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Open AccessArticle

Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties

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Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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re:3D Inc., 1100 Hercules STE 220, Houston, TX 77058, USA
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Department of Material Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, 00076 Espoo, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(8), 1413; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11081413
Received: 21 July 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 12 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Manufacturing Processes and Systems)
Fused particle fabrication (FPF) (or fused granular fabrication (FGF)) has potential for increasing recycled polymers in 3-D printing. Here, the open source Gigabot X is used to develop a new method to optimize FPF/FGF for recycled materials. Virgin polylactic acid (PLA) pellets and prints were analyzed and were then compared to four recycled polymers including the two most popular printing materials (PLA and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)) as well as the two most common waste plastics (polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP)). The size characteristics of the various materials were quantified using digital image processing. Then, power and nozzle velocity matrices were used to optimize the print speed, and a print test was used to maximize the output for a two-temperature stage extruder for a given polymer feedstock. ASTM type 4 tensile tests were used to determine the mechanical properties of each plastic when they were printed with a particle drive extruder system and were compared with filament printing. The results showed that the Gigabot X can print materials 6.5× to 13× faster than conventional printers depending on the material, with no significant reduction in the mechanical properties. It was concluded that the Gigabot X and similar FPF/FGF printers can utilize a wide range of recycled polymer materials with minimal post processing. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3-D printing; additive manufacturing; distributed manufacturing; open-source; polymers; recycling; waste plastic; extruder; upcycle; circular economy 3-D printing; additive manufacturing; distributed manufacturing; open-source; polymers; recycling; waste plastic; extruder; upcycle; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Woern, A.L.; Byard, D.J.; Oakley, R.B.; Fiedler, M.J.; Snabes, S.L.; Pearce, J.M. Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties. Materials 2018, 11, 1413.

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