Feasibility Study for the Manufacturing of a Shock Absorber Using

Feasibility Study for the Manufacturing of a Shock Absorber Using
Feasibility Study for the Manufacturing of a Shock Absorber Using 3D
Printing Technology
Sergio Bixby
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of
Master of Engineering (Automation and Manufacturing Systems)
School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering Faculty of
Engineering and Information Technologies
University of Sydney
2014
i
Declaration
I certify that the work in this Capstone Project does not incorporate, without acknowledgement,
any material previously submitted for a degree or diploma in any university. It does not contain
any material previously published or written by another person except where due reference is
made in the text.
Signature of Student:
Sergio Bixby
Date:
i
Acknowledgements
This was a wonderful project, filled by innovate ideas. Thanks especially to Paul Briozzo my
supervisor whose encouragement and knowledge helped me accomplish the goals for this
project.
Thanks to Andrei Lozzi who helped me with the design and valuable information.
And thanks to my family and my girlfriend Daniela Valdivieso for all the support.
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Table of Contents
Declaration..................................................................................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements....................................................................................................................................... ii
List of Figures ............................................................................................................................................... v
List of Tables ...............................................................................................................................................vii
Abstract ....................................................................................................................................................... viii
1.
2.
Chapter 1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1
1.1.
History of 3D printing................................................................................................................... 2
1.1.
3D Printing Processes and Technologies ...................................................................................... 6
1.1.1.
Binder Jetting ........................................................................................................................ 7
1.1.2.
Material Jetting ..................................................................................................................... 7
1.1.3.
Direct Energy Deposition ..................................................................................................... 8
1.1.4.
Powder Bed Fusion ............................................................................................................... 9
1.1.5.
Sheet Lamination ................................................................................................................ 12
1.1.6.
Light Photopolymerization ................................................................................................. 13
1.1.7.
Extrusion ............................................................................................................................. 14
1.2.
Uses and Applications ................................................................................................................ 15
1.3.
Examples..................................................................................................................................... 16
1.4.
Potential Impact .......................................................................................................................... 22
Chapter 2 FDM Technology ............................................................................................................... 25
2.1.
Desktop FDM Styles................................................................................................................... 25
2.2.
Materials ..................................................................................................................................... 27
2.2.1.
Traditional........................................................................................................................... 28
2.2.2.
Dissolvable: ........................................................................................................................ 29
2.2.3.
Exotics: ............................................................................................................................... 30
2.2.4.
Others:................................................................................................................................. 33
2.3.
3.
Shock Absorbers: ........................................................................................................................ 35
Chapter 3 Design and Develop ........................................................................................................... 37
3.1.
3D Printer Up Plus 2 ................................................................................................................... 37
3.2.
Designing for 3D printing ........................................................................................................... 39
3.2.1.
45 degree rule: .................................................................................................................... 39
3.2.2.
Design to avoid support material ........................................................................................ 40
3.2.3.
Know your printers limitations ........................................................................................... 40
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3.2.4.
Fit tolerances for Interlocking Parts.................................................................................... 40
3.2.5.
Improve thread width .......................................................................................................... 41
3.2.6.
Orient for the best resolution .............................................................................................. 41
3.2.7.
Orient for stress................................................................................................................... 41
3.3.
Design of the Spring Shock Absorber ........................................................................................ 41
3.4.
Design of components ................................................................................................................ 44
3.4.1.
Design of spring .................................................................................................................. 44
3.4.2.
Design of cylinder ............................................................................................................... 45
3.4.3.
Design of piston, lock ring and preload adjuster ................................................................ 47
3.4.4.
Design of caps..................................................................................................................... 48
3.4.5.
Design of Cam and Follower .............................................................................................. 49
Chapter 4: 3D Printing .................................................................................................................... 52
4.
5.
4.4.
Process ........................................................................................................................................ 52
4.5.
Printing with ABS....................................................................................................................... 54
4.6.
Printing with TPE ....................................................................................................................... 57
4.7.
Single Print ................................................................................................................................. 61
Chapter 5 Tests and Results ................................................................................................................ 64
5.4.
Spring Rate ................................................................................................................................. 64
5.5.
Costs and Time ........................................................................................................................... 66
5.6.
Surface Treatment ....................................................................................................................... 67
5.6.1.
5.7.
Process ................................................................................................................................ 68
Functionality ............................................................................................................................... 71
6.
Chapter 6 Summary and Conclusions ................................................................................................. 73
7.
Appendix............................................................................................................................................. 76
8.
References........................................................................................................................................... 91
iv
List of Figures
Figure 1: Stereo Lithography Technology (Zent, 2013) ................................................................. 3
Figure 2: Fuse Deposition Modeling Technology (Junction, 2013) ............................................... 4
Figure 3: The RepRap first version “Darwin” (‘RepRap’ n.d) ....................................................... 5
Figure 4: 3D print process flow (Cotteleer et al., 2013) ................................................................. 6
Figure 5: Binder Jetting (THRE3D, 2014) ...................................................................................... 7
Figure 6: Material Jetting (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................................................... 8
Figure 7: Electro Beam Direct Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014) .................................................. 8
Figure 8: Ion Fusion Formation (THRE3D, 2014) ......................................................................... 9
Figure 9: Laser Powder Forming (THRE3D, 2014) ....................................................................... 9
Figure 10: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (THRE3D, 2014) .......................................................... 10
Figure 11: Electron Beam Melting (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................................... 10
Figure 12: Selective Heat Sintering (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................................. 11
Figure 13: Selective Laser Melting (THRE3D, 2014) .................................................................. 11
Figure 14: Selective Laser Sintering (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................................ 12
Figure 15: Laminated Object Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................... 12
Figure 16: Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................ 13
Figure 17: Digital Light Processing (THRE3D, 2014) ................................................................. 13
Figure 18: Stereolithography (THRE3D, 2014)............................................................................ 14
Figure 19: Fused Deposition Modeling (THRE3D, 2014)............................................................ 14
Figure 20: 3D print house and house assembled (Blain, 2014) .................................................... 16
Figure 21: Applications in an automobile (Giffi et al., 2014) ....................................................... 17
Figure 22: Urbee the first 3D printed car (Giffi et al., 2014) ........................................................ 18
Figure 23: Strati 3D printed car (Ulanoff, 2014) .......................................................................... 18
Figure 24: SuperDraco Engine Chamber (Norris, 2014) .............................................................. 19
Figure 25: Conventional production of aid shells (Snyder et al., 2014). ..................................... 20
Figure 26: Custom made aid shells with 3D print (Snyder et al., 2014) ....................................... 20
Figure 27: 3D printed key (Ulanoff, 2014) ................................................................................... 22
Figure 28: Breakeven between Additive and Conventional manufacturing (Cotteleer and Joyce,
2014) ............................................................................................................................................. 23
Figure 29: Complex 3D printed model (Cotteleer and Joyce, 2014) ............................................ 24
Figure 30: Cartesian Printer, and Cartasian Graph (PrintSpace, 2014). ....................................... 25
Figure 31: Delta Printer (PrintSpace, 2014) .................................................................................. 26
Figure 32: Scara Printer (PrintSpace, 2014) ................................................................................. 26
Figure 33: Polar Printer (PrintSpace, 2014) .................................................................................. 27
Figure 34: Printers main components (THRE3D, 2014) .............................................................. 27
Figure 35: FDM 3D printing filament.(Smith, 2014) ................................................................... 28
Figure 36: HIPS dissolving in Limonene (Smith, 2014) .............................................................. 30
Figure 37: Object printed in wood like material ........................................................................... 31
Figure 38: Object printed in Carbon PLA (Smith, 2014).............................................................. 32
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Figure 39: Objects in ceramic filament (Smith, 2014) .................................................................. 32
Figure 40: Chocolate 3D printer ................................................................................................... 35
Figure 41: Spring shock absorber ................................................................................................. 36
Figure 42: Up Plus 2 3D printer .................................................................................................... 37
Figure 43: 45 degree rule (Kaziunas, 2013). ................................................................................. 40
Figure 44: Sliced and assemble for best orientation (Kaziunas, 2013) ......................................... 41
Figure 45: Assembly sketch .......................................................................................................... 42
Figure 46: Exploded view of shock absorber system.................................................................... 43
Figure 47: Sketch of spring ........................................................................................................... 45
Figure 48: Type of threads on bolts and nuts ................................................................................ 46
Figure 49: Sketch of cylinder ........................................................................................................ 47
Figure 50: Sketch of Piston with rod ............................................................................................ 47
Figure 51: Seal (left) and bump stopper (right) ............................................................................ 48
Figure 52: Preload adjuster (left) and locking ring (right) ............................................................ 48
Figure 53: Bottom end cap ............................................................................................................ 49
Figure 54: Top end cap ................................................................................................................. 49
Figure 55: Eccentric cam with a flat-faced follower ..................................................................... 50
Figure 56: Eccentric cam with shaft.............................................................................................. 50
Figure 57: Bottom cap with flat-faced follower ............................................................................ 51
Figure 58: Upper stand support ..................................................................................................... 51
Figure 59: Cam stand support ....................................................................................................... 51
Figure 60: Type of fills ................................................................................................................. 53
Figure 61: 3D printed shock absorber in ABS .............................................................................. 54
Figure 62: 3D printed cap with sanded surface (left,) and upside down printed cap (right) ........ 55
Figure 63: Horizontal 3D print spring........................................................................................... 56
Figure 64: Shifted 3D print spring ................................................................................................ 57
Figure 65: Temperature tests on TPE printing .............................................................................. 59
Figure 66: BuildTak sheet install on perboard. ............................................................................. 60
Figure 67: Successful bump stopper printed on TPE .................................................................... 61
Figure 68: Single printed shock absorber ..................................................................................... 62
Figure 69: Single print shock absorber with support material ...................................................... 63
Figure 70: Interior fill of springs. .................................................................................................. 64
Figure 71: Spring rate measurement. ............................................................................................ 65
Figure 72: Acetone vapor bath ...................................................................................................... 69
Figure 73: Spring after surface treatment...................................................................................... 70
Figure 74: SEM image of 3D printed fracture surface with no acetone vapor treatment (Chapman
et al., 2014).................................................................................................................................... 71
Figure 75: SEM image of 3D print fracture surface after acetone vapor treatment (Chapman et
al., 2014)........................................................................................................................................ 71
Figure 76: Assembled shock absorber .......................................................................................... 72
Figure 77: Functional shock absorber ........................................................................................... 72
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List of Tables
Table 1: 3D printing applications (Cotteleer et al., 2013)............................................................. 15
Table 2: UpPlus2 specifications .................................................................................................... 39
Table 3: Components for the system ............................................................................................. 43
Table 4: Spring specifications ....................................................................................................... 45
Table 5: Stiffness of the springs .................................................................................................... 66
Table 6: Price of ABS and TPE .................................................................................................... 67
Table 7: Cost, time and setting of each component ...................................................................... 67
vii
Abstract
Since 2010, 3D printer technology has shown explosive growth thank to the open source and
DIY communities. The Fused Deposition Manufacturing Technology is the most available and
has become significantly less expensive. 3D printers are more accessible now a days, where at a
hobbyist level they are available for as little as 500 USD. The main disadvantages of this
technology are the materials available and the printers’ resolution, although extensive research
and experiments are being carried out all around the world to improve every aspect.
Because this technology is growing so fast it has evolved from Rapid Prototyping used for
building physical model of prototypes, to Rapid Tooling allowing to build tools and molds, and
finally to Rapid Manufacturing that can build end user parts. Soon everyone will be able to
create custom parts with localized manufacturing. However, Rapid Manufacturing is still on a
developing stage where more research and investigation is needed. With a functional shock
absorber, which was designed for the Up Plus 2 desktop 3D printer, this project explores the
benefits, the material involved and post-process of Fused Deposition Manufacturing. The study
shows significate information and data about 3D printing with current applications and research.
As a result for this project it was concluded that ABS can work as a functional spring, but there
still many challenges for printing complex objects in a desktop 3D printing. The final product
was tested and showed promising results with advantages and disadvantages that are discussed
and analyzed. A guide for printing on ABS and the new experimental material TPE is provided
for anyone interested in this field. Finally, significant information about the surface treatment to
improve the properties of the printed model is explained and carried out to improve the spring
properties.
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1.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Humanity used to dream only through science fiction novels about the technology and advances
that today we have achieved. Now a days we are surrounded by a variety of hi-tech deceives,
from “smartphones to wearable technologies, such as fitness trackers, glasses, sleeping monitors,
watches and others that are quickly showing themselves to be the latest development of mobility
and location marketing” (Fishman, 2014). However, in order to create new advanced devices the
manufacturing process has to develop as well. In the manufacturing area a new technology has
proven to be very promising and is called rapid prototyping or 3D printing. A desktop printer
prints ink into a paper in 2D, whereas a 3D printer prints three dimensional objects that can be
manipulated and hold. This technology is worldly renowned and it’s said that it will
revolutionize the way we live. Lipson and Kurman (2013) believe that “in a 3d printing world,
people will make what they need, when and where they need it”. This promising worldview and
beneficial lifestyle has launched the investigation and aspiration to develop to its fullest potential
the 3D printer.
The 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology also known as rapid prototyping. It is
an advanced technique to rapidly produce a three-dimensional model of a physical part or
assembly using computer-aided design. Nowadays there are different types of rapid prototyping
technologies but this study will mainly focus in fused deposition modeling, also known as FDM.
3D printers where once seen as exclusive for high tech businesses but are now moving from the
factory to the desktop. The fast growth of this technology has allowed great inventions and a
price drop, therefore making 3D printings accessible to the average consumer.
At the beginning 3D printing was mostly seen as a tool to shape and bring to life artistic designs,
but in the last few years this technology is evolving to a point where mechanical devices and
useful parts can be printed. However, one of the limitations as Slavkovsky (2012) states is that
“working on 3D printing is often limited by materials or standard designs”. The materials that are
used depend mostly on their heat resistance properties; nevertheless new materials are being
developed at the same time this technology grows, opening doors to new creations. Furthermore,
the easy access to computers and Internet, combined with the online tutorials and new CAD
software allow people to design, develop and manufacture in a way that was never thought
possible. The access to information has great impact in society as said by Isakow (2014)
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“troughout history, the art and scrience of printing has changed dramatically and each major
innovation was followed by a significant change in society. The reason for this has more to do
with access to information”.
As this technology rapidly changes more practical and useful devices will be manufactured this
way. The technology is now used in a great variety of industrial sectors with positive benefits, as
stated by Stratasys (2014) the “rapid prototyping allows companies to turn innovative ideas into
successful end products rapidly and efficiently.” This manufacturing process is much simpler
and cheaper compared to the existing ones, and it still has much to grow.
Given the importance and impact that this new technology has created, the main objective of this
investigation is to explore the world of 3D printing, the printing materials and also to understand
how useful it is and will be. A practical mechanical spring shock absorber will be designed and
build using a commercial in-house 3D printer. Herewith, explore the potentials of this
technology, also the materials and post-processes that are involved. It’s expected to reveal
significant facts about how 3D printing works and benefit as a guide for others interest in this
field. Exploring and growing this area of rapid manufacturing can bring great benefits to society
and improve the quality of our lives, but it needs further experimenting and researching to keep
advancing. Being able to print anything from food to plastic or metal is a science fiction dream
that will certainly be achieved any time soon.
1.1.
History of 3D printing
The 3D printing method, which allows to building three-dimensional objects, has been around
since the 1980s; however it wasn’t until around 2010 that this technology became more
affordable and practical.
In order to develop this technology it was first necessary the creation and improvement of
computers and software. The computer aided design (CAD) is defined as the use of computers to
assist in the making, optimization, analysis and modification of 2D or 3D designs (Narayan,
2008). The CAD software started being developed in the 1960s but it was not until 1980s when
this software was able to handle a full solid model design (Cadazz, 2004). With this software and
faster computers the rapid prototyping started to emerge.
2
The greatest step toward development started in 1984 when Charles Hull invented an additive
manufacturing process that he called stereolithography, this technology allowed for the first time
the creation of a 3D object from digital data (Krant, 2014). This technology works by curing a
liquid material and the process consisted on a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer and
an ultraviolet laser that solidifies the liquid layer by layer until it creates a solid (Thre, 2014).
Figure 1 shows how this technology works and this was a complex and expensive process. After
a couple of years in 1986 Hull founded the 3D Systems Inc. to simplify, improve and
commercialize this process. Later on in 1992 the company builds the first stereo lithographic
machine or SLA printer that had a more advanced viscosity liquid allowing to reduce the time of
building the object (Zent, 2013).
Figure 1: Stereo Lithography Technology (Zent, 2013)
On the other hand, in the late 1980s Scott Crump develops a different type of additive
technology called fused deposited modeling or FDM where instead of curing a liquid material it
melts a solid material. The FDM works by melting a thin thermoplastic film and extruding it
through a control nozzle into a platform were layer by layer the model is manufactured as shown
in Figure 2 (Junction, 2013). It was not until 1992 when Stratasys Inc. introduced and
commercialized the first 3D printing based on this technology that was much simpler and
cheaper (Stratasys, 2014). These pioneers of additive technologies where the initiators of rapid
prototyping, but as stated by Lipson and Kurman (2013) the “process was too complicated and
slow, and its machines were too expensive for margin conscious manufacturing companies to
embrace”.
3
Figure 2: Fuse Deposition Modeling Technology (Junction, 2013)
The major growth of rapid prototyping started from the 2000s due to the expiration of the patents
and the easy access to new information. In 2004 Adrian Bowyer realized that 3D printing could
be so useful that it could even manufacture a significant part of itself making it a self replicator
(Bradshaw et al., 2010). This idea of self-replicating didn’t interest any seller due to the reason
that it was not marketing profitable. Therefore, he made this machine and gave away all the
designs through the web in the General Public License (GNU) for free (Bradshaw et al., 2010).
This was the beginning of the RepRap project or replicating rapid-prototyper that seeks to make
3D printing with FDM technology accessible to everybody, by means of the open source and do
it your self-method (DIY). Figure 3 shows the first RepRap project printer which was released in
2007 and named “Darwin”. After the success of the Darwin project in 2007 the second version
was introduced as “Mendel” and then followed by “Prusa Mendel” and “Huxley”. They are
named after famous evolutionary biologist in order to symbolize the RepRap idea (‘RepRap’
n.d.).
4
Figure 3: The RepRap first version “Darwin” (‘RepRap’ n.d)
The RepRap project opened many doors for common people to start building, modifying and
improving 3D printers. The printing quality was not as great as the commercial ones, but the cost
was much less. At this time the SD-300 developed by Solido Ltd was the cheapest 3D printer
pricing around 16000 USD, and others went up to 400000 USD (Bradshaw et al., 2010).
Whereas, the price of all the materials for the RepRap printer was around 600 USD which made
it affordable for any individual and could be used in industries or homes (Bradshaw et al., 2010).
However, there was a limitation because the user had to possess good technical expertise in order
to understand and build the printer. In 2009 some garage star-ups like Bits from Bytes and
MakerBot, took advantage of this problem and came up with affordable 3D printers sold as
prefabricated kits that only required the final assembly from the customer (Ratto and Ree, 2012).
These where still open source and based on RepRap technology but they were DIY lite making it
even more affordable for people that didn’t had too much expertise in this field.
The price has continued to drop down on 3D printers thanks to the rapid development of open
source and DIY method. There are public domains on the web like Thinkgivers and Cubify that
allowed anyone to share and download any design for free. Since 2010 3D printers have gone
from a general ranging price of from 20000 USD to less than 1000 USD (Krant, 2014).
Nowadays even companies like Stratasys which makes ready to use close-source printers, that
are just plugged and used, for around 2500 USD (Ratto and Ree, 2012). This technology is
developing to be more user friendly and with accessible prices. Even though it works just in
plastics, which is a limitation, there is a lot of active research going on in order to extend the
5
range of materials (Bradshaw et al., 2010). Currently there is a big open source community and it
is being applied in many fields like aerospace, military, architecture, construction, engineering,
medical, fashion, automotive and industrial design and more. As the additive manufacturing
technology advances more practical uses will show up. In addition, now a days there are 3D
digitizers, 3D sensors and 3D scanners that complement and make this technology more
powerful (Krant, 2014).
1.1.
3D Printing Processes and Technologies
The process of joining material to obtain an object, also known as additive manufacturing, has
continuously developed since it was invented. It creates objects through a sequential layering
process which allows complex and intricate designs. As shown in Figure 4 there are five
sequential processes in order to create the desire object. First, a CAD based model is created and
then converted to a Stereolithographic file (.STL) that breaks down the surface into logical series
of facets. A facet is a triangle which represents a part of the surface of a 3D model that is then
used for the slicing algorithm (Burns, 1999). The STL file is then slice into thin cross-sectional
layers that allowed the model to be 3D printed. Since some models require support material the
last processes is removing it and cleaning it, or any other finishing the model may require.
Figure 4: 3D print process flow (Cotteleer et al., 2013)
6
Currently there are various additive processes available and each one uses different technologies.
Each technology is distinguished by the material it uses and by the technique of consolidation.
There are 7 processes and each one has its own modifications, a brief explanation of all these 3D
printing processes is shown below.
1.1.1. Binder Jetting
 Binder Jetting also known as Inkjet Powder Printing (PP). It is a great choice for 3D
printing in full color and the final product has less visible layer definitions. As shown in
Figure 5 it prints with a head that moves across a bed of powder and sprays a liquid
binding material. Then a thin layer of powder is deposited by an automated roller across
the completed section in order to form the next layer, and this process is repeated to build
the object one layer at a time (THRE3D, 2014). This process enables color prints with
high speed but there is a limited range of materials (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 5: Binder Jetting (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.2. Material Jetting
 This type of printer looks more like a traditional 2D printer compared to other 3D
printers. As shown in Figure 6 it moves a print head around the printer area laying a
photopolymer, which is a light reactive plastic and a UV light that passes over it
solidifying it. This process is repeated until the object is formed and it has a high
resolution that can go down to 16 microns of layer height(THRE3D, 2014).
7
Figure 6: Material Jetting (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.3. Direct Energy Deposition
 Electro Beam Direct Manufacturing (EBDM): It has one of the largest fabrication
abilities and can print almost any metal alloy. This process is used exclusively by Sickay,
Inc. and it melts metal wire to create an object inside a vacuum chamber. The wire is fed
into a molten pool formed by an electron beam on a metallic substrate. The deposition
solidifies immediately after the electron beam passes so as it moves it forms the object
one layer at a time as shown in Figure 7 (THRE3D, 2014).
Figure 7: Electro Beam Direct Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014)

