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Enhance Your 3D Printed Elements with Open-Supply 3D Printer Analysis

Experimental Dedication of the Results of Slicer Settings on the Mechanical Energy of Fused Filament Fabrication Manufactured Specimens

Samuel Hart and Trevor Grey

Mechanical Engineering
Valparaiso College
Valparaiso, Indiana

Dr. Daniel Blood

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering
Valparaiso College
Valparaiso, Indiana


The buyer-level Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) neighborhood has little scientific info out there on the mechanical properties of printed components. Even much less is thought in regards to the relationship between slicer settings, similar to hotend temperature, and the ensuing mechanical power with numerous filaments. This paper presents a proposed methodology of characterizing the connection between slicer settings for various filament varieties and the ensuing mechanical power of FFF components. Moreover, outcomes of testing MatterHackers’ MH Construct PLA, PRO Collection PLA, PRO Collection ABS, PRO Collection PETG, PRO Collection Nylon, and NylonX filaments are reported. It’s discovered that NylonX has the very best power to weight ratio at 92 lbf/g, MH Construct PLA has the very best peak load at 478 lbf, and PRO Collection Nylon has the very best ductility of the filaments examined with 25.6% pressure at failure. PRO Collection PLA power depends the least on the course of the utilized pressure with an isotropic ranking of fifty%. Extra parameters, similar to half fan velocity, print velocity, and infill proportion, are examined to find out their impact on tensile power.


1.1 Motivation

The expiration of Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) patent in 2009 resulted in a beforehand unimaginable explosion in do-it-yourself (DIY) tech [1]. The open-source neighborhood renamed the printing course of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) to forestall infringement on Stratasys’ FDM trademark. Filament based mostly 3D printing maintains its place as the first printer expertise for shoppers as a result of relative low value of entry, and the worldwide assist neighborhood. The aggressive FFF printer market modifications at a staggering tempo from 12 months to 12 months, and new capabilities are allowed by this new tech. Improvements in printer {hardware} and new varieties of filament present customers with an ever-expanding array of choices. Whereas many of those improvements are designed to make printers extra user-friendly, many extra declare to provide the ‘finest’ prints doable; nevertheless, and not using a scientific comparability of the alternate options it is unimaginable to validate these claims. The analysis workforce at Valparaiso College (Valpo) acknowledges that there’s a want for unbiased analysis of printer elements and consumables, and the workforce has spent two years creating a repeatable methodology of analysis.

[1] Crump, S. Scott, “Equipment and Methodology for Creating Three-Dimensional Objects,” U.S. Patent 5 121 329, 9 June 9, 1992.

1.2 Figuring out Components that Have an effect on Printed Elements

A purpose for many 3D printing fanatics is to provide components which can be aesthetically pleasing, and have comparatively excessive mechanical power. Sadly, these two desired traits is probably not doable with the identical printer/filament/slicer setting combos, and solely the person printing the half can decide if they need perform, type, or a mixture. A further problem with quantifying aesthetics is the subjective nature of attractiveness. Determine 1 reveals an instance of two prints that come from the identical mannequin and general settings, however with a distinction within the .STL decision leading to ‘easy’ and ‘low-poly’ prints. As a result of subjective nature of aesthetics, the Valparaiso College analysis workforce is specializing in quantifying mechanical properties.

Determine 1. Examples of snowman prints in excessive decision (left) and low-poly (proper).

Step one in evaluating power is figuring out failure modes of printed components. Preliminary tensile testing of FFF specimens reveals three main modes of failure: yielding of the fabric, delamination between Z-layers, and delamination within the X-Y course. Subsequent, course of parameters are recognized which will contribute to failure for every of the three modes. The next conclusions are based mostly on evaluation of the failed specimens, assessment of slicer settings, and comparability of printer elements.

