Tensile strength of commercial polymer materials for fused filament fabrication 3D printing
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3D printing functional parts with known mechanical properties is challenging using variable open source 3D printers. This study investigates the mechanical properties of 3D printed parts using a commercial open-source 3D printer for a wide range of materials. The samples are tested for tensile strength following ASTM D638. The results are presented and conclusions are drawn about the mechanical properties of various fused filament fabrication materials. The study demonstrates that the tensile strength of a 3D printed specimen depends largely on the mass of the specimen, for all materials. Thus, to solve the challenge of unknown print quality on mechanical properties of a 3D printed part a two step process is proposed, which has a reasonably high expectation that a part will have tensile strengths described in this study for a given material. First, the exterior of the print is inspected visually for sub-optimal layers. Then, to determine if there has been under-extrusion in the interior, the mass of the sample is measured. This mass is compared to the theoretical value using densities for the material and the volume of the object. This two step process provides a means to assist low-cost open-source 3D printers expand the range of object production to functional parts.