Research Project Asks You To 3D Print A Test Object

 University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein, Austria [Source:  Wikipedia ]
University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein, Austria [Source: Wikipedia ]

A research project is investigating the effect of environmental conditions on 3D printing, and they need your assistance.

Markus Ehrlenbach is a graduate student at the University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein, Austria. Ehrlenbach’s master’s thesis topic is the influence of ambient temperature and humidity on the success of 3D printing. This is something I’ve always wondered about myself, but to perform extensive experiments to understand these effects would be highly problematic for an individual.

The same is true for Ehrlenbach, as it will require many data points in different conditions to chart out what really happens when humidity and temperature change during 3D printing. He is requesting that readers perform a specific printing test and forward him your results.

The accumulation of all the results obtained hopefully will cover a wide variety of ambient temperature and humidity conditions. Ehrlenbach will then be able to examine trends caused by these factors, and develop conclusions, which could lead to improved best practices for 3D print operation.

Finally, this is serious research in which you can actually participate directly!

This could benefit everyone. Ehrlenbach explains:

“Since I need a large number of experiments that are carried out under different climatic conditions, I would like to ask you to help me with this.

Attached you will find an STL file of the test object for the 3D printer, a PDF file with the description of the desired settings for the experiments and a PDF file with a test report. Those include all information you need to carry out the test print. Once filled out please send me the files and also include photos of the place where the 3D printer is standing and photos of the test object from every side (above, front, sides, rear).”

One word of caution: this is a proper scientific experiment and while obtaining the 3D print would be as simple as slicing and printing, Ehrlenbach requires that you fill out a comprehensive evaluation sheet after printing. He has designed the evaluation sheet in such a way as to provide unambiguous evaluations of a number of different print quality factors. That part may be the most work required for this project.

I’ve taken the liberty of uploading Ehrlenbach’s files to our website so you can quickly access them. There are three files:

  • Test object (STL), which if you’re wondering, is a rather challenging small test item that seems to include every conceivable 3D print pathology one could imagine.

  • Printing instructions (PDF), which specify, among other things, the slicing parameters you must use on your print. This ensures that each print done worldwide will have similar characteristics.

  • Test report (PDF), which is a five-page evaluation of the print, including location and ambient conditions, evaluations of warping, bridging, and more. Here you will find the contact information to which you will send the report.

Don’t be afraid by the length of the test report, because virtually all of it is ticky-boxes that should be very easily filled out. It should not take that long to do.

I ask that all readers operating desktop 3D printers consider contributing to this project, because the more who do, the more accurate the findings will be.

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