On the Post-Processing of Complex Additive Manufactured Metallic Parts: A Review

Pourrahimi, S.; Hof, L. (2024). On the Post-Processing of Complex Additive Manufactured Metallic Parts: A Review. Advanced Engineering Materials. (2024), 2301511.


Additive manufacturing (AM) is gaining more attention due to its capability to produce customized and complex geometries. However, one significant drawback of AM is the rough surface finish of the as-built parts, necessitating post-processing for achieving the desired surface quality that meets application requirements. Post-processing of complex geometries, such as parts with internal holes, lattice structures, and free-form surfaces, poses unique challenges compared to other components. This review classifies various post-processing methods employed for complex AM parts, presenting the experimental conditions for each treatment alongside the resulting improvement in surface roughness as a success criterion. The post-processing methods are categorized into four groups: electrochemical polishing (ECP), chemical polishing (CP), mechanical polishing, and hybrid methods. Notably, mechanical methods exhibit the highest roughness improvement at 69.9%, followed by ECP (59.9%), hybrid methods (47.4%), and CP (49.5%). Nevertheless, mechanical post-processing techniques are less frequently utilized for lattice parts, making chemical or electrochemical methods more promising alternatives. In summary, all four categories of post-processing methods can improve the internal surfaces quality of AM holes. While mechanical methods offer the most substantial roughness improvement overall, chemical and electrochemical methods show particular potential for addressing the challenges associated with complex geometries.