Romania: Improving FDM 3D Printing with Better Calibration

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In the recently published ‘Research on Improving the accuracy of FDM 3D printing process by using a new designed calibrating part,’ Romanian researchers explore new ways to improve the quality of parts. As there is a substantial shift from the use of 3D printing for rapid prototyping—to using the technology for innovative and functional parts (many of which have never been possible before), users on all levels continue to seek better accuracy for their specific project needs.

Material plays a large role, whether it is ABS or TPU, along with the proper settings—and calibration procedures and parts. In this study, the research team worked to improve FDM 3D printing at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca through the development of new software and a calibration part.

The new part is comprised of a series of cylinders and holes, with a range of diameters from 1-20mm. SolidWorks Simulation was used in the Finite Element Analysis for estimating shrinkage, and the research team employed a static study using a difference of -40 degrees C to investigate the location and size of shrinkage. Three surfaces were created to serve as roller/slider fixtures—added to the base of the calibration part, and on two side surfaces also.

PLA was considered as a material, due to ‘characteristics defined in the simulation.’

3D model and 2D drawing of the calibrating part

Characteristics of the PLA material considered for the FEA analysis

“To extrapolate the results, the shrinkages were further on considered in the development of the software application as a function of length which, in addition to the function of practical, measured inaccuracies are added on to a finite result in the application on the form of a global scaling factor for a certain dimension,” stated the research team.

FDM 1650 equipment from the Department of Manufacturing Engineering was used, including white PLA (1.75mm), using a 0.6 mm nozzle. The team used two ‘knife-shaped calipers,’ with an arithmetic media created for each dimension, and one micrometer also (0.01mm accuracy).

FDM printer used for the realization of 3D printed calibrating part

“The results obtained within FEA were further used for the conceiving of an original software application that optimizes the calibration of the 3D printing process,” concluded the researchers. “Measurements that were realized using the originally conceived calibrating part manufactured by 3D printing process proved that there were significant improvements in terms of accuracy regarding the FDM 3D printing equipment from the Department of Manufacturing Engineering from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, but, since the flow of the material can be unpredictable and all the 3D printers are unique, experimental data should be made on each combination of parameters in the future for calibrating each type of equipment in particular (taking into account the type of materials that are used) for 3D printing process.”

Calibration and settings of 3D printers continue to be a huge area of research due to infinite potential in 3D printing and the need for constant variations in software, hardware, and materials.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

Original software application used for the calibration of 3D printing process

[Source / Images: ‘Research on Improving the accuracy of FDM 3D printing process by using a new designed calibrating part’]

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