1.2.1 Failure As a result of Yielding

Yield power is outlined because the transition from elastic (recoverable) deformation to plastic (everlasting) deformation [2]. Within the case of an injection molded half, that is largely as a result of materials properties of the polymer, and the interior residual stresses because of the injection course of. FFF printing is just like injection molding on this respect, however modifications in materials properties and the bodily technique of producing inside residual stresses are distinctive. Extruded materials properties are principally a perform of the polymer kind, however the materials properties are additionally affected by the extent of polymer degradation. This degradation of the polymers can happen from moisture, ultra-violet (UV) mild, chemical compounds, and most notable for FFF printing, heating. Some degradation probably happens earlier than the consumer receives the filament as a result of potential use of recycled plastics, and heating of the polymer on the time of filament manufacturing. Additional degradation can happen on the consumer’s finish from improper filament storage, or overheating throughout extrusion. Consequently, the three objects recognized as vital for materials properties are filament kind (materials, producer, and storage historical past), extruder-hotend-nozzle mixture, and slicer settings (hotend temperature and extrusion price).

Inner residual stresses are brought on by the uneven cooling of a cloth. Injection molded components usually cool faster on the surface surfaces as in comparison with the within. The polymer turns into extra inflexible and contracts because it cools; consequently, if the surface floor cools too quickly the interior materials may have no solution to freely contract. Determine 2 reveals an instance of this phenomenon with a visual dip within the injection molded half floor. This leads to a non-zero state of stress within the half earlier than any exterior masses are utilized, and finally will have an effect on the yield power. FFF printed components expertise an analogous inconsistency in cooling, however it’s brought on by the delay between extrusion of the layers. New layers are extruded at a better temperature than the cooled earlier layer, and when the brand new layer cools it can trigger a contraction of each layers. Determine 3 demonstrates warping of printed components that generally happens and not using a heated mattress or managed environmental circumstances. Printing on a heated mattress or controlling ambient temperatures permits every layer to chill to a better ambient temperature, and thus leads to a extra constant cooling of layers and diminished warping. The first objects recognized as vital for inside residual stresses are filament kind (materials), printer ambient circumstances (heated mattress and heated chamber), and slicer settings (hotend temperature and extrusion velocity).

[2] Beer, Ferdinand P., et al., Mechanics of Supplies, McGraw-Hill Training (India) Personal Restricted, 2017.
Figure 2. Dip in the surface of a roll of filament due to contraction during uneven cooling.

Determine 2. Dip within the floor of a roll of filament attributable to contraction throughout uneven cooling.

Figure 3. Warping of printed part on the build surface.

Determine 3. Warping of printed half on the construct floor.

1.2.2 Failure As a result of Delamination within the Z-Path

Delamination of Z-layers, as seen in Determine 4, happens when there’s inadequate bonding between printed layers. This can be a results of incorrect extrusion temperature leading to a chilly joint, extreme contraction between layers, or from international contaminants stopping correct physiochemical adhesion. The recognized causes of delamination are primarily as a result of filament (materials, producer, and storage historical past), extruder-hotend-nozzle mixture, printer heating functionality (mattress and chamber), and slicer settings (hotend temperature).

Figure 4. Delamination of PLA specimens in the z-direction.

Determine 4. Delamination of PLA specimens within the z-direction.

1.2.3 Failure As a result of Delamination within the X-Y Path

Geometric accuracy of injection molded components is closely influenced by the standard of the mould and the cooling of the components after injection, however FFF print accuracy relies on the flexibility to exactly management the place and quantity of filament extruded. The right amount of the fabric should be extruded within the appropriate location for every layer. The fabric is extruded in traces which may be parallel or overlap different extruded traces. The standard of the line-to-line bond is vital to forestall extruded traces from separating underneath load. Slicing software program usually modifies the extruder path to create overlap between outlines and infill to advertise adhesion, but when the extrusion settings are incorrect there could also be inadequate materials extruded to permit correct bonding between the respective extruded traces. The recognized variables affecting delamination within the X-Y course are filament (materials, producer, and storage historical past), extruder-hotend-nozzle mixture, printer movement system accuracy/repeatability, and slicer settings (hotend temperature, define overlap, and extrusion multiplier).

1.3 Testing Parameters for Section One

Desk 1: Failure modes and recognized causes of failure.

Desk 1 reveals a abstract of the earlier part evaluation. The seemingly limitless mixture of the above components makes it impractical to check each doable variable without delay. The Valpo workforce acknowledges that many shoppers are financially restricted on {hardware} modifications, and the patron neighborhood will profit extra from a information on free software-based modifications to their printing course of. The workforce additionally recognized the significance of performing early assessments with generally utilized elements in order that outcomes usually tend to apply to a typical consumer’s setup.

