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Cerakote vs. Powder Coating for 3D Printed Plastic Parts

Manufacturing end-use plastic parts with 3D printing technology is increasingly common as the materials and technologies become more advanced. High-performance coatings such as Cerakote are also becoming increasingly popular to improve the aesthetics and performance of the parts. Although powder coat is not commonly used on plastic, it is a familiar finish that can be an excellent baseline to use as a comparison for those who have not tried Cerakote before.

What is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a thin-film ceramic coating developed by NIC industries. Originally used on metal for military applications, Cerakote is becoming increasingly popular to improve the looks and performance of 3D printed plastic parts.

Cerakote extremely durable and it can increase wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, and hardness of the base material. Cerakote is applied as a paint, then air dried or heat-cured to chemically bond it to the surface of the part. Cerakote is a very thin compared to powder coat, with minimal effect on the dimensions of the coated part.

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a finishing process in which dry powder material is applied to a surface, then heat-treated to create a hard coating. Powder coating can provide both functional and decorative surface coatings in a range of finishes and textures that are not as achievable by liquid coating methods.

Cerakote Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Very thin, with a thickness of approximately 0.002”.

  • Suitable for applications with a low dimensional tolerance.

  • High abrasion resistance.

  • Stable in UV light.

  • Resistant to chemicals and fluids.

  • High resistance to flaking and peeling.

In a Taber abrasion test on Cerakote H-146 Graphite Black, Cerakote lasted nearly twice as long as the nearest competitive finish and 24 times as long as the furthest competitive finish.


  • More expensive than powder coating.

  • Not the best choice if a thick or textured finish is desired.

Powder Coating Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Lower cost than Cerakote.

  • Provides a thicker finish, if this is what is desired.


  • Generally not used for plastics, due to the heat-curing process.

  • Prone to chipping or peeling.

  • Colors can be faded by UV light.


Overall, Cerakote and Powder coat are both excellent finishes and useful to enhance the performance, durability and looks of your end-use parts. When compared to powder coat, Cerakote is thinner, more resistant to chipping and scratching, and more stable in UV light. Cerakote also has excellent resistance to chemicals and liquids. When choosing a finish for plastic parts Cerakote is generally the finish of choice, as it is specifically formulated for a variety of plastics.

Tempus 3D provides on-demand manufacturing of high-performance 3D printed plastic parts for Canada's innovators. Tempus offers a variety of plastic finishing options including Cerakote ceramic coating. To learn more about Cerakote for 3D printed plastics visit


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