White Paper

Vibratory Tumbling for SLS 3D Printed Parts

In this report, we’ll detail how to choose the right machine and materials for your workflow as well as highlight best practices and methods to achieve superior results.

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  1. How Does Vibratory Tumbling Work?
  2. Choosing a Vibratory Tumbler for 3D Printed Parts
  3. Choosing Vibratory Tumbling Media and Detergent
  4. Testing and Results
  5. Recommendations
  6. Applications
  7. Get Started With 3D Printing and Vibratory Tumbling

How Does Vibratory Tumbling Work?

A vibratory tumbler agitates small pellets of media (typically metal, ceramic, plastic, or organic material like walnut shells) and the end-use parts to create friction, which smooths the surface of the parts and improves hardness. Vibratory tumblers are widely used due to their accessible size, affordability, and the range of benefits they provide without adding extra hands-on labor to the production cycle.


Vibratory tumbling provides two key benefits to the 3D printing workflow — improved functionality and improved aesthetics. During the tumbling process, the outer surface of the 3D printed parts is eroded away, improving the surface roughness of the part as well as providing a more consistent look and feel.

Choosing a Vibratory Tumbler for 3D Printed Parts

Vibratory tumbling machines for 3D printed parts can be broken down into two main categories — industrial and consumer. Industrial machines have a larger capacity and higher power requirements, and are typically priced around $5,000 or more. Industrial tumblers are suitable for production-level volumes, such as mass customization or stopgap manufacturing.

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