning stations, Form Cure and Form Cure L post-curing stations, the quick release Build Platform 2, and Finish Kit. Now, with Finishing Tools, the labor involved in post-processing, polishing, sanding, or buffing, is further reduced, driving down your cost per part and increasing your positive ROI. 

Instead of sourcing these items individually, and laboriously testing out which tools are best for your workflow, Formlabs has curated this collection and tested it for you. The cost of the collection is lower than purchasing these items individually, and has been thoughtfully designed for maximum utility and ease of storage. 

As with all Formlabs products, customer needs and expectations are forefront in our design process. With the new Finishing Tools we know that every users’ post-processing experience will be easier, cleaner, and more effective.