1.4 Testing ‘Dumbbell’ Specimens

Figure 5. FFF printed 'dumbbell' specimens.

Determine 5. FFF printed ‘dumbbell’ specimens.

The primary specimen geometry examined is the ASTM D412-06a ‘dumbbell’, as seen in Determine 5. This testing commonplace evaluates tensile properties of each thermoplastic elastomers and vulcanized thermoset rubbers. This commonplace was initially chosen to permit testing of inflexible filaments like PLA, and versatile filaments like TPU/TPE.

Preliminary assessments with the ‘dumbbell’ specimen reveal that the geometry could also be efficient for testing polymer/elastomer sheets, however it’s not conducive for FFF printed half testing. The geometry’s faults are as follows:

  1. The specimen should be clamped on each ends for tensile assessments, and this restricts the consumer to 100% infill of the ends to forestall crushing.
  2. Any misalignment of the specimen within the testing equipment leads to non-uniaxial forces that contribute to inconsistent peak specimen masses.
  3. Printing the specimens in a vertical orientation leads to a comparatively tall and slender print that’s susceptible to geometric printing errors on the high.
  4. The vertical association additionally leads to stacked potential failure factors, and the weakest layer bond controls the breaking power.
  5. The size of the specimen limits variation within the p.c infill, variety of outlines, and variety of high/backside layers.
  6. The gap between the highest floor of the printed half and the printer mattress is a number of orders of magnitude totally different for vertical and horizontally printed specimens. The distinction partially heating can have an effect on the bond power, and this is able to lead to non-equivalent comparability of the 2 print orientations.
  7. Few horizontally oriented specimens could be printed at one time so it reduces batch specimen print measurement.

These shortcomings show the necessity for a brand new specimen geometry to correctly characterize the FFF course of.


2.1 Tensile Specimen Geometry

The inherent variability of FFF 3D printers made it difficult to pick out the specimen geometry that leads to probably the most constant tensile testing. The purpose is to seek out probably the most acceptable specimen geometry the place the outcomes could be extrapolated to a number of hotend and printer combos. Desired properties of the brand new specimen are:

  1. The flexibility to print the specimen in several orientations with out widespread printer limitations affecting the specimen power.
  2. A geometry that enables for a large number of slicer settings to vary the ensuing printed specimen.
  3. Comparatively low specimen quantity to attenuate print time and value.
  4. Comparatively small footprint to allow massive batch sizes.
  5. Ease of elimination from printer mattress to attenuate the impact of specimen dealing with.
  6. Capacity to attenuate non-uniaxial forces produced from misalignment within the tensile testing equipment.
Figure 6. Technical drawing of new specimen.

Determine 6. Technical drawing of latest specimen.

Figure 7. New specimen design loaded in MTS QTest 150 tensile testing machine. View of the custom loading pins in the MTS machine (left) and post-testing PETG specimen (right).

Determine 7. New specimen design loaded in MTS QTest 150 tensile testing machine. View of the customized loading pins within the MTS machine (left) and post-testing PETG specimen (proper).

The brand new specimen design, as proven in Determine 6 and seven, overcomes the challenges found within the first set of assessments in a number of methods. First, the brand new specimen geometry self-aligns when performing tensile testing attributable to using loading pins as an alternative of clamps. This additionally eliminates the necessity for clamping onto strong sections of the specimen. The brand new loading course of introduces a better degree of repeatability and reduces the cycle time for assessments. The specimen form can be designed with slicer settings in thoughts; particularly, high/backside layers, variety of outlines, and p.c infill. The thicker specimen permits for a wider vary of those settings to be examined on the identical geometry. The print space decreases from 2500 mm2 to 1100 mm2, and the strong physique quantity stays comparatively low at 7000 mm3. Lastly, the form permits for the components to be printed in numerous configurations with out requiring vital helps, or growing the size to thickness ratio excessively.

2.2 Printing {Hardware} and Filament

The Prusa i3 MK2 printer is used because the testing {hardware} as a result of sub $1000 price ticket, a direct-drive extruder, a heated mattress, real E3D-V6 hotend, and auto-leveling {hardware}. Additionally, there is no such thing as a enclosure to guard the specimen or printer from the house surroundings. This permits for extra generalization as most price range client printers do not need enclosures. Sooner or later, an enclosure might be added so the advantages of environmental safety from disturbances, similar to drafts from an AC vent, could be quantified. The printers have been assembled by one particular person on the workforce. The one modification made to the printers is exchanging the brass nozzle for a hardened metal nozzle of the identical diameter when printing NylonX. That is carried out to forestall put on in order that the brass nozzles can be utilized for future specimens.

