downloadThe quality of what your 3D printer is producing should obviously be measured by more than layer height, but it is easy to focus on that one aspect. With so much competition in the 3D printing marketplace, we should remember to delve deeper in exploring what type of print quality we are receiving. Recently, test model files were released from MAKE 3D Shoot Out 2015 so you can do just that.

Andreas Bastian from the MAKE 3D Shoot Out 2015 testing team focused on looking at print quality under more of a microscope, to gain real quantitative data, with his new set of Fusion 360 designed test models. With the release of these files on Thingiverse, anyone can use the test models, and can share their information. That should lead to some very interesting conversations in the 3D printing community.

So exactly what fine details should we be looking into? When comparing 3D printing quality, the user needs to be aware of: test models

  • Dimensional accuracy
  • Surface finish
  • Overhang capabilities
  • Deposition control
  • Motion mechanics
  • Motion control
  • Material properties
  • Slicing algorithms

What makes measuring these factors more complex though is that what you modify or change in one of the aforementioned aspects or qualities can relate to the others, as they are often entwined in the printed processes. What was necessary was for each of those ‘geometries’ to be measured individually in terms of quality, and Bastian provides that level of in-depth evaluation with a ‘more parametric and quantitative assessment of print quality than could be achieved by comparing any number of more traditional printed models.’

Bastian recommends that for looking at performance of the printer, software, and materials you should print the models using either default or medium settings, which should be a layer height of 0.2 mm, and default speeds and temperatures. It’s very important to note also that if you are measuring quality data from multiple machines, use the same printing materials for each one for consistency. Click here for a detailed, technical list of what you should be looking for in each item being evaluated.

You are invited to make an “I Made One” button, and your results are welcome for sharing, provided you include:

  • Photo(s) of your completed test prints
  • Machine make and model
  • Slicer and slicing settings (layer height, number of shells, print temperature, extrusion multipliers, speeds)
  • Print time
  • Filament source

All 26 machine reviews were published in Make’s Annual Guide to 3D Printing 2015 (Volume 42). Will you be producing an “I made one” button? Please let us know, as well as sharing your thoughts regarding the 3D printed models used for measuring 3D printer quality in the 3D Printer Quality Testing forum at 3DPB.com.

A few more previews of the print accuracy tests:

Test for dimensional accuracy

Dimensional accuracy test preview

Negative space Tolerance Test

Preview for negative space tolerance test

kit

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