Dimensional Accuracy Achievable by Three-Dimensional Printing
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The ability to model components before manufacturing them aids the robustness of the design and reduces design changes. The modern three-dimensional (3D) printing process allows designers to visualize as well as to hold parts. However, to take the leap to use 3D printing as a direct manufacturing process, accuracy must be constantly maintained. In this article, we provide experimental results of a preliminary study of the dimensional accuracy of parts produced with 3D printing. A general purpose coordinate measuring machine was used to determine the accuracy of each part. Typically, 3D-printed prismatic parts have two types of errors: variation in the linear dimension and variation in the hole diameter. We examined these two types of errors and their effects on the dimensional accuracy of a typical part. The data showed inherent size errors associated with the 3D printing process, limiting its use for making actual components. Further work is needed to resolve these restraints to permit 3D printing to become a useful manufacturing process.
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