MatterHackers’ filament is used for the testing attributable to its widespread use, availability of filament varieties, and their filament particular strategies for baseline slicer settings. Within the title of transparency it must also be famous that MatterHackers donated filament to assist this analysis, however all outcomes are totally generated by the Valparaiso College workforce with out modification.

2.3 Batch Printing Configuration

Ten specimens are printed in every batch to restrict print time whereas sustaining smaller printer compatibility. Extra batches are printed after the ‘finest’ extrusion temperature is set to scale back uncertainty. A complete of thirty specimens are produced for the ‘finest’, ‘finest’+5 ˚C, and ‘finest’-5 ˚C extrusion temperatures respectively. Format of the specimens, as seen in Determine 8, is dictated routinely by Simplify3D. This eliminates the prospect of inconsistent spacing when creating new print recordsdata. Specimens and unused filament are saved inside a Ziploc WeatherShield 26.5 Quart Storage container with a 1.7 lbm silica gel desiccant bead canister till testing or printing. Tensile testing is often accomplished inside 3 days of printing the specimens.

Figure 8: Simplify3D layout of ten tensile specimens on a Prusa i3 MK2.

Determine 8: Simplify3D structure of ten tensile specimens on a Prusa i3 MK2.

2.4 Slicer Software program

Simplify3D is used because the slicer software program attributable to its versatility with setting selections and its recognition amongst shoppers. All baseline parameters are pulled from the MatterHackers on-line information. If a spread is given then the imply worth is used. Testing focuses closely on figuring out the ‘finest’ hotend temperatures for every respective filament. That is outlined because the minimal temperature the place the tensile power stays comparatively fixed no matter a rise within the extrusion temperature. The bottom worth is reported to attenuate oozing/zits widespread with increased extrusion temperatures. Probably the most acceptable hotend temperature is a hotly debated subject inside the printing neighborhood; nevertheless, numerous variables can have an effect on the ‘finest’ temperature for every filament kind. The hotend temperature is the one parameter different within the first set of assessments. Extra assessments are carried out after the ‘finest’ hotend temperature is set. These assessments concurrently fluctuate totally different parameters to find out tensile power sensitivity.

All of the prints are carried out utilizing an SD card for g-code switch. Inconsistent switch of the g-code to the printer from a pc can come up attributable to connection or software program points, and using a SD card eliminates that further variability.


3.1 Verification of Equal Printer Assumption

Two Prusa i3 MK2s are used on this part to expedite testing. It’s essential to validate the null speculation that any distinction within the tensile power between the 2 printers is as a result of inherent variability within the course of. These assessments used a single roll of black MH Construct Collection PLA printed at 200 °C and 215 °C respectively. Outcomes for these take a look at are proven in Desk 2. A two-way evaluation of variance is carried out on the tensile power of the specimens after tensile testing. The impact of utilizing two separate printers shouldn’t be statistically vital on the 0.05 significance degree (F ratio = 0.024, p>0.05). The statistically insignificant distinction justifies the transfer to deal with variability launched by the 2 printers as negligible

Desk 2: Tensile take a look at outcomes to find out whether it is acceptable to think about the printers as equal.

A collection of the baseline slicer settings for the printed specimens are listed in Desk 3, and detailed screenshots of settings are supplied within the appendix. Non-filament particular settings, similar to print velocity, are generated from the Prusa i3 MK2 profile on Prusa’s official web site. Any remaining settings are chosen from previous expertise and information from the Valpo workforce.

Desk 3: A collection of the slicer baseline slicer settings used within the first set of assessments.

3.3 Dedication of Minimal Hotend Temperature

Minimal hotend temperature for every kind of filament is set from evaluation of each the height load and power to weight ratios. Most temperature assessments begin at 15 °C under the MatterHackers common beneficial hotend temperature; nevertheless, in some circumstances after information is reviewed, it might be decided that the minimal hotend temperature shouldn’t be reached. In these circumstances, hotend temperature is dropped by 5 °C for each batch till both the minimal temperature is discovered, or print failure happens (e.g. delamination within the z-direction throughout printing).

