Size and print path effects on mechanical properties of material extrusion 3D printed plastics

Jia Ruey Ai, Bryan D. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Print conditions for thermoplastics by filament-based material extrusion (MatEx) are commonly optimized to maximize the elastic modulus. However, these optimizations tend to ignore the impact of thermal history that depends on the specimen size and print path selection. Here, we investigate the effect of size print path (raster angle and build orientation) and print sequence on the mechanical properties of polycarbonate (PC) and polypropylene (PP). Examination of parallel and series printing of flat (XY) and stand-on (YZ) orientation of Type V specimens demonstrated that to observe statistical differences in the mechanical response that the interlayer time between printed roads should be approximately 5 s or less. The print time for a single layer in XY orientation is much longer than that for a single layer in YZ orientation, so print sequence only impacts the mechanical response in the YZ orientation. However, the specimen size and raster angle did influence the mechanical properties in XY orientation due to the differences in thermal history associated with intralayer time between adjacent roads. Moreover, all of these effects are significantly larger when printing PC than PP. These differences between PP and PC are mostly attributed to the mechanism of interface consolidation (crystallization vs. glass formation), which changes the requirements for a strong interface between roads (crystals vs. entanglements). These results illustrate how the print times dictated by the print path layout impact observed mechanical properties. This work also demonstrated that the options available in some standards developed for traditional manufacturing will change the quantitative results when applied to 3D printed parts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1021
Number of pages13
JournalProgress in Additive Manufacturing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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