Additive manufacturing or “3D printing” is a rapidly expanding sector and is moving from a prototyping service to a manufacturing service in its own right. With a significant increase in sales, fused deposition modelling (FDM) printers are now the most prevalent 3D printer on the market. The increase in commercial manufacturing necessitates an improved understanding of how to optimise the FDM printing process for various product mechanical properties. This paper aims to identify optimum print parameters for the FDM process to achieve maximum tensile strength through a review of recent studies in this field.
The effect of the governing printing parameters on the tensile strength of printed samples will be considered, including material selection, print orientation, raster angle, air gap and layer height.
The key findings include material recommendations, such as the use of emerging print materials like polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK), to produce samples with tensile strength over 200 per cent that of conventional materials such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Amongst other parameters, it is shown that printing in the “upright” orientation should be avoided (samples can be up to 50 per cent weaker in this orientation) and air gap and raster width should be concurrently optimised to ensure good “inter-raster” bonding. The optimal choice of raster angle depends on print material; in ABS for example, selecting a 0° raster angle over a 90° angle can increase tensile strength by up to 100 per cent.
The paper conclusions provide researchers and practitioners with an up-to-date, single point reference, highlighting a series of robust recommendations to optimise the tensile strength of FDM-printed samples. Improving the mechanical performance of FDM-printed samples will support the continued growth of this technology as a viable production technique.
This work was funded through the ERDF funded Marine-i project grant number 05R16P00381. The work was commissioned by 3D Kernow to optimise their printing processes to better serve the AM requirements of the marine sector in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region.
Abbreviations: ABS: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene; AM: additive manufacturing; DE: differential evolution; CAD: computer-aided design; COV: coefficients of variation; FDM: fused deposition modelling; FE: finite element; FEA: finite element analysis; FLM: fused layer modelling; GMDH: group method of data handling; MIA: multi-layered iteration; PEEK: polyether-ether-ketone; PC: polycarbonate; PLA: polylactic acid; RepRap: replicating rapid prototype; SEM: scanning electron microscope; SLA: sterolithography; STL file: stereolithography file – often used to export CAD files in preparation for AM printing; TPE: thermoplastic elastomer; UTS: ultimate tensile strength; XRD: X-ray powder diffraction.
Gordelier, T.J., Thies, P.R., Turner, L. and Johanning, L. (2019), "Optimising the FDM additive manufacturing process to achieve maximum tensile strength: a state-of-the-art review", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 953-971. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-07-2018-0183
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