3.4 Tensile Testing Process

After a batch of specimens finishes printing, it’s positioned in a Ziploc WeatherShield 26.5 Quart Storage container with a 1.7 lbm silica gel desiccant bead canister inside for at the least 8 hours. Specimens are examined at room temperature, 70 ± 5 °F. When sufficient specimens are printed, every batch is then weighed with an AWS-100 scale, and the typical recorded. Specimens are loaded right into a MTS QTest 150 tensile machine by way of the loading pins which begin with a center-to-center distance of roughly 19 mm. A continuing elongation price of 5 mm/min is utilized when testing begins. This testing velocity is predicated off the ASTM commonplace mentioned beforehand. A 33700 lbf (150 kN) MTS load cell is used to measure the utilized load, the displacement is predicated on the body readings, and the information is collected by a Dell Optiplex 990 PC at 60 Hz.


4.1 Hotend Tensile Outcomes

Desk 4: Tensile take a look at outcomes for MatterHackers filament. Values symbolize the typical for specimens printed at or above the minimal beneficial hotend temperature.

A comparability of the experimentally decided tensile properties for every respective filament kind is introduced in Desk 4. The desk compares prints of MatterHackers MH Construct PLA, PRO Collection PLA, PRO Collection PETG, PRO Collection ABS, PRO Collection Nylon, and NylonX. The height load, power to weight ratio, and pressure at failure are all averages of specimens that meet or exceed the minimal instructed hotend temperature. The models of lbf/g are chosen for the power to weight ratio attributable to customers’ familiarity with lbf and the widespread apply of measuring filament/prints in grams.

These numbers aren’t meant to foretell the power of a consumer’s particular printed half. The outcomes are merely used to find out the relative power of 1 filament to a different. This permits a wider viewers to use the teachings discovered in direction of their very own prints. The advanced nature of FFF printed components requires a extra advanced evaluation of stress concentrators, loading course/kind/price, and the results of working temperature/humidity/age/and so on… to find out the mechanical properties of a particular half.

4.1.1 Black MH Construct PLA

MatterHackers Black MH Construct PLA is the primary filament examined. Determine 9 reveals the hotend-temperature power to weight ratio (S-W) curve for Black MH Construct PLA. The plot reveals that a rise from 185 °C to 200 °C yields a 43% enhance within the power to weight ratio. The graph reveals that after 200 °C the height load stays comparatively fixed; consequently, the beneficial minimal hotend temperature for Black MH Construct PLA is 200 °C.

Figure 9: MatterHackers Black MH Build PLA hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal  specimen print orientation.

Determine 9: MatterHackers Black MH Construct PLA hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.1.2 Black PRO Collection PLA

Determine 10 reveals the outcomes for MatterHackers Black PRO Collection PLA. It’s anticipated that PRO Collection PLA will carry out just like the MH Construct PLA, and above the 200 °C mark the 2 supplies produce related outcomes; nevertheless, PRO Collection PLA didn’t expertise the drop off in power under 200 °C. The authors advocate printing with at the least 200 °C for this specific printer setup as a result of slight enhance within the S-W ratio; nevertheless, it doesn’t seem that there might be a big discount within the half power for this testing orientation under 200 °C.

Figure 10: MatterHackers Black PRO Series PLA hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

Determine 10: MatterHackers Black PRO Collection PLA hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.1.3 Black PRO Collection ABS

Black PRO Collection ABS filament produced the weakest prints with most failing under 400 lbf. Determine 11 reveals the inconsistent S-W ratio development for the examined hotend temperatures. One challenge with printing the ABS specimens is that warping of the specimens happens for many batches. It’s doable that the specimens carry out poorly throughout tensile testing attributable to residual stresses induced by the uneven cooling, and a rise within the ambient temperature would possibly cut back this impact. Extra assessments past the preliminary ten specimens aren’t carried out as a result of challenges in printing ABS with the present setup. The Valpo workforce is hesitant to make a suggestion with out further assessments in an elevated temperature printing surroundings, however the specimens printed at 220 °C demonstrated the very best peak load and biggest ductility; due to this fact, that’s the present instructed minimal hotend temperature.

