As additive manufacturing becomes widely adopted for prototyping and part manufacturing, the need for controlling quality becomes crucial for this technology to continue its development in the manufacturing industry. Many studies over the last decade have been conducted to find suitable means to gauge and improve accuracy and performance for additive manufacturing systems. Prior research has experimented with benchmark tests, printer calibration, standardized test targets, and performance optimization based on critical printer parameters to find solutions to this problem.

The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of printer parameters on dimensional accuracy through the most fundamental element of the printer, its addressability. The experiment utilized a simple test target comprised of raised lines that was the smallest line addressable for this analysis. Defined by the design of experiment, the factors investigated were: cooling fan speed (1500 RPM and 5100 RPM levels, nozzle temperature (175º C and 200º C levels), and platen temperature (45º C and 70º C levels). Test targets comprising of eight combinations of these factors and levels were printed and replicated.

The sixteen test targets were three-dimensional imaged with an optical microscope for data collection. Five cross-sectional profiles were sampled from each test target in order to record line heights and widths of the printed parts for analysis. After careful data extraction and coding, 720 meaningful data points were used within an Analysis of Variance test for the response variables. The results showed platen temperature and cooling fan speed had an influence on the ΔH response variable. Both factors had low p-values of 0.010 and 0.058 respectively which means the null hypothesis can be rejected. As for the response variable ΔWa, the nozzle temperature, and cooling fan speed had an influence. Both factors had low p-values of 0.000 and 0.023 respectively which means the null hypothesis can be rejected.

This research found these parameters to be significant when operating a fused deposition modeling system and will impact the part being produced. Therefore, this work expands upon previous parametric studies and demonstrates to the additive manufacturing industry the importance of characterizing the operating temperatures and cooling fan speeds of their systems. This study shows certain fan speeds and temperatures affect dimensional accuracy and certain values will produce fewer deviations in the part’s dimensions. The researcher believes this work will help others in the additive manufacturing industry optimize their fused deposition systems and future research can be conducted to further expand this line of experimentation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Three-dimensional printing--Quality control; Manufacturing processes

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Print Media (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Media Sciences (CIAS)


Shu Chang

Advisor/Committee Member

Marcos Esterman


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TS171.95 .O78 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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