Finishing Options

We offer a range of finishing options to ensure our high-quality parts can be customised to provide solutions to the most complex of challenges.

At Graphite, we offer our parts in a variety of finishing options.

We have over 50 different finishing combinations between our primary and secondary options, to provide you with the most suitable finish for your application.

Primary finishing is the initial step taken before your parts leave our workshop. This will give your parts the required surface finish. Secondary finishing can then be done to provide additional functionality or change the cosmetic appearance of a part.

Primary options


The Basic finish at Graphite, our most minimal option, involves cleaning parts and removing support material, but build layer lines remain visible. Recommended for SLA, SLM, and FDM technologies, this finish is ideal for functional resin and metal parts, as well as dissolvable mandrel applications.


The Cosmetic finish, an upgrade from Basic, varies by technology. For SLS, it serves as a secondary cleaning process, removing excess powder and giving parts a shiny finish, ideal for housings, ducting, models, and devices. For SLA, Cosmetic offers a smoother finish than Basic, eliminating build lines and enhancing aesthetics, perfect for creating a frosted glass effect with Watershed.

Sanded and Sanded-Exterior

Our skilled technicians hand-sand parts for a fine finish, with the Sanded-Exterior finish sanding up to 50% of the surface, ideal for selectively smoothed areas. Sanded finishes suit manifolds and dashboards for a smooth, matte look. Sanded-Exterior is perfect for visible component casings or the A-surface of composite tools.

Sanded and Sanded-Exterior Deluxe

For customers needing the highest surface finish and appearance for SLS parts, the Sanded-Deluxe finish enhances the sanded finish with extra detailing. It offers a uniform surface, between Cosmetic’s lighter finish and Sanded’s muted tones. Orientation is crucial, as fine surfaces can show lines and reflect light. Our skilled programmers optimize part orientation to mitigate this. Applicable for SLS and MJF, typical uses include engine trumpets and premium automotive interiors.

Clear Polished

Clear-Polished takes Watershed SLA to the next level with near glass-like transparency, comparable to injection moulded surfaces.

This manual process takes a lot of elbow grease to achieve but the results are worth the costs for certain applications. Like Clear-Lacquered, this finish is only applicable for the SLA material Watershed.

Typical applications include glass or injection moulded transparent plastic prototypes and dials with complex geometries.

Clear Lacquered

This finish is only applicable for the SLA material Watershed to produce a more transparent finish. Whilst not quite glass-like, the lacquer does help to increase the amount of light that can pass through the part by masking imperfections in the surface of the un-lacquered part. This finish is, therefore, a step up from Watershed Basic but still below our final primary finish, Clear-Polished. Typical applications include prototypes, headlamp covers and liquid level indicators.

Secondary options

Thermal Post Cure

Thermal Post Cure is a process used to strengthen and toughen our SLA ceramic-resin material, PerFORM. By putting the material through a thermal cycle after manufacture, the part becomes 15-20% stronger (in both tensile and flexural scenarios) and ~15% tougher too. It enhances the material in other properties also, such as the materials resistant to heat, increasing the Heat Deflection Temperature (at 0.46MPa) by over 100%, from 132oC to 268oC. Typical applications include wind tunnel test parts, tooling for injection moulding and other high temperature applications.

Vapor Smoothing

This chemical process has multiple benefits. As the name suggests, it can take your parts to the next level of smoothness giving our high-quality parts a slick, glossy finish to match. In addition to this, Vapor Smoothing is a great way to seal parts and make them oil and water tight. This process is applicable for materials manufactured using the SLS and MJF technologies. Typical Applications include: underwater applications, injection moulding prototypes, hand held devices and visual components on dashboards or central consoles. This is a process we are offering to perform on 3rd party parts, as well as those manufactured in house if desired.

Hand Sealing

Hand Sealing is a manual process in which it is necessary for some of our materials, namely Graphite SLS and Carbon SLS, to undergo in order to be water and oil proof. This is a tried and tested method, developed in-house, which leaves the materials suitable for under bonnet uses and seafaring missions alike. Typical applications include wire loom guides, engine baffles and yacht components such as those seen in our case study on the racing boats of the F50 League.


Graphite AM has produced many display models and show exhibits over the years and many of these required a paint job and decals worthy of the event. Be it a base coat, two-tone or more, we are able to provide a part to the specification you require. Typical applications include showpieces and automotive interior parts.

Metal Plating

A few microns of metal can be applied for a metallic finish or added properties. Available metals include Nickel, Copper, Chrome, Silver, and Gold, with finishes like brushed, shiny, high gloss, satin, and pearlescent. Metal plating not only enhances aesthetics but also stiffens and strengthens thin, weak geometries. Typical applications include reinforcing wind tunnel pieces and making parts electrically conductive.

Radio Frequncy Shielding

Similar to metal plating, parts can be plated in a material that blocks radio frequencies (RF) from penetrating the wall. This can be applied to one side or both sides or potentially just one area of a component to shield delicate internal electrical systems from RF disruption or damage. Typical applications include casing/housing for sensitive electrical components in handheld devices or unmanned/remote robotics.

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