Future assessments on all filament varieties will reveal what enhancements within the tensile power are available with an elevated ambient temperature.

Figure 11: MatterHackers Black PRO Series ABS hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

Determine 11: MatterHackers Black PRO Collection ABS hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.1.4 Crimson PRO Collection PETG

Crimson PRO Collection PETG outcomes, as proven in Determine 12, reveal a rise within the S-W ratio from 235 °C to 240 °C, after which a comparatively fixed S-W ratio above 240 °C. This leads the Valpo workforce to counsel a minimal hotend temperature of 240 °C. You will need to be aware that though PRO Collection PETG has a decrease S-W ratio as in comparison with PLA, it didn’t fail in a brittle method. PRO Collection PETG specimens usually stayed intact, and had roughly double the elongation earlier than failure as in comparison with PLA. This enhance within the elongation result in an roughly threefold enhance within the toughness as a result of form of the stress-strain curve. The upper extrusion temperature and slight variability of samples leads the Valpo workforce to hypothesize that further good points in power could also be discovered with a rise within the ambient print temperature.

Figure 12: MatterHackers Red PRO Series PETG hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

Determine 12: MatterHackers Crimson PRO Collection PETG hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.1.5 Blue PRO Collection Nylon

Nylon is extensively thought-about as a comparatively ductile polymer. MatterHackers Blue PRO Collection Nylon carried out as anticipated with the very best ductility ranking of all filaments by greater than 100%. PRO Collection Nylon’s most fascinating attribute is its failure modes. At decrease hotend temperatures PRO Collection Nylon’s layers delaminate inflicting peak load functionality to drop. The delamination impact disappears after a hotend temperature threshold of 245 °C is obtained, and the failure mode transitions right into a extra anticipated yielding failure. Each PRO Collection PETG and NylonX expertise the delamination failure, however the Nylon filament requires a better hotend temperature earlier than the failure mode dies out. Determine 13 reveals that the S-W ratio dips at 250 °C and the Valpo workforce believes this is because of a single 10 specimen batch that exhibited decrease S-W ratios as in comparison with the opposite batches at 250 °C. The instructed minimal hotend temperature for PRO Collection Nylon on this specific setup is 245 °C.

Figure 13: MatterHackers Blue PRO Series Nylon hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

Determine 13: MatterHackers Blue PRO Collection Nylon hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.1.6 NylonX

Maybe probably the most fascinating filament take a look at outcomes are MatterHackers’ NylonX. There’s vital issue bonding the z-layers of NylonX at low hotend temperatures. The workforce attributes this to an open print mattress surroundings relatively than an enclosed chamber. The S-W ratio of NylonX is the bottom of all filaments examined on the low temperature finish, but it surely achieves the very best ranking after the 260 °C mark. Using a hardened metal nozzle of 0.4 mm allowed the workforce to protect the brass nozzles for testing continuity, however the decrease thermal conductivity of the metal limits warmth switch to the filament. To rectify this, the workforce printed at increased hotend temperatures than different filaments. Determine 14 reveals that growing the hotend temperature from 255 °C to 260 °C leads to a 55% enhance within the S-W ratio. The instructed hotend temperature for NylonX with a hardened metal nozzle is at the least 260 °C.

Figure 14: MatterHackers NylonX hotend temperature comparison for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

Determine 14: MatterHackers NylonX hotend temperature comparability for a horizontal specimen print orientation.

4.2 Extra Checks

Figuring out minimal hotend temperatures is a vital side of FFF printing, but it surely doesn’t embody the entire components that have an effect on print power. The Valparaiso College workforce realizes that the tensile power of components printed within the earlier part are depending on further components similar to half fan cooling, z-layer peak, variety of outlines, variety of high/backside layers, infill proportion, and print velocity. An in-depth evaluation of all these components would require a paper of its personal, however these preliminary outcomes ought to help customers in making extra knowledgeable choices about their slicer settings.

4.2.1 Half Fan Cooling

Desk 5: Tensile outcomes for half fan assessments with Black MH Construct PLA.

The usage of a component fan can enhance the capabilities of a printer throughout bridging operations or for areas with steep angles, but it surely additionally could have an effect on the flexibility for layers to bond. Testing this impact on the tensile power first requires figuring out the minimal hotend temperature, after which printing a batch of thirty specimens in Black MH Construct PLA with the half fan off. Desk 5 reveals that printing with the half fan off produces a statistically vital impact on the height load; nevertheless, the rise in power is just 5%. The fan’s low influence on half power signifies that the fan can be utilized with a statistically vital, however minimal impact on the power of PLA components.

4.2.2 Layer Peak

Decreasing the layer thickness can have a optimistic impact on the beauty look of a printed half, however it may well additionally enhance the general print time. These are comparatively straightforward outcomes to foretell with trendy slicer outputs, however the impact on mechanical power with totally different layer thicknesses is unknown.

Specimens from part 4 are printed with 0.3 mm layer heights to lower the general print time. Extra assessments are run with 0.1 mm layers to find out if the thinner layers have a statistically vital impact on the tensile power. One further modification to the baseline g-code is to regulate the variety of high and backside strong layers. That is an try to keep up the general thickness of the strong layers on the highest and backside of every tensile specimen.

Desk 6 reveals the outcomes of the layer peak take a look at, and the 0.3 mm and 0.1 mm tensile outcomes are statistically related. Extra assessments are vital to enhance the statistical certainty that layer peak doesn’t have an effect on the tensile power of specimens, however these preliminary assessments counsel that it doesn’t play a big function.

Desk 6: Tensile outcomes for layer peak assessments with Black MH Construct PLA.

4.2.3 Outlines or Prime/Backside Layers

Including materials to printed components can enhance the general power. The consumer can add outlines, high/backside strong layers, or enhance infill proportion, however which methodology of addition is only in growing power? The Valpo workforce printed specimens with double the variety of outlines, double the strong layers on the highest/backside, and a rise to 70% infill. The worth of 70% infill is chosen as a result of related specimen weight in comparison with the opposite two modified specimens.

Evaluation of the leads to Desk 7 demonstrates that a rise within the power to weight ratio is feasible with outlines and strong layers, however that growing the infill proportion didn’t have a statistically vital impact. You will need to be aware that the kind of loading and print geometry is crucial to the place materials must be added. Compressive masses or advanced geometry could shift the vital areas. Future assessments with totally different loading configurations could shine mild on these results.

Desk 7: Tensile power of specimens with added materials in several areas.

4.2.4 Infill

The earlier part opinions the impact of a rise from 50% infill to 70% infill. Extra infill percentages have to be investigated to find out if the rise in power follows a development.

Determine 15 shows p.c infill versus peak load for specimens present process tensile loading. This graph reveals that from 50% to 80% infill the slope for growing power is comparatively shallow; nevertheless, the slope is roughly 4 occasions better above 80% infill. That is probably attributable to elevated bonding between infill traces. These outcomes will have to be repeated for different geometries and masses, similar to pure compression, to definitively state a better enhance within the peak load is noticed for the 80-100% infill vary.

Figure 15: MatterHackers Black MH Build PLA and Black PRO Series PLA percent infill versus peak load.

Determine 15: MatterHackers Black MH Construct PLA and Black PRO Collection PLA p.c infill versus peak load.

4.2.5 Print Pace

Print velocity is one other issue that usually has an impact on the consumer expertise. The flexibility to print ever sooner is a requirement on the FFF trade, however the impact of this enhance in print velocity on half power is typically missed.

The Prusa i3 MK2 baseline specimens are all printed at 1800 mm/min with the intent of minimizing geometric errors. The printer is, nevertheless, able to printing sooner. Extra velocity take a look at outcomes are proven in Determine 16. Black MH Construct PLA reveals no statistically vital lower in power when growing the velocity from 1800 to 3600 mm/min, however at 4800 mm/min the S-W ratio decreases by 8%. Black PRO Collection PLA S-W ratio barely will increase at 3600 mm/min, however just like MH Construct PLA it decreases at 4800 mm/min. Solely the tip consumer can decide if this lower in power is appropriate, and if there are further beauty results from printing at these increased speeds. The impact of accelerating print velocity will probably change based mostly on the geometric accuracy of printers at increased speeds, and on the flexibility of the hotend-nozzle mixture to switch enough power into the extruded filament.

Figure 16: Black MH Build PLA and Black PRO Series PLA print speed versus strength.

Determine 16: Black MH Construct PLA and Black PRO Collection PLA print velocity versus power.

