The three-dimensional (3D) printing industry projected to be $67.4 billion in 2015, double from the 2010 value, and this it is expected to grow to nearly $108 billion by 2020 (Blum & Smithers-PIRA 2105). As 3D printing technologies are frequently used to manufacture interchangeable parts and for applications such as rapid prototyping, it is little surprise that a growing body of research has examined the accuracy of these devices (e.g. Ostrout, 2015). It is customary for these studies to utilize digital microscopes together with appropriate imaging software to analyze and quantify the unique nature of 3D printed samples. It is recognized that such microscopes are generally rather costly, and are not especially intuitive to use. An alternative to digital microscopes would therefore be welcome, such a solution would need to be capable of measuring not only length and width (x and y directions), but also in height (z direction). One measurement technology that could be utilized for measurement of 3D printed products is the Flexographic plate meter. Although these meters are designed to measure flexographic relief plates, there is a possibility that they could be utilized to measure 3D printed products, as well. The present study examines and compares digital microscope technology with a commercial available flexographic plate meter. Specifically, a Keyence VHX-2000E digital microscope (VHX) is compared to a BetaFlex Pro plate meter in 3D printing applications by reading the same 3D printed samples and examining the subsequent data using descriptive statistics and a Gage Repeatability and Reproducibility (R&R) study.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Presented at the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA) 2016 Annual Conference.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

School of Media Sciences (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus