Rapid Prototyping, Three Dimensional Printing


This research defined and evaluated mechanical properties of prototypes created using a plaster based three-dimensional printing (3DP) system commercialized by Z Corporation. 3DP is one of the fastest growing forms of rapid prototyping. Till date, there is little or no information available on material properties of infiltrants used in 3DP. This research work evaluated and documented some of the useful information for 3DP users by determining the effect of build position, build orientation and infiltration materials on the strength of prototypes. The study was performed in three different phases to limit the processing variables and to arrive at definite conclusions on relationship between materials properties and process variables. All specimens were built on the Z Corporation Spectrum Z510. In Phase 1, effects of build location on specimen strength was studied. Phase 2 evaluated the influence of build orientation on specimen strength. System Three Clear Coat epoxy was used during both Phase 1 and 2 for infiltration. The same infiltrant was in both of these phases to limit variables. Using results of Phase 1 & 2, the effects of infiltrant material on tensile strength of prototypes was calculated in Phase 3. Seven different infiltrating materials were tested during Phase 3. These materials included 2 cyanoacrylates and 5 epoxies. The tensile strength, flexural strength, and density and porosity of the specimens were determined and correlated. In each phase six specimens were built for each test performed. Two consistent methods of infiltration were utilized to infiltrate cyanoacrylates and epoxies into the as-processed specimens. It was found that the orientation of the specimen has more of an impact on strength than position within the build platform. The layering build process of rapid prototyping creates a variance in strength depending on the build orientation. Specimens infiltrated with epoxy achieved much higher strength than the specimens infiltrated with cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylates may be a good choice in making color concept models; however they are not good candidate materials where strength requirement is important. The epoxies with lower viscosities demonstrated higher part strength among the materials tested.


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Graduation Date





Kalita, Samar


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering








Release Date

December 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)