4.3 Abstract of Check Outcomes

Desk 8: Comparability of MatterHackers filaments.

Desk 8 reveals the relative scores of peak load, power to weight ratio, ductility, and isotropic (non-directionality of power). Analyzing the desk reveals that MH Construct PLA and PRO Collection PLA are wonderful basic use filaments for the typical consumer. They’ve excessive peak masses, and exhibit the most effective isotropic ranking. The principle downside is the comparatively brittle failure as in comparison with PRO Collection PETG and PRO Collection Nylon.

PRO Collection ABS carried out poorly within the tensile assessments with the bottom peak load, S-W ratio, and comparatively low ductility. These outcomes, coupled with the problem of warping specimens, make it arduous to advocate ABS for this printer setup. The emission of styrene whereas printing ABS additional reduces the attractiveness of this filament kind [3]. The Valpo workforce believes that the appearance of newer filament varieties eliminates the necessity for ABS within the client printing market.

PRO Collection PETG outcomes characterize the fabric as a well-rounded filament. The filament is barely weaker than PLA, however with a ~100% enhance within the pressure at failure. It has the second highest ductility ranking and the second highest isotropic ranking. There are nonetheless challenges related to printing in PETG, similar to the upper extrusion temperature, however general PETG has the potential to problem PLA as the first filament kind.

PRO Collection Nylon and NylonX are difficult filaments to print; nevertheless, additionally they include some distinctive advantages. If there’s a want for prints to exhibit excessive deformation with out failure, Nylon is the instructed filament. NylonX however is extra appropriate for weight-dependent functions, like customized drone components.

[3] P. Azimi, D. Zhao, C. Pouzet, et al., “Emissions of Ultrafine Particles and Unstable Natural Compounds from Commercially Obtainable Desktop Three-Dimensional Printers with A number of Filaments,” Environmental Science and Know-how, Vol. 50, pp 1260-1268, Jan. 2016.


The analysis workforce at Valparaiso College is working to tell the patron FFF neighborhood on how slicer settings, significantly hotend temperature, have an effect on tensile properties of various filament supplies. The outcomes can dispel many conventional myths relating to client FFF printing, and they’ll hopefully help each skilled and novice 3D printer customers in figuring out probably the most relevant filament for his or her venture. FFF printers have many variables that have an effect on half power outdoors of simply the slicer settings; due to this fact, it’s not beneficial to make use of this information to estimate the power of printed components. As a substitute, the analysis workforce suggests you have a look at the relative values to find out how totally different filament varieties will probably carry out by yourself printer. Probably the most acceptable slicer settings for different hotend fashions, filament diameters, nozzle diameters, and so on.… could fluctuate extensively. The Valpo workforce hopes the outcomes introduced on this report encourage customers to think about how all these variables would possibly have an effect on printed components, and the workforce hopes future experiments will solely enhance parameter consciousness.

The Valpo workforce is all the time on the lookout for methods to help the patron FFF neighborhood. You’ll be able to vote on the following space of analysis by visiting our social media accounts on the following web page!


The Accelerated 3D Printing Lab is situated within the Faculty of Engineering at Valparaiso College. Engineering at Valpo is an undergraduate solely program that’s persistently ranked within the high 20 undergraduate engineering applications within the nation by U.S. Information & World Report. The Accelerated 3D Printing Lab was established within the Summer time of 2018 to assist Valpo’s additive manufacturing analysis. College students examine quite a lot of conventional and novel additive manufacturing strategies with the intent of open entry to the analysis.


Samuel Hart ’17 and Trevor Grey ’20 examined over 2000 specimens to find how slicer settings have an effect on the tensile power of components. The outcomes on this paper wouldn’t be doable with out their arduous work and dedication. Dr. Daniel Blood, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at Valpo, oversaw the work carried out by Sam and Trevor.

Extra because of Kelsey Unser, Rima Miller, Tyler Smar, and William Foy for his or her assist in organising the analysis.

Valparaiso College Faculty of Engineering Web site

Accelerated 3D Printing Lab Fb: @Accelerated3DPrintingLab

Twitter: @printing_lab


The Valpo workforce appreciates MatterHackers’ donation of filament for these assessments, and in addition for Dave’s invaluable enter on testing. All filaments examined on this report can be found at their on-line retailer.

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