Injection Molding Surface Finishes

See why choosing the right surface finish is essential and what options are available.

Injection molding is a versatile manufacturing process for large-batch production. One critical aspect of injection molding that often goes unnoticed is the surface finish of the molded parts. Surface finishes can significantly impact the final product’s appearance and functionality.

This article explains why choosing the right surface finish is essential and the various post-processing options available through MakerVerse.

Surface Finishes for Appearance

The appearance of an injection-molded part can be crucial, especially for consumer-facing products. A well-chosen surface finish can enhance a product’s aesthetic appeal, making it more attractive to customers.

For instance, a smooth, glossy finish can give a premium look to a plastic part, while a matte or textured finish can provide a more subdued and professional appearance. Matching the surface finish to brand or product design specifications ensures consistency and helps create a distinctive product identity.

Additionally, surface finishes can create visual effects such as patterns or colors, adding to the product’s visual appeal.

Surface Finishes for Functionality

Different finishes can enhance a product’s tactile feel, making it more comfortable or user-friendly. For example, a textured grip can improve tool or consumer product handling. Surface finishes can also increase the durability and resistance of parts to wear and tear, extending their lifespan. Some finishes improve chemical resistance, making parts suitable for harsh environments.

Moreover, finishes can alter surface energy, reducing friction or improving adhesion properties for subsequent coatings or labels.

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Default Surface Finish for Injection Molded Parts

The default surface finish for injection-molded parts is typically called the “as-molded” finish. This finish results from the mold’s surface and the material’s properties without any additional post-processing. Depending on the mold’s condition and the type of plastic used, as-molded finishes can vary from smooth to slightly textured.

Characteristics of as-molded finishes include a natural matte or semi-gloss appearance. These finishes are suitable for internal components or parts where appearance is not critical. However, post-processing surface finishes are often applied to parts requiring a specific look or enhanced properties.


Painting is a popular post-processing option for injection molded parts, providing both aesthetic and functional benefits. It allows for a wide range of colors and finishes, including matte, gloss, and metallic. Painting can enhance the appearance of parts, making them more visually appealing and aligning them with brand colors or design themes.

Types of paints used include acrylic, polyurethane, and epoxy, each offering different levels of durability and finish quality. Painted finishes are common in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, and household goods, where appearance and brand consistency are crucial.


Polishing is used to achieve a high-quality, smooth finish on injection-molded parts. Depending on the desired outcome, different levels of polishing are used, from semi-gloss to mirror finishes. Polished surfaces are achieved through mechanical or chemical processes that remove surface imperfections and enhance the part’s appearance.

This finish is ideal for cosmetic parts in consumer electronics, vehicle interiors, and medical devices. The polished finish also improves the part’s resistance to dirt and fingerprints, maintaining a clean look over time.

Surface Texturing

Surface texturing involves adding patterns or textures to the surface of injection molded parts. This can be done through various methods, such as chemical etching, laser engraving, or adding texture directly to the mold. Texturing provides both aesthetic and functional benefits.

Textured surfaces can enhance grip, reduce glare, and hide surface imperfections or mold lines. Common textures include leather grain, geometric patterns, and fine stippling. Surface texturing is widely used in automotive interiors, consumer products, and industrial equipment to improve appearance and usability.

Pad Printing

Pad printing is a technique used to transfer 2D images onto 3D surfaces. It involves using a silicone pad to pick up ink from an etched plate and then transfer it onto the part. Pad printing is ideal for adding logos, labels, or intricate designs to injection molded parts.

This process allows for precise and repeatable design application, making it suitable for branding, product identification, and decorative purposes. Pad printing is commonly used in the automotive, electronics, and medical industries to add functional and aesthetic details to parts.

Injection Molding Made Easy

Choosing the right surface finish for injection molded parts is essential for enhancing both appearance and functionality. Each finish offers unique benefits tailored to specific applications, from the default as-molded finish to various post-processing options like painting, polishing, surface texturing, and pad printing.


At MakerVerse, we specialize in providing high-quality injection. Whether you need a simple as-molded finish or a complex textured and painted surface, MakerVerse has the expertise and capabilities to meet your needs.