Thin film physical vapor deposition technology provides the opportunity to change the surface properties of additively manufactured parts by depositing micron-scale coatings. These coatings are made from materials dissimilar from the substrate material used in the additive printing and circumvent the process challenges of plating. This provides a surface which can be chemically and physically protective of these parts, extending their service life or in some cases making possible new applications, such as creating an electrically conductive part from a non-conductive additive manufactured part. In partnership with additive manufacturing equipment and service providers, we demonstrate that parts printed from a variety of plastics and metals can be coated in a range of protective metal and non-metal coatings. We show that plastic parts can be protected from moderate physical wear using tool coatings such as titanium nitride. They can also be coated in stainless steel or titanium to provide protection from chemical attack. Metal printed parts can be coated in a variety of materials such as titanium, zirconium, stainless steel, aluminum or copper, or their oxides or nitrides, as a mechanism to provide protective or decorative surfaces to those parts. We additionally demonstrate that the utility of these coatings is not limited just to external surfaces, but also to internal surfaces, such as conformal cooling channels in additively manufactured injection molds.
- Understand the utility of protective PVD coatings for additive manufacturing components
- Extend the lifetime of components you print for your end users
- Understand the utility of PVD coatings as a competitive differentiator for their additive manufacturing company