Ion Fusion Formation (IFF): It is used by Honeywell Aerospace. It liquefies metal wire or
powder with a plasma welding torch. It adds layers of metal wire like the EBDM process
but instead it uses a plasma of heated argon as the energy source that melts the material
as seen in Figure 8. It uses materials that come either in a wire or powder form like tool
steel alloys and nickel superalloys (THRE3D, 2014).
8
Figure 8: Ion Fusion Formation (THRE3D, 2014)

Laser Powder Forming (LPF): It can fabricate large objects and also repair or add volume
to an existing metal part. As shown in Figure 9 a laser head controlled by a multi axis
joint is used to melt the surface area and a stream of powdered metal, which is then
delivered onto the target forming a melt pool. The computer controlled deposition tool
adds the layers where it’s needed, building the object layer by layer (THRE3D, 2014).
Figure 9: Laser Powder Forming (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.4. Powder Bed Fusion
 Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS): It fabricates an object by melting and fusing metal
powder using a focused laser beam in a chamber of inert gas as shown in Figure 10. An
automated roller adds a new layer of material when the last one is cured and the process
is repeated to build the object. It works with multi-component alloys, theoretically it can
use almost any metal alloy. Now existing alloy with stainless steel, maraging steel, cobalt
chrome, Inconel, aluminum and titanium (THRE3D, 2014). It is not suitable for large
parts but it allows to print complex geometries (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
9
Figure 10: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (THRE3D, 2014)

Electron Beam Melting (EBM): As shown in Figure 11 it uses an electron beam that
melts metal powder inside a vacuum. When a layer is finished the bed moves down and a
roller puts a new layer of material in order to build the object one layer at a time. The
materials that are suitable include different types of titanium and cobalt chrome
(THRE3D, 2014).
Figure 11: Electron Beam Melting (THRE3D, 2014)

Selective Heat Sintering (SHS): As shown in Figure 12 it applies heat to layers of
thermoplastic powdered using a thermal print head which cures the powder. Next, a roller
adds a new layer of material which is then cured, and by repeating this process the object
is created. It is important to note that it’s cheaper than SHS because it doesn’t use a laser
10
(THRE3D, 2014). It is a relatively new technology which doesn’t need a support
structure.
Figure 12: Selective Heat Sintering (THRE3D, 2014)

Selective Laser Melting (SLM): As shown in Figure 13 this process melts a metal powder
forming a melt pool in a chamber of inert gas by using a laser and then a roller adds a
new layer of material that can be melted again on top of the last cured layer. It works
with metals including titanium, cobalt chrome, stainless steel, aluminum and tool steel
(THRE3D, 2014). It has high printing speed and it doesn’t require support structure.
However, final products have a rough finish surface and the accuracy is limited to the
powder particle size (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 13: Selective Laser Melting (THRE3D, 2014)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): As shown in Figure 14 this process is similar to the
SLM where a laser sinters a powdered material and a roller adds new layer of material to
form the part. The difference is that material is heated below the melting point until the
11
particles fuse with each other. It also uses a wider range of materials such as
thermoplastics, metal powders, and ceramic powders (THRE3D, 2014).
Figure 14: Selective Laser Sintering (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.5. Sheet Lamination
 Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM): As shown in Figure 15 this process works by
adding layers of adhesive coated paper, plastic or metal which are non-toxic. Each layer
or sheet of thin material are cut to shape with a laser cutter and then successively glued
together. This is repeated until the object is created, after this process it usually needs
additional adjustments by machining or drilling the part (THRE3D, 2014).
Figure 15: Laminated Object Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014)

Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM): It uses the sheet lamination process where
thin sheets of metal are joined together until the object is build. An ultrasonic welding is
used to bond the sheets and then a CNC mill cuts the excess material. This is repeated
until the object is form layer by layer, as shown in Figure 16. It can create parts with
12
multiple combinations of metals for special applications. It can work on metallic
materials like titanium, copper, molybdenum, tantalum, stainless steel, nickel, silver, and
aluminum (THRE3D, 2014). The accuracy is relatively less compared to others but can
build big parts in shorter time (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 16: Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.6. Light Photopolymerization
 Digital Light Processing (DLP): As shown in Figure 17 an image of the object is
projected in layers into a vat of photopolymer that reacts to the projecting light in order to
cure and harden the desired part. This is repeated by lowering the platform and projecting
the new layer until the object is completed (THRE3D, 2014). It has a high precision
which allows complex shapes but the weaknesses are the limited variety of materials
(Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 17: Digital Light Processing (THRE3D, 2014)
13

