Guide to 3D Printed Masking Tools For Painting, Coating, and More
by Christian on Sep 21, 2023
Traditional masking workflows include manually measuring and cutting masking tape, machining metal or plastic masks, or sometimes coating an entire part and then machining or scraping away the coating from the designated area. Taping workflows, though they use cheap materials, are extremely labor-intensive, and can add minutes of labor time per part on a production line. Machined masks can be repeatedly used but are expensive to manufacture, and the machining process confers some geometric limitations.
Masks are an ideal application for 3D printing — they are often needed in low-volume production quantities and with very specific geometries to ensure they only cover certain areas at the center, on the edges, or in a specific pattern across a larger part. 3D printed masks can be produced with less labor, offer more repeatability, and simplify many complex masking jobs, or be used as masking prototypes to validate workflows before moving to another material.