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

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

Aubrey L Woern et al. Materials (Basel).

Abstract

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.

Keywords: 3-D printing; additive manufacturing; circular economy; distributed manufacturing; extruder; open-source; polymers; recycling; upcycle; waste plastic.

Conflict of interest statement

Robert B. Oakley, Matthew J. Fiedler and Samantha L. Snabes are employees of re:3D, which manufacturers the Gigabot X that was used in this study. All of the data was collected by the authors from MTU, who have no conflict of interest. The funders played no part in the design of the study, in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of the data, in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) The open source Gigabot X with the major components labeled. (b) Details of the extruder.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Materials Sample Matrix Test (polylactic acid (PLA) shown).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Virgin PLA pellet size distribution.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Reground 3-D printed PLA size distribution.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Recycled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)) pellet size distribution.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Recycled as well as the two most common waste plastics (polyethylene terephthalate (PET) size distribution.
Figure 7
Figure 7
Recycled polypropylene (PP) flake size distribution.
Figure 8
Figure 8
PLA Virgin-Difference between the theoretical and actual mass of the line-speed temperature matrix.
Figure 9
Figure 9
Virgin PLA–Average mass as a function of the print speed.
Figure 10
Figure 10
The Recycled ABS-Difference between the Theoretical and the Actual Mass of the Line-Speed Temperature Matrix.
Figure 11
Figure 11
Recycled ABS-Average mass as a function of print speed.
Figure 12
Figure 12
Recycled PET-difference between the theoretical and the aActual mass of the line-speed temperature matrix.
Figure 13
Figure 13
PET-Print speed effect on the printed line.
Figure 14
Figure 14
Reground PP-Difference between the theoretical and the actual mass of the line-speed temperature matrix.
Figure 15
Figure 15
Recycled PP-Average mass as a function of print speed.

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