An optical approach to accurately determine surface finish for additive manufacturing

Federico Sciammarella (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 12 March 2018



The paper aims to highlight the importance of having an optical method that can accurately measure the surface finish of 3D printed parts and the influence this has on the total volume of the build.


The paper describes the application of digital moiré to the determination of the surface finish of 3D printed parts.


This study shows that surface roughness plays an important role in the volumetric analysis. There was an increase of 7 per cent from the total volume of the original CAD drawing; in total, there was 19 per cent more material deposited.

Research limitations/implications

This methodology provides a robust tool for future research in the area of geometrical verification and optimization in addition to the potential use for residual stress determination.

Practical implications

This study shows that process optimization can be carried out more efficiently, and it is possible to determine the efficiency of an AM process by directly correlating the processing parameters and accurately comparing the prescribed CAD dimensions/volume to that of the as built part.

Social implications

By reducing the amount of waste through process optimization, this leads to a reduced consumption of energy which can have a major impact on the environment.


This paper fulfills the need for high accuracy volumetric measurement of 3D printed components.



Sciammarella, F. (2018), "An optical approach to accurately determine surface finish for additive manufacturing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 313-320.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.