Stereolithography (SLA): As shown in Figure 18 a liquid photopolymer resin is cured
using a beam of UV light sent from a laser which causes the resin in contact to react and
solidify. As the computer controlled laser moves it cures the resin one layer at a time
forming the object (THRE3D, 2014). The advantages are it allows complex geometries
with high detail definition. Disadvantages are that requires support structure and postcuring (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 18: Stereolithography (THRE3D, 2014)
1.1.7. Extrusion
 Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): This simple process is cheap and it is also known as
Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) in the open source community. As shown in Figure 19
it works with a heated nozzle that extrudes the material and moves following a path. The
melted material forms the layers that are instantly harden so the next layer can bond on
top, this process is repeated until the object is finished (THRE3D, 2014). It can print
complex geometries but it has a low surface finishing and it takes longer time compare to
SLA (Cotteleer et al., 2013).
Figure 19: Fused Deposition Modeling (THRE3D, 2014)
14
1.2.
Uses and Applications
3D printers are currently being used all around the world in many different areas and with
diverse purposes. It started with rapid prototyping purposes and now it’s being used from
hobbyist to organizations and even end products. Having materials ranging from food to concrete
and cells, it’s being applied in a variety of fields as a competitive advantage. With the
improvements on accuracy, materials and printing sizes many industries are using it today,
including healthcare, automotive, aerospace and defense, fashion design, jewelry and art,
architecture and interior design and others (Jewell, 2013). In Table 1 there is a brief description
of current applications on some of the industries named above and the potential future
applications using 3D printing.
Table 1: 3D printing applications (Cotteleer et al., 2013)
15
1.3.
Examples
In the architecture and construction industry uses range from printing scale model to real houses.
A Chinese company called WinSun, has 3D printed 10 small houses in 24 hours using recycled
materials. The material consists of a mixture of glass fiber and scrap concrete which is layer up
in a structural pattern with a 6.6m tall, 10m wide and 32m long 3D printer. The houses costs as
little as 4800 USD and each one is approximately 2,100 square feet. They are printed at a central
factory by blocks and then assembled on site as shown in Figure 4. The diagonal reinforced
pattern minimizes the amount of material used and acts as insulation, also it has calculated gaps
for later insertion of plumbing and electrical components (Blain, 2014).
Figure 20: 3D print house and house assembled (Blain, 2014)
At the moment the automotive industry is printing dashboards and cooling vents in some
vehicles. Figure 21 shows some current applications of 3D printing in the automobile industries
and future applications.
16
Figure 21: Applications in an automobile (Giffi et al., 2014)
A Swedish automaker called Koenigsegg has built a hyper car call the “One:1” that has 3D
printed components like the side air ducts, side mirror internals, titanium exhaust components,
and turbocharger assembles. With this they have been able to reduce the car weight and achieve
a 1:1 power to weight ratio. Additionally, the exhaust tip is the biggest piece of titanium ever 3D
printed (Davies, 2014).
In 2011 the company Kor built the first car using primary the additive manufacture technique.
The name of the car is Urbee and they expect to release the Urbee 2 in 2015 which will have
around 50 major body and interior parts 3D printed.
17
Figure 22: Urbee the first 3D printed car (Giffi et al., 2014)
The second 3D printed car, Strati, has just been released by the Local Motor. Strati, shown in
Figure 23 was exhibit and first drive on September 13, 2014 at the Chicago Manufacturing
Technology Show. The vehicle was printed in one piece using direct digital manufacturing,
which is the first time this method has been used for a car. The total time to print was 44 hours
which is a great improvement compare to the Urbee which took 2500 hours. This is the first 3D
printed electric car that was build, assemble and then drive within 6 days. The large size BAAM
machine developed by Cincinnati Incorporated was used for the production which deposits 40
pounds per hour of carbon reinforces ABS plastic (Ulanoff, 2014).
Figure 23: Strati 3D printed car (Ulanoff, 2014)
18
In the aerospace field this technology offers improvements that with traditional manufacturing
methods couldn’t be done. SpaceX launched the first successful rocket Falcon 9 rocket on
January 6, 2014 with a 3D printed Main Oxidizer Valve in one of the engines. With typical
casting method this could have taken months to produce, instead using 3D printing it took less
than two days. But that’s not all, using the direct metal laser sintering process this company has
printed a SuperDraco Engine Chamber made of Inconel (nickel and iron alloy). The device has
complex cooling channels, throttling mechanism, and an injector head, which would be
extremely complex to build without 3D printing. This chamber shown in Figure 24 will provide
propulsion-landing thrust and launch escape system for the Dragon version 2. It will produce up
to 120,000 pounds of axil thrust and operate at a chamber pressure of 1,000 psi with extreme
temperatures. Until now the chamber has been fired 80 times and it has successfully pass all the
tests. These devices will allow the space capsule to land with the accuracy of a helicopter and
will allow rapidly reuse, which will drastically lower the cost of space travel. SpaceX expects to
Dragon V2 to make its first orbital spaceflight in 2015 (Norris, 2014).
Figure 24: SuperDraco Engine Chamber (Norris, 2014)
Additionally jewelry and even guns can be made using 3D printing, however the medical field
shows greater advances that can improve and save lives. It is helping people with new and
cheaper prosthesis including arms and legs, and also successful implants. For example, in
Newcastle an old women was implanted a 3D printed titanium pelvis. It was made out of
19
titanium powder and fused with a laser, which then was coated with a mineral that allowed new
bone to grow. There has been an entire lower jaw implanted, a bionic ear, and even a tracheal
splint to save the life of an infant with tracheobronchomalacia (Moore, 2014). Also the hearing
aid and dental industries are making custom consumer devices that meet specific patient needs.
These devices not only are custom made but also are much simpler to manufacture. The
conventional manufacture a hearing shell device requires 10 steps as shown in Figure 25,
whereas with 3D printing it takes only 4 steps as shown in Figure 26.
Figure 26: Custom made aid shells with 3D
print (Snyder et al., 2014)
Figure 25: Conventional production of aid
shells (Snyder et al., 2014).
In 2009 Dr. Gabor Forgacs’s from Organovo was able to print the first blood vessel using a 3D
bio-printer (Krant, 2014). Since then, many biotechnology firms and universities have being
studying this 3D bio-printing process. In this process layers of living cells are deposited onto a
gel medium or sugar matrix in order to build body parts and vascular systems. For example, a US
20
team has created a template for blood vessels to grow into by using sugar, which they say is a
step closer to create synthetic organs. They say synthetically engineered cells often die before the
tissue is formed but with 3D printing using sugar to build material, one day it could work (Chen,
2012). Scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT have recently
achieved a great accomplishment which brings us closer to bio-printing. They have bio-printed
an artificial vascular network which imitates the body circular system. This is essential for the
growing of large complex tissues as Dr Luiz Bertassoni (Sydney, 2014) says "one of the greatest
challenges to the engineering of large tissues and organs is growing a network of blood vessels
and capillaries".
The company Organovo released the first commercial bio-printer called the NovoGen which is
used for studying the effects of new pharmaceuticals using functional 3D printed human tissue
(Vesanto, 2012). Most recently a Singapore startup Bio3D Technologies has just announced a
new 3D bio-printer called the Bio3D Life. This printer is able to print human tissues and cells for
diagnostics and drug testing. It uses bio-materials like cells, proteins, bacteria, and bio-gel for 2D
and 3D print with a precision of less than 10 microns, and just for 2400 USD (MaryAnn, 2014).
The USA Army has also many interest and projects working with 3D printing. They are currently
experimenting to enhance uniforms and other gear. They believed 3D printing will allow them to
make cloth or protective items that have stiff zones that move into soft areas where the body
flexes (Pop, 2014). The Army is also working with Wake Forest University’s Institute trying to
achieve 3D printing skin and starting the clinical trials. This special 3D printer scans and
measures the depth and size of the wound to print different cell types depending of the depths.
Furthermore, it only needs a piece of skin 1/10th the size of the wound to grow over the burn,
thanks to the skin’s natural healing abilities (MolitchHou, 2014). The main interests and research
of the military is on printing warhead components, clothing, wearable sensors, food and bio
printing.
Like all technologies it can be used for the wrong purposes as well. There are different cases
with 3D printing. For example, a 34 year old man in southern France used a 3D printed fake
cashpoint facades and stole thousands of euros from bank users (Helsel, 2014). Weyers and
Holler's 3D print a "bump" key shown in Figure 27, only using a software they created called
Photobump, a photo of the keyway and the manufacturer specific details about the lock series.
21
This 3D printed 'bumy' can easily open a wide range of locks. They stated they won’t release the
Photobumb to the public because thieves and spies could use it for breaking into facilities
(Greenberg, 2014). There are also numerous 3D printed illegal guns showing that this technology
can easily be used for negative applications.
Figure 27: 3D printed key (Ulanoff, 2014)
1.4.
Potential Impact
Some years ago nobody would have thought modern manufacturing could be done without a
factory. As 3D evolves it is believed that this technological advance will lead towards the third
industrial revolution. The digitization of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made,
impacting on society in every way (Anther, 2013). 3D printing has evolved from Rapid
Prototyping (RP) used for building physical model of prototypes, to Rapid Tooling (RT)
allowing to build tools and molds, and finally to Rapid Manufacturing (RM) that can build end
user parts (Karlsen, 2013). The next step is improving printing resolutions and the materials that
can be used. With this everyone will be able to create custom parts with localized manufacturing.
As stated by Lipson and Kurman (2013, pg9) “Manufacturing and business as usual will be
disrupted as regular people gain access to power tools of design and production.”
3D printing is the only technology which builds by adding material instead of removing. This
technology is mainly suited to low volume, small production runs, therefore offering companies
a cost effective, more flexible and prompt alternative to traditional manufacturing methods
(Cotteleer and Joyce, 2014). In Figure 28 a diagram shows the breakeven point between
traditional production methods and the Additive manufacturing. The flat line illustrates that 3D
22
printing is efficient in low scale production where is not affected by the changes in volume. On
the other hand, the traditional manufacturing method is efficient at high volumes but not at low
ones. This study conducted by Deloitte University concluded that by using a variety of materials
the Additive manufacturing could provide an efficient substitute for low and medium sized
production runs. Also the reduction in material cost and equipment with better improvements
will substantially increase the breakeven point (Cotteleer and Joyce, 2014).
Figure 28: Breakeven between Additive and Conventional manufacturing (Cotteleer and Joyce,
2014)
Just like PCs, brought computing to non-traditional environments, 3D printing will bring
manufacturing to non-manufacturers. When using Additive manufacturing it is recommended to
identify low volume and where redesign is needed. The redesign should use the ability to create
complex geometries and the reduction in part count. Furthermore, when the object requires a lot
of material removed with traditional manufacture, it is an excellent candidate for cost effective
with Additive manufacturing. As shown in Figure 29 the object will require a material
subtraction of 75 percent or more during the machining process, hence it’s a really good
23
candidate for additive manufacturing (Cotteleer and Joyce, 2014). The lead in time reduction,
cost reduction, improved functionality and the increased ability to customize are some of the
major benefits using Additive manufacturing (Neier et al., 2014).
Figure 29: Complex 3D printed model (Cotteleer and Joyce, 2014)
24
2.
Chapter 2 FDM Technology
Since a FDM printer will be used in the development of a shock absorber, the main focus will be
on this technology.
2.1.
Desktop FDM Styles
The FDM has evolved and grown to the point that this technology is now available for industries
and individuals. There are some variations of desktop printers available but all of them work
with the same method and components. There are four different styles of desktop printers that are
described below.

Cartesian: This style, demonstrated in Figure 30 is the most common on the market
because the printer’s mechanism and software are simpler. It works by moving on a 3
coordinate axes general X, Y, and Z in order to plot a point in a 3D space. The axes are
linear and each one has a rail manipulated by sliding joints, belts or screws allowing it to
position the nozzle anywhere in the working space (PrintSpace, 2014).
Figure 30: Cartesian Printer, and Cartasian Graph (PrintSpace, 2014).

Delta: This system uses three runners on vertical rails and each one has an arm link to
the extruder. These arms move vertically independent and are fixed to one another in
order to maintain the extruder parallel to the platform. It estimates the extruder position
or end point using trigonometric functions therefore the software that it uses its much
more complex than the Cartesian style. The benefits are that it can build taller objects
and it is space efficient. Also, the mechanical components are identical which makes the
assembly process simpler (PrintSpace, 2014). The Delta System is showed in Figure 31.
25
Figure 31: Delta Printer (PrintSpace, 2014)

Scara: This system showed in Figure 32 gets its name from the abbreviation of Selective
Compliant Assemble Robot Arm and it works with two long arms that bend at the joints
in order to move the extruder around. The articulated arms change the extruder height
depending on how far they are extended and therefore the software has to compensate by
moving the platform up and down during each layer. This style is not too common but it
is easy to build and the long arms allow the printing of bigger objects (PrintSpace, 2014).
Figure 32: Scara Printer (PrintSpace, 2014)

Polar: As seen in Figure 33, these printers use only two axes instead of three like the
others therefore it is much simpler to build. The X and Y axis are formed with the
movement of two vertical rails connected to one horizontal that hold the extruder. In
order to have a 3D space the Z axis is created by moving and rotating the whole
platform. This allows a smooth extrusion but currently the complicated rotational
geometry leads to many printing errors and complex software design. Due to the moving
26
platform it is also complicated to design heated build platforms that are required for
some materials (PrintSpace, 2014).
Figure 33: Polar Printer (PrintSpace, 2014)
The main components of a desktop FDM printer, as shown in Figure 34, include the extruder,
build, platform, control board and a display.
Figure 34: Printers main components (THRE3D, 2014)
2.2.
Materials
As this technology develops also do the materials that can be used with it. One of the main
limitations of FDM is the lack of material that can be used, however extensive research is being
carried out in order to have a broader portfolio of usable materials. For example, Kibaran
Resources, an Australian miner, has recently joined with 3D Group to investigate and patent
27
graphene and graphite for use in 3D printing. Graphene will significantly expand 3D printing
applications since it is incredibly thin, strong, light, flexible and also an electrical conductor
(Hagemann, 2014).
The materials are thin filaments of 1.75mm or 3mm thick and come in 1kg spools as shown in
Figure 35. They are classified in four major groups the traditional, dissolvable, exotics, and
other. Each group contains different materials that are explained below.
Figure 35: FDM 3D printing filament.(Smith, 2014)
2.2.1. Traditional
 PLA or Polylactic Acid: Is a thermoplastic polyester and it is made from ecofriendly
plant matter, such as corn starch and sugar cane. Since it originates from an ecofriendly
resource it makes it food approval (THRE3D, 2014). It is biodegradable because it
reverts to lactic acid when left to break down, and also it can be recycled with hydrolysis
back to monomers (Torlin, 2014). In 2010 this material was the second highest
consumption of bioplastic of the world. In the industrial sector it is used in a vast variety
of products from teabags to recipients (Torlin, 2014).
The 3D printing filaments come in different colors and are relatively of low-cost. In the
1.75mm 1 kg spool there is 302 meters and in the 3mm there is 120.2 meters (Smith,
2014). The filament should be stored in dry places and not under stress because it will
28
break. It requires low temperatures to extrude and it forms a strong product (THRE3D,
2014). It is more brittle and has a harder surface than ABS. It requires low driving force
and creates low pressure in the melt chamber due to its lower viscosity when molten. It is
soluble in sodium hydroxide also known as caustic soda (Torlin, 2014). The low melting
point is a limitation because the final product will deform at relative high temperature for
example inside a hot car.
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 150 and Maximum 250 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 0 and Maximum 50 °C (THRE3D,
2014).

ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene: This material is a thermoplastic derived from
petroleum and it is one of the most used plastics now a days. This material is not
ecofriendly and it is not safe for consumption. In industries it is mainly used in helmets
and legos because it is a strong plastic (THRE3D, 2014). It doesn’t have as fine surface
detail as PLA but it is stronger and has a lower coefficient of friction. The plastic is
resistant to many alcohols and acids, but it is soluble in Acetone (Torlin, 2014). It is easy
to print and it requires high temperatures in order to extrude. It can be glued together
easily by using neat acetone or an acetone/ABS slurry(RepRap, 2014). In the 1.75mm 1
kg spool there is 245 meter and in the 3mm there is 147.73 meters (Smith, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 220 and maximum 275 °C
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 100 and maximum 130 °C (THRE3D,
2014).
2.2.2. Dissolvable:
 Hips or High Impact Polystyrene: This material is a petrochemical synthetic polymer and
it is non-hygroscopic. It can be found in yogurt containers, Styrofoam containers, toys
and CD boxes (THRE3D, 2014). It is very tough and can be recycled, also it can be
painted and glued (Torlin, 2014).
It has similar requirements to ABS during printing and it is manly used as a dissolvable
support material. This is because HIPS dissolves easily in d-Limonene or orange oil see
Figure 36 the white parts are HIPS and black is ABS (Torlin, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 220 and maximum 240 °C.
29
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum100 and maximum 120 °C (THRE3D,
2014).
Figure 36: HIPS dissolving in Limonene (Smith, 2014)

PVA or Polyvinyl Alcohol: It is synthetic polymer hydrolyzed from polyvinyl acetate
and it is biodegradable and non-toxic. It is industrially used in fishing lures, production
of textiles and several chemical purposes (THRE3D, 2014).
It is ideal for use in a double extruder printer as a support material where complex
geometries can be built and later the PVA can be dissolved with a warm water bath.
When using this material special attention needs to be paid to the extruder temperature
because if the temperature exceeds 210C the PVA will break down into tar which can
clog or destroy the extruder (Torlin, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 160 and maximum 200 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 0 and maximum 50 °C (THRE3D,
2014).
2.2.3. Exotics:
 Wood: This material is made from a combination of wood fibers usually a powder from
recycled wood with thermoplastics. The product color can be from a light cherry to
smoky wood depending on the extruder temperature (THRE3D, 2014). It prints with a
sweet wood-like smell and the final product can be sanded and finished like if it was real
wood as seen in Figure 1Figure 37. They usually have the same printing characteristics
30
as PLA and can be used on no heated platforms (THRE3D, 2014). It can be used on a
variety of fake like wood products like wood panels on cars.
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 170 and maximum 210 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 0 and maximum 50 °C (THRE3D,
2014).
Figure 37: Object printed in wood like material

TPE or Thermoplastic Elastomers: This material is also known as thermoplastic rubber
and is a class of copolymers or a combination of polymers with both thermoplastic and
rubber characteristics (THRE3D, 2014). It has a crosslinking microstructure which
makes it flexible, bouncy and strong. It can be easily reprocessed and remolded and can
be processed with thermoplastic methods (Spontak, 2013). The main characteristic is that
it has the ability to be stretched to reasonable elongations, and when the stress is
removed it returns back to its original shape (Spontak, 2013).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 210 and maximum 230 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 30 and maximum 40 °C (THRE3D,
2014).

Thermochrome PLA: This material will change of color when heated. When the
temperature is below 29°C it has an opaque anthracite grey color and above this
temperature it changes into a transparent color (Smith, 2014).
31

Carbon fiber reinforced PLA: Is a mixed of PLA resin with 15% by weight Tenax small
chopped carbon fibers. It has a high stiffness and resistance to bending. When printed the
color is a dark glossy black and extruders around 190 to 210°C (Smith, 2014).
Figure 38: Object printed in Carbon PLA (Smith, 2014)

UV sensitive ABS: It is like the normal ABS but when it is exposed to an UV source it
rapidly changes into a vivid purple color and then with no UV source goes back to its
normal white color (Smith, 2014).

Ceramic filament: Is a mixture of ceramic powder and polymer blends and it is an
experimental filament that required printer modifications and heat treatments in order to
get it working (Smith, 2014).
Figure 39: Objects in ceramic filament (Smith, 2014)
32

Porous Lay filament or Lay-Fomm: Is a foamy material with a porous structure, it is a
mixed of rubber elastomeric polymeric and PVA. It works by soaking the print object in
water so the PVA is dissolved and only the rubber polymer remains as a micro porous
flexible object. Parthy (as cited in Smith 2014) the inventor of this material says “Lay
may be used for semi-permeable membranes and filters, artificial paper and future
cloths”.

Conductive Filament: This material is a mix of ABS material, carbon black, blends of
carbon, fiber, and conductive masterbatch. It has exceptional mechanical strength,
dimensional stability, high flow creep resistance and it can be used as anti-static, static
dissipative, conduction of electric current, circuit boards and screen of electromagnetic
interference shielding (Smith, 2014).

Stone: The stone like material is made from finely milled chalk mixed together with
thermoplastics. The material is brittle but it can be sanded and workable like a wood or
stone product so it is great to use in architecture models and landscapes (Smith, 2014).
When the material is extrude at low temperatures the print can feel smother and at high
temperature more like a rough sandstone (THRE3D, 2014). The material tends to leave a
pleasant texture overall and sometimes it may be needed an external fan in order to
increase adhesion.
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 165 and maximum 200 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 0 and maximum 50 °C (THRE3D,
2014).
2.2.4. Others:
 Nylon: Is one of the newest 3D printing materials and it is a synthetic thermoplastic
polymer. It is safe to be used in medical applications and also it can be dyed to change its
color (THRE3D, 2014). The material is hard, strong, flexible, and gives an excellent
surface bonding. The nylon is much lighter than ABS and PLA and also it is less brittle
which makes it stronger (Taulman, 2014). The disadvantages are that it is stringier and it
wraps more than ABS and PLA. It will not stick to aluminum or glass printing platforms
so it is recommended to add garolite or blue painters tape (Smith, 2014). Since it is
33
hygroscopic it must be stored in dry places if not it will absorb the water from the
environment and will have to be dry before being printed (Taulman, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 235 and maximum 260 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 100 and maximum 130 °C (THRE3D,
2014).

PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate: It is also known as Polyester and it is a synthetic
polymer, made of purified terephthalic acid or dimethyl ester and monoethylene glycol
(Johnson, 2014). It’s the third most used plastic material; it’s used in textiles, bottles and
sails. It is recyclable and has a high mechanical strength. It is a lightweight plastic and is
a very strong with impact resistant (Johnson, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 210 and maximum 235 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 45 and maximum 60 °C (THRE3D,
2014).

PC or Polycarbonate: It’s a really strong and transparent synthetic polymer. It is made by
a condensation polymerization resulting in a carbon that is joined to three oxygen’s
(Anther, 2013). It should be printed in ventilated environments and it has very rigid
qualities. It is applied in many elements like cooler jugs and while it is cold it can be
formed and bent (THRE3D, 2014). It’s manly used to take advantage of its exceptional
high impact strength and clarity (Anther, 2013).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 270 and maximum 305 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 75 and maximum 95 °C (THRE3D,
2014).

PC-ABS: It combines the flexibility and lower working temperatures of ABS with the
strength of PC. This compound thermoplastic is commonly used in automotive parts and
it creates high strength objects than can last longer (THRE3D, 2014).
Extrusion recommended temperature: Minimum 220 and maximum 275 °C.
Platform recommended temperature: Minimum 100 and maximum 130 °C (THRE3D,
2014) .
Beside these materials there is also interest in using this technology in the food industry and so
far achieving prints in chocolate and ice-cream. Three students Donghyun, Bunker, and Kyle
Hounsell from MIT have created a printer able to print ice-cream. It deposits thin layers of ice34
cream into a polyscience anti-griddle which features a -34°C plate that rapidly freezes the
surface, although it can only print up to 10mm height because beyond that point the layer doesn’t
fully freeze (Krassen, 2014). In 2012 the company Choc Edge Ltd launched the first 3D
commercial printer and recently it has released in the Chinese market its second version call the
Choc Creator. It works with a stepper motor that extrudes chocolate out of a 10ml syringe at a
maximum linear speed of 2000mm/min (Hipolite, 2014).
Figure 40: Chocolate 3D printer
2.3.
Shock Absorbers:
A shock absorber or damper is a mechanical device designed to smooth out or damp shock
impulses, and dissipate kinetic energy (Banginwar et al., 2014). The most common are
pneumatic or hydraulic shock absorbers and are used in combination with cushions and springs.
They commonly take the form of a cylinder with hydraulic fluid or air, and a moving piston in
the inside. They are an important device used in automobiles and motorcycles suspensions,
aircraft landing gear, and in many industrial machines (Banginwar et al., 2014).
Depending on their mechanism and usage there are various types of shock absorbers. Some of
these types are the air shock absorber, the damper shock absorber, the mono tube shock absorber,
the twin tube shock absorber, the spring shock absorber and the MR fluid shock absorber
35
(Hassam, 2011). The type of shock absorber chose for this project is the spring shock absorber
which uses the effect of a spring to absorb the shocks as shown in Figure 41. The tighter the
spring coil is the stiffer the shock absorber will be.
Figure 41: Spring shock absorber
36
3.
Chapter 3 Design and Develop
The rapid growth and development of 3D printing is allowing us to create and build things that
were never thought possible. It is being used in many industries and the overall market size was
estimated at 2$ billion in 2012, and its growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.2%
(Neier et al., 2014). The improvements on FDM technology have led to more sophisticated and
cheaper printers allowing hobbyist and regular customers to experiment and work with these
printers. In order to explore the benefits and capabilities of this technology a spring shock
absorber will be build using the new Up Plus 2 printer.
3.1.
3D Printer Up Plus 2
The Up Plus 2 shown in Figure 42 is a commercial 3D printer made by 3D Printing Systems.
This plug and use home 3D printer is friendly and works with fused deposition modeling
technology. The filament is extruder through a hot nozzle that moves in the Y axis, while the
platform moves in the X and Z axis allowing three degrees of freedom in order to build up any
3D object. It has a built in heated platform which allows printing a wide range of materials and
avoiding warping. Some of the benefits and innovations from this printer, which make it user
friendly, are the automatic platform leveling along with automatic platform height detection. It’s
always required to have the platform level to avoid any warps and the height must be the specific
depending on the material being used. The auto level and height detection make the printing
setup much easier but it can also be done manually if needed.
Figure 42: Up Plus 2 3D printer
37
In order to start designing any object the user must first know the specifications of the printer
going to be used. For the Up Plus 2 the specification are found in the user manual and are shown
in Table 2. These specifications show a print bed size of 140x140x135mm, which means the
object design can’t be bigger than that. If the object is bigger it should be assembled or glued in
different components. Another solution is using the 3DPrintTech application that has just being
released by CCtech. This application works as a CAD plugin that is able to divide the large
object into small connectable components within few minutes (Krassenstein, 2014).
This printer is not an open source 3D printer and therefore it comes with its own software. The
software is included and it automatically calculates the required support material. It reads any
STL file which then can be modified to start printing out, these modifications include.

Scale, Rotate, Move & Print

Supported File Types: STL

Extrusion temperatures 260 and 200 degrees

Print Preview with material usage and time estimates

Automatic placement

Repeat last print

Rotate, Resize, Scale, Move 3D object

Select layer thickness (0.15mm to 0.40mm)

Select print speed vs. quality

Variable fill of models with honeycomb fill.

Fine to large honeycomb mesh

Smart Support

Automatic Support material angles, 10 to 80 degrees
38
Table 2: UpPlus2 specifications
3.2.
Designing for 3D printing
Since 3D printing is not like the conventional manufacturing process there are some aspects that
need to be considered. The object that’s going to be built has to be designed according to the
material that will be used and the specifications of the machine. A basic design guide
recommended to follow for a successful 3D printing is shown below.
3.2.1. 45 degree rule:
Since FDM builds the object layer by layer, the 45 degree rule has to be consider where
overhangs that are greater than 45 degrees will need support material. The support material is
required because gravity will bring the layer down if there’s not any support. This support
material can be built on the interior of the piece or outside depending where it’s needed
(Kaziunas, 2013). Hence, if the angle is greater than 45 degrees the support material should be
used or the design should be modified. In Figure 43 it can be clearly seen if the angle of the
model is bigger than 45 degrees it will be likely to fail.
39
Figure 43: 45 degree rule (Kaziunas, 2013).
3.2.2. Design to avoid support material
It’s recommended to design the model in a way it won’t need support material because it creates
kinks on the surface of the object when it is remove. The support material can also be time
consuming to remove and it will use unnecessary material. Therefore, the design should be done
to minimize the support material or use methods to add custom support. For example, the
“mouse ears” that are helper disks and cones designed into the model to help it print without the
use of computer generated support material (Kaziunas, 2013).
3.2.3. Know your printers limitations
When printing pieces with small features make sure to know the printer limits in order to know if
it’s capable of achieving those specifications. One important variable is the thread width which is
determined by the diameter of the printer nozzle. Most FDM printers have a 0.4mm which means
that the circle drawn by the printer is always two thread widths deep so 0.8mm thick (Whiston,
2014). The smallest feature it can be made is double the thread width and this is known as the
rule of thumb (Kaziunas, 2013).
3.2.4. Fit tolerances for Interlocking Parts
Objects with interlocking parts need to have the correct tolerances in order to work as intended.
Its recommended to use 0.2mm offset for a tight fit and 0.5mm or bigger offset for a lose fit
(Kaziunas, 2013). Also, a non-manifold model won’t be able to be made because the edges of the
model must not be shared between more than two faces (Whiston, 2014).
40
3.2.5. Improve thread width
When the object needs very thin features it is recommended to design the walls of the model to
be one thread width thick. For a better strong surface it should be designed with a minimum
thickness of 1mm (Whiston, 2014).
3.2.6. Orient for the best resolution
On the FDM printers the X and Y resolution are determined by the thread width so only the Z
resolution can be controlled. This Z resolution should be oriented depending on the model, hence
obtaining the best surface finish and fine features. If it is a complex model the direction of
printing ,vertical or horizontal, will have a significant impact (Kaziunas, 2013). Also the model
can be sliced into pieces for later re-assemble as shown in Figure 44.
Figure 44: Sliced and assemble for best orientation (Kaziunas, 2013)
3.2.7. Orient for stress
If the object being printed will have a force applied to it the orientation will also have a
significant effect. In order to keep the piece from breaking when the force is applied it should be
oriented with the print layers perpendicular to the point of the pressure being applied (Kaziunas,
2013). Since its build up layer by layer there will be a weak point between each bond, so if the
force is parallel it may break these bonds.
3.3.
Design of the Spring Shock Absorber
The design of the shock absorber is limited by the Up plus 2 printer capacity, shown in Table 2,
and the materials being used. The spring shock absorber was designed using SolidWorks and
41
taking in consideration the 3D printing guides shown in the previous section. It consists of a total
of eight components which will be 3D printed and then assembled into one. Two of these
components will be printed in rubber-like material (TPE) and the rest on ABS. The rubber-like
material will be used for the bump stopper and a seal, the ABS will be used for one spring, a
cylinder, a piston, two caps, the locking ring and a preload adjuster.
In order to test the 3D printed spring shock absorber a cam and follower will be designed to
move the spring up and down, simulating a real application. The cam will be connected to an
electric drill that will move the follower, and consequently push the spring up and down. The
shock absorber will be screwed to an acrylic sheet as shown in the assembly sketch in Figure 45,
which will keep one side of the shock absorber fixed. In order to observe all of its components an
exploded view is shown in Figure 46. The total number of components required is shown on
Table 3. All of these components will be 3D printed except the acrylic sheet and the screws.
Figure 45: Assembly sketch
42
Figure 46: Exploded view of shock absorber system
Table 3: Components for the system
ITEM
NO.
PART NUMBER
QTY
1
Spring
1
2
Cylinder
1
3
Locking ring
1
4
Preload adjuster
1
5
Piston with rod
1
6
Cap
1
7
Cap with follower
1
8
Cam with Shaft
1
9
Bump stopper
1
10
Seal
1
11
Supports
2
12
Screws
4
13
Base
1
43
3.4.
Design of components
3.4.1. Design of spring
The spring is the main component of the shock absorber and it is defined as an elastic body that
deflects when loaded, and recovers to its original shape when the load is removed (Khurmi and
Gupta, 2005). Springs have different applications for example to control motion in machines,
reduction of transmitted forces as a result of impact or shock loading, to storage energy,
measurement of forces, and dissipate shock and control oscillations (Khurmi and Gupta, 2005).
There are many types of springs with different shapes, for different uses and applications.
A coiled compression spring will be used for this shock absorber. These type of springs are made
up of a wire coiled in the form of a helix and are mainly used for compressive loads (Khurmi and
Gupta, 2005). Figure 47 shows the sketch of the spring which has a constant pitch of 8mm. It
also has a spring end preparation to provide uniform force distribution around the end of the coil.
This end preparation is a squared and ground ends, where the end turns are squared and the
ground perpendicular to the helix axis. This ensures that the axis of the force applied is aligned
with the center line of the coil (Norton, 2000). With this the spring has 9 active coils and 2
inactive coils. The specifications of the spring are shown in Table 4, and it has a spring rate of
5.8. The spring rates between 5 to 10 are easy to manufacture, higher than 10 are cheap, large
and imprecise. If the spring rate is below 4 they are compact and difficult to make, which will
require heat treatment before and after coiling (Lozzi, 2014). High spring rate indicates a
voluminous spring, and the spring stiffness varies inversely with the third power of the spring
rate (Norton, 2000). The decimal factor is 0.3mm which is the minimum space between wire
coils when the spring is loaded. When the spring is loaded it should never work to the packed
length that’s why the minimum length is higher than the packed length (Khurmi and Gupta,
2005).
44
Figure 47: Sketch of spring
Table 4: Spring specifications
Helical Spring of circular wire
Description
Variable
Mean diameter of the spring coil
D [mm]
Diameter of the spring wire
d [mm]
Number of active coils
n [units]
Number of inactive coils
ni [units]
Spring index
C [D/d]
Pitch of the coils
p [mm]
Free length
Lf [mm]
Packed length
Lp [mm]
Decimal factor
s [mm]
Minimum length with load
Lm [mm]
Value
29
5
9
2
5.8
8
90
55
0.3
68.5
3.4.2. Design of cylinder
The cylinder is a round tube that acts as a guide for the piston and prevents the spring from
buckling. When the diameter of the spring is small compared to the length, the spring buckling
can occur (Khurmi and Gupta, 2005). The outside diameter of the cylinder is almost the same of
the inside diameter of the spring to prevent the buckling. Although, because the spring tends to
grow in outside diameter as it is compressed, the space must be big enough to prevent it from
45
jamming. The cylinder also has a thread in which the locking ring and preload adjuster will
move. This male thread is wrapped around the outside of the cylinder and it is a helical structure
used to convert between rotational and linear movement or force (Bhandari, 2007). The thread
had to be designed based on the Up plus 2 specifications, therefore they couldn’t be fine threads.
In order to select the correct thread for the job, three different types of bolts and nuts where 3D
printed as shown in Figure 48, each one with different type of thread. These types of threads are
the buttress thread, square thread form, and the acme coarse thread. The results showed that
either the buttress thread or the coarse thread could be used; only the square didn’t work due to
the support material in between each thread.
Figure 48: Type of threads on bolts and nuts
The chosen thread for the design is the coarse thread with a 3mm pitch for the 24mm diameter
cylinder, which allows a precise movement in order to adjust the spring. The same thread is also
used in the assembly of the shock absorber for screwing the two end caps. The final sketch of the
cylinder is shown in Figure 49, on the upper end the cap will be screwed, and the bottom end has
a smaller internal diameter in order to lock the piston and prevent it for coming out.
46
Figure 49: Sketch of cylinder
3.4.3. Design of piston, lock ring and preload adjuster
The piston moves inside the cylinder and it has 0.2mm of offset with the cylinder in order to
have a solid and tight movement. The piston is connected to a rod, which has a thread at the end
in order to screw the bottom cap. Figure 50 shows the design of the piston with the rod that will
be printed in green ABS and the end has a male thread with 3mm pitch in order to screw the
bottom cap. The round seal shown at the left of Figure 51 will be printed in TPE and glued to the
head of the piston to allow liquid inside the cylinder. The bumper stopper shown at the left of
Figure 51 will also be printed in TPE and will go at the bottom of the piston to prevent it from
bottoming out.
Figure 50: Sketch of Piston with rod
47
Figure 51: Seal (left) and bump stopper (right)
The preload adjuster and locking ring are two round rings with external groves for adjustment.
They have an internal thread with an offset of 0.5 from the male thread in order to have a tight
interlocking and smooth screwing movement. The lock ring is only smaller in diameter
compared to the preload adjuster. The lock ring prevents the adjustment ring from moving,
therefore maintaining it fixed in the position that’s required. The preload adjuster is shown in
Figure 52 to the left and at the right the locking ring. Both rings will be printed on red ABS.
Figure 52: Preload adjuster (left) and locking ring (right)
3.4.4. Design of caps
There are two caps that go at each end of the shock absorber. The lower end cap shown in Figure
53 has a female thread with a 0.5 offset that’s screwed into the piston rod. It has a simple saddle
where the end preparation of the spring is compresses adequately. The upper cap has a female
thread with a 0.5mm offset that’s screwed into the cylinder as shown in Figure 54. Both caps
have a round finishing with a round hole for installation.
48
Figure 53: Bottom end cap
Figure 54: Top end cap
3.4.5. Design of Cam and Follower
The cam and follower is a device that is able to convert rotary motion into linear motion. The
cam is a machine element with a curved outline that is fixed to a rotating shaft and due to the
reciprocating motion it gives a predetermined specified motion to another element called the
follower (Wang, 2006). There are different shapes of cams such as: oval, round, heart shaped,
egg-shaped, ellipse, eccentric, hexagon and snail. The follower is always in contact with the cam
and depending on the surface in contact they can be classified as knife edge follower, roller
follower, flat faced follower, and spherical faced follower (Phakatkar, 2005).
In order to test the spring shock absorber an eccentric cam with a flat-faced follower has being
selected as shown in Figure 55. The eccentric cam is also known as a circular disc cam because it
is a round disc. This circular disc is mounted eccentrically on a camshaft where the lift provided
is twice the eccentricity (Phakatkar, 2005). The circular disc shown in Figure 56 has 7.5mm
eccentricity of cam, therefore the lift will be 15mm. In order for the device to work an electric
drill will be used, as it will act as the motor for the system. The drill will be connected directly to
49
the shaft of the cam which has a triangular profile at the end for a quick connect system. As the
drill moves it will move the eccentric cam that will lift the follower, consequently the spring will
be compress 15mm on each cycle.
Figure 55: Eccentric cam with a flat-faced follower
Figure 56: Eccentric cam with shaft
The follower is a modification of the bottom end cap that connects to the piston rod, therefore by
changing the caps it can be used with the cam mechanism. It is the same design but with a flat
faced end as shown in Figure 57. This is a radial follower where the path of motion of the
follower is along the axis passing through the center of the cam (Phakatkar, 2005).
50
Figure 57: Bottom cap with flat-faced follower
The last components are two stands supports for the shock absorber and cam. These supports will
be fixed to a cast acrylic sheet using four pan head screws. The first support shown in Figure 58
has two holes for the screws and a shaft that connects to the hole of the upper cap. Once the
shock absorber is in position a pan head screw with a washer will be screwed on the center of the
shaft keeping the upper cap fixed. The second stand support has two holes for the screws and a
shaft where the eccentric cam will be connected allowing it to move freely. This stand also has
two square columns on the end edges that will act as a guide for the cam mechanism, and to keep
the shock absorber straight and secure during the movement.
Figure 58: Upper stand support
Figure 59: Cam stand support
For further information and dimensions on the components presented in this section refer to the
appendix.
51
4.
Chapter 4: 3D Printing
The Up Plus 2 printer is a friendly user printer that came out around 9 month ago with a retail
price of 1950$ AU. Since then the printer has been reduce in price and can now be purchased for
around 1300$ AU, this clearly shows how fast this technology is changing and becoming more
accessible. The process in order to 3D print using the Up Plus 2 printer is described below.
4.4.
Process
In order to start printing with the Up Plus 2 a sequence of recommended steps are shown below:

The printer has to be set up properly and the user manual must be read beforehand.

Install the Up software.

The CAD design must be safe on STL format and then open on the Up software.

Set the object in the desired position by rotating and moving the model, it can also be
scaled to make it fit in the built in platform or to make it bigger.

Connect the USB cable to the computer and initialize the printer, it will make the printer
beep and center the platform.

Load the filament reel and feed it through the filament guide and into the print head.

Clean the perfboard using a spatula to scrape the surface, and set it on the platform
securing it with the clips.

Connect the cable and sensor to the printer and set the auto level and height of the
platform.

Click on the 3D print icon and select maintenance, choose the type of material ABS or
PLA and extrude the filament. Also preheat the platform if needed.

Click on the print icon and select preferences

The preference window lets the user choose different settings:

Z resolution: The height of each layer can be selected between 15,
20, 25, 30, 35, and 40mm. The bigger the layer height the less
bonding it will have but it will take less time to print.

Fill: The object’s internal fill can be selected as shown in Figure 60
from left to right solid, semi-solid, semi-hollow and hollow
honeycomb. The solid option will make a nearly solid, which is
stronger but takes longer time to print. It can also print shell that
52
will print only the external shell without internal honeycomb,
therefore the object will be fragile. The last option is surface,
which prints the model with one layer thick and no internal fill, it
will also not create a flat bottom surface or the top flat surface.
Figure 60: Type of fills

Support: The angle for the support to build on the piece can be
changed between 10 to 80 degrees but it is recommended to use at
least 45 degrees, due to the 45-degree rule previously mentioned.
The density of the support and area can also be modified.

Stable support: It will create a more rigid support but will be more
complex to remove it from the model.

In the print window the user can also choose some options described below:

Quality: The print quality can be selected between fine, normal and
fast. The normal is the average quality, the fast is a draft quality
but takes less time to print, and the fine is the best quality but takes
longer time.

Pause: The print can be stopped at a defined height in order to
change of color or to insert objects.

Heat platform: After the print is completed the user can keep the
printer heated for 5 minutes or up to 60 minutes for a better
cooling down and in order to avoid deformations on the model.

Unsolid model: This function is to allow printing STL files that are
not perfect, meaning it doesn’t have a fully enclosed surface.

No raft: It will print the model without a raft.
53

Click OK and a window will let you know how much material will be used and how long
it’s going to take, after that the print will start and the USB cable can be unplugged from
the computer.

Once the print is finished it will beep. Carefully proceed to remove the clips and slide the
perfboard out of the platform.

Carefully slide the spatula under the model and slowly wiggle it back and forth until the
model is loose.

Finally carefully remove the raft and support material from the model.
Remember to always use gloves and the safety equipment to prevent burns and cuts.
4.5.
Printing with ABS
All the component needed where successfully 3D printed on ABS as shown in Figure 61,
following the previously mention steps. The ABS is extruded around 260 °C and with a heated
platform of 100 to 105 °C to avoid warping. In order to make sure the shock absorber is strong
enough to work properly almost all the components were printed using a 0.20mm layer
resolution, which gave a nice surface finishing and an excellent bonding between each layer.
Also, the door vent was kept closed at all times because when it’s open the air will weaken the
layers bonding. The components were printed with red, green, black, yellow and white ABS.
Before printing it was necessary to preheat the platform, which takes around 20 minutes. In order
to speed up the heating process a cloth can be placed on top of the platform that will reduce the
heat dissipation.
Figure 61: 3D printed shock absorber in ABS
54
There were some difficulties while printing the spring and the caps that were the most complex
components. When the caps were printed vertical and upside down the surface finish at the end
was rough and had kinks from the support material. The surface was sanded in order to fix this
problem, but it didn’t work because when sanding color ABS the tone of the ABS changes as
shown on the left side of Figure 62. The best solution was printing it vertical, but not upside
down, and then carefully removing the support material from the inside female thread using
acetone to weaken the support material as shown to the right of Figure 62.
Figure 62: 3D printed cap with sanded surface (left,) and upside down printed cap (right)
The spring was the most complex part, which took several attempts to accomplish the printing.
The spring is also the largest component so the platform needed to be really hot in order to avoid
the edges lifting up during the printing causing the model to warp. This happens because the
ABS comes out the extruder in an expanded state and when it cools it shrinks, so the hot
platform will help the model to cool evenly. It was printed vertically and horizontally in order to
see which option gave the best results. The vertical was easier to remove from the platform
because there was less surface area in the platform, but it came out with more support material
that left more kinks on the surface of the spring when it was removed. The time to remove the
support material using the hands and scalp was also much longer. Therefore, the best way to
print was horizontal as shown in Figure 63, although it had more surface area on the platform it
just needed the platform to be really hot to avoid warp.
55
Three spring where successfully printed with different fills. These prints where made with a fine
quality which is a print speed of 10cm^3/h, a layer resolution or thickness of 0.25mm with solid
fill, semi-solid, and semi-hollow honeycomb fill. The ABS is a tough and rigid material but it
turned out to work really well as a flexible spring where it can compress when a force is applied
and then returns to its free length. The spring has small kinks in the flat size where it was
touching the Raft when being printed. These kinks were reduced by carefully sanding the
surface.
Figure 63: Horizontal 3D print spring
White ABS was the easier to work with compare to the colors ABS. The color ABS was pretty
similar but it needed better room temperature control, and any breeze could deform the model
much easier than when using white ABS. This can be seen in Figure 64 where the red ABS
spring shifted during the print due to a change in the environment.
56
Figure 64: Shifted 3D print spring
When changing the filament always make sure to cut the end of the new filament before inserting
it to the extruder head because it can jam the drive gear. Also, make sure the nozzle is clean in
order to get a nice even layer all the time. The sign of a blocked nozzle is when printing the fine
raft crass hatching and the lines are uneven or when extruding the filament it comes out at an
angle.
4.6.
Printing with TPE
The rubber like material (TPE) is a new material with flexible properties that was used for the
seal and the bump stopper. There was a major difficulty printing this material with the Up plus 2
because the Up software doesn’t allow changing the extruder temperature. The software only
allows the user to set the extruder temperature to 200 °C for PLA and 270 °C for ABS, whereas
TPE needs around 230 °C. Therefore, it is very tricky and technically demanding to print it
correctly.
Since the PLA temperature setting was too low the TPE wouldn’t even extrude, so the ABS
setting had to be used. After numerous experiments using the ABS setting it turn up to work
really good and the models were successfully printed. They resulted as expected; when the object
was under stress it deformed and then return to its original shape ones the stress was removed. In
57
order to successfully print TPE on the Up plus 2 some printing settings had to be configured,
which are shown below.

First of all the table height had to be manually set in order to work because the material
can jammed the extruder at the normal ABS height. The space between the nozzle and the
platform is recommended to be 0.3mm. The simplest way to get the correct height that
worked after various prints was to use the automatic height detection and after that
subtract 0.3mm. After the auto height is detected the measurement will appear in the
printing setting window, it’s usually 135.43mm so it was changed to 135.13mm.

Make sure the platform is leveled.

The recommended platform temperature is 30 to 40°C so the platform should not be
preheated. Also, do not program the platform heat to continue after the print.

Since the filament is slightly sticky it may get stuck when being unwind so it should be
manually feed though the filament guide tube to enable a smooth feed. If the material
doesn’t run smoothly through the guide, some WD-40 can be added in the guide so it
flows properly.

It comes out of the extruder as a viscous liquid so it’s recommended to use only semihollow or hollow fill. Also, the model will be more flexible when the hollow fill is used
compared to the solid fill.

The resolution recommended is of 0.25mm, and the quality should be normal. When the
fast speed was used the model was distorted and with holes because the extruded material
was not fast enough for the moving speed. Whereas, in fine quality the speed was too
slow and sometimes due to the high temperature the material accumulated in some parts
which deformed the model.

The extruder vent door should be closed because since there is more distance from the
platform to the extruder the air from the vent will push the extruded filament resulting in
a less precise layer deposition.

If the final model has a bit of yellowish color the overall temperature was too hot. To fix
this the extruder vent door can be open halfway or it’s better to lower the room
temperature. An external ventilation or air-conditioning could be used to lower the
58
temperature. As shown in Figure 65 the printed TPE tests with different temperatures, the
one to the left is a bit yellow and as the temperature lowers it gets whiter and translucent.
Figure 65: Temperature tests on TPE printing

The design should be done to avoid support material.

The material has a good adhesion to the perboard so there’s no need of adding any
additives.

