Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is one of the most often-used technologies in additive manufacturing. Several materials are used with this technology, such as poly(lactic acid) (PLA), which is most commonly applied. The mechanical properties of 3D-printed parts depend on the process parameters. This is why, in this study, three-point bending tests were carried out to characterize the influence of build orientation, layer thickness, printing temperature and printing speed on the mechanical properties of PLA samples. Not only the process parameters may affect the mechanical properties, but heat after-treatment also has an influence on them. For this reason, additional samples were printed with optimal process parameters and characterized after pure heat treatment as well as after deformation at a temperature above the glass transition temperature, cooling with applied deformation, and subsequent recovery under heat treatment. These findings are planned to be used in a future study on finger orthoses that could either be printed according to shape or in a flat shape and afterwards heated and bent around the finger.
Keywords: finger orthosis; heat treatment; mechanical properties; polylactic acid; printing parameters.