The no raft option should be used. It has to be printed with no raft and any material that
needs to be removed will have to be cut off with the cutter. Using the no raft option will
result on a rough surface finish due to the contact with the platform because it solidifies
with the form of the perboard. In order to solve this problem BuildTak adhesive printing
sheets where used. The BuildTak sheets allow having a smooth surface finishing when
printing raft-less, because it provides a flat surface as shown in Figure 66. The material
stuck really well to the BuilTak sheet and therefore no further modifications are required.
In order to use the BuilTak sheet only a few steps shown below must be done:
o Scrap both sides of the perboard and make sure it is clean.
o Remove the backing sheet of the BuildTak and stick it to the perboard.
o The BuildTak has a thickness of 0.3mm so this must be taken into account when
printing. Therefore, in the printing setting window 0.3mm more should be
subtracted to the total height.
59
Figure 66: BuildTak sheet install on perboard.

Carefully remove the model from the perboard using the spatula. The model didn’t
required too much force to remove it and when using the BuildTak is even easier.

The final piece should be a solid, flexible and clear color model as shown in Figure 67. It
will have good bonding between layers and high elasticity with excellent abrasion
resistance.
60
Figure 67: Successful bump stopper printed on TPE
4.7.
Single Print
3D printing has many potential benefits as previously explained. For example, it allows printing
intricate geometries and complex features in just one click of a button. The products and
components can be designed specifically to avoid assembly requirements, hence eliminating
labor and costs associated with the assembly processes. Common manufacturing of shock
absorbers requires different components that are then assembled, as previously shown, but with
3D printing it can be done in one single piece. In order to explore this benefit the previously
design shock absorber was printed in one single print.
First, all of the components were assembled in SolidWorks and then saved as one STL file. Like
most desktop 3D printers, the Up Plus 2 has the limitation of printing size, which means the
model can’t be bigger than the printing platform size. The Up software revealed that the original
design was too big to fit inside the platform, therefore the design had to be resized. Using the
scale icon on the Up software the design was scaled to 0.7 of its original size. This allowed for
the shock absorber to fit inside the platform and proceed with the printing.
The print of the shock absorber in a single piece was not as easy as one click of a button, it did
require some adjustments. Since the model is complex and its original design was to be
assembled, it had some difficulties. The orientation and the printing preferences were the main
61
factors for the print to be successful or not. After some tests the shock absorber was successfully
3D printed in just one piece as shown in Figure 68.
Figure 68: Single printed shock absorber
When printed horizontal the support material inside the cylinder prevent the piston from moving,
therefore it was printed vertically with normal quality, 0.25mm Z resolution, and a semi solid
fill. In order to get as less support material possible the support preferences had to be set to 5
layers dense and the area to 20 mm2. The extruder vent door was halfway opened to reduce the
boding strength between layers, therefore making it easier to remove the support material after
printing. The model came out with all of its patterns and features, but had a lot of support
material as seen in Figure 69, that had to be carefully and patiently removed before being tested.
After removing the support material the shock absorber was able to compress and act as a
62
functional shock absorber that could be used in toys or personalized products according to
individual needs and requirements.
Figure 69: Single print shock absorber with support material
The total material used was 31.5 grams of ABS and the printing time was 2 hours and 12
minutes. These show a quick, accurate and low price prototype or end product that reduced costs
of assembly. It also reduces the costs of tools production in the product development stage. The
downside is with complex designs the support material is always needed, which requires time
and patience to remove it, hence this could cost the same as the assembly costs.
63
5.
5.4.
Chapter 5 Tests and Results
Spring Rate
Another advantage of 3D printing is that by changing the filling less material will be used,
therefore reducing costs and making components more efficient and lighter. The filling can also
affect how the component works and behaves. A test was carried out with two helical springs
with different fills in order to analyze the effect it has on the spring stiffness. The first spring was
printed with a solid fill with white ABS, and the second with a semi-hollow fill in yellow ABS as
shown in Figure 70.
Figure 70: Interior fill of springs.
The two springs were compressed to almost the minimum load length with a couple of weights
on top. A base with a tube was 3D printed in order to keep the spring on place while the weight
was applied, and also to avoid the spring from buckling. Using a precision scale the total weight
applied was of 350 grams and then using a Vernier caliper the compress length was measure as
shown in Figure 71.
64
Figure 71: Spring rate measurement.
Applying the same force to both springs, the semi-solid spring compressed 3.2mm more than the
solid fill. With the result and the specifications of the springs from table 4 the spring rate of each
spring was calculated. The spring rate or stiffness is defined as the load required per unit
deflection of the spring (Bhandari, 2007). The solid honeycomb is made of nearly solid plastic
which made it stronger than the semi-solid, consequently it changed the density of the
component, therefore having a higher spring rate or stiffness as shown in The 3D printed spring
it’s not entire a solid and therefore the modules of rigidity is also smaller if compared to solid
ABS material.
Table 5 shows that if the same spring was made of stainless steel it will be 264 times stiffer with
a spring rate of 44 kN/m.
With the spring almost to its minimum compress length the module of rigidity of the ABS could
be also defined with the equation below and the data from Table 4. The module of rigidity or
Shear Modulus is the coefficient of elasticity for a shearing force. It is defined as the ratio of
shear stress to the displacement per unit sample length or shear strain (Norton, 2000).
𝐺=
𝑘8𝐶 3 𝑁𝑎
𝑑
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The module of rigidity for the ABS in this case is 46.7 x 107 N/𝑚2 which is around ten thousand
times smaller than the module of rigidity of steel that’s 77GPa. The 3D printed spring it’s not
entire a solid and therefore the modules of rigidity is also smaller if compared to solid ABS
material.
Table 5: Stiffness of the springs
Spring Rate or Stiffness
Spring
A
B
ABS white
ABS yellow
Solid
Semi-solid
Length (mm)
90
90
Weight (gr)
350
350
Force (N)
3.43
3.43
Compress length (mm)
72.6
69.4
Delta length ∆L (mm)
17.4
20.6
Stiffness k (N/m)
197.1
166.5
Material
Honeycomb Filled
5.5.
Costs and Time
An important variable to consider when manufacturing any component is the price and time it
takes to build it.
Table 7 shows the settings, time and cost for each of the components that where 3D printed for
the shock absorber. Most of the components where printed with a 0.20mm layer resolution and
fine speed, in order to have a better surface finishing and quality, although it required longer
times to print. Also, the fill used is semi-solid and solid in order to have strong components. The
results show a total time of 6 hours and 53 minutes to 3D print the shock absorber with 83.1
grams of material used. This results show a quick way to manufacture the component and the
time and amount of material can be reduced by modifying the layer resolution, speed and fill of
each component. Although, before changing these variables the component must be analyzed
depending on its final use because it will have a significant effect. Some components were
printed at the same time for example the locking ring and the preload adjuster put this didn’t
66
affect the time or material being used. Printing component together will reduce time of setting up
and after printing times put the material used and the time it takes will be the same. The only
way to reduce these times is by using two printers at the same time or using a faster printer.
The total cost of the shock absorber considering only the costs of material will be 7 AUD. The
price for the materials is given in Table 6, which shows the price of 8 cents per gram of ABS and
11 cents for TPE. This means ABS is cheaper than TPE, also the materials that were used are not
expensive and will get even cheaper with time. The prices were taken from 3dsystems.com.
Table 6: Price of ABS and TPE
Type
ABS
TPE
Cost of Material
Mass
Price
(g)
(AUD)
700
59
500
58.7
Price per g
(AUD)
0.084
0.117
Table 7: Cost, time and setting of each component
Component
Spring
Cylinder
Locking Ring
Preload Adjuster
Piston with rod
Upper Cap
Bottom Cap
Bump Stopper
Seal
Total
5.6.
Layer
Resolution
(mm)
0.25
0.20
0.20
0.20
0.20
0.20
0.20
0.25
0.25
Speed
Fine
Fine
Fine
Fine
Normal
Fine
Fine
Normal
Normal
Fill
Semi-solid
Semi-solid
Solid
Solid
Solid
Semi-solid
Semi-solid
Semi-hollow
Semi-hollow
Time
(min) Material
166
ABS
2
ABS
19
ABS
26
ABS
44
ABS
54
ABS
73
ABS
7
TPE
1
TPE
392
Mass
(g)
29.4
17.2
3.2
4.6
6.6
8.1
11.6
2
0.4
83.1
Cost
(AUD)
2.48
1.45
0.27
0.39
0.56
0.68
0.98
0.23
0.05
7.08
Surface Treatment
One important process in manufacturing is the surface treatment where different industrial
processes are used to alter the piece surface in order to obtain a certain property. After a surface
treatment the object can improve in appearance, adhesion, reflection, solder ability, tarnish
resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, friction and wear, change conductivity, and
67
remove surface flaws (Ebnesajjad and Ebnesajjad, 2006). Overall, this process will improve the
functions and or service life of the material.
In 3D printing when a model is printed in ABS material it can be given a smooth, shiny surface
with an acetone vapor bath. This happens because the acetone breaks the secondary bonds
between the ABS polymer chains, and as a result softens the outer layer of the plastic. The chains
move to a more stable position by sliding past each other and closing the gaps between each
layer. The surface tension in the liquid-like plastic layer polish the surface texture and after the
acetone evaporates the plastic returns to its original hardness (Chapman et al., 2014). If the
process is done correctly as shown below it will ensure a very consistent surface.
5.6.1. Process
 Make sure to do it on a well-ventilated area or use an extractor.

Add a small amount of acetone into a glass jar around 3 mm deep.

Take the glass jar to a heated platform and heat it up until a vapor cloud can be seen
coming up the jar.

Lower the temperature to a medium heat.

Using a fishing line or a cord lower the model into the jar.

Have the model suspend inside the jar without touching the walls.

Close the jar using a lid or aluminum foil, to speed up the process and reduce acetone
vapor in the working environment.

The object will turn shiny and smooth in a few seconds, depending on the temperature
that is being used the process can take longer or less time.

When you are satisfied with the amount of smoothing, carefully retract the object from
the jar and hang the part up to dry.

Remove the jar from the heat and leave it closed until the vapor cools and condenses back
into liquid to be store again in the acetone container.

Allow the part to dry for around one hour without touching it.
The helical spring was given a smooth, shiny surface finish by immersing it in the acetone vapor
bath as shown in Figure 72. The spring was immersed in the jar for 3 minutes and then removed
when the model was shiny and smooth. It also ends up with a well-bonded and continuous layer
on the outer surface as seen in Figure 73. Depending on the acetone temperature the process can
68
be faster, but be careful not to leave it inside for too long. If the piece is left for too long blisterlike bubbles will appear on the model surface. This method resulted to be very effective and fast,
although safety precautions must be taken in account since acetone is flammable and it shouldn’t
be inhaled. The boiling point of acetone is 56°C but it will evaporate at room temperature
therefore this method will also work without heating up the acetone, although it will take much
longer time (Sink, 2014).
Figure 72: Acetone vapor bath
69
Figure 73: Spring after surface treatment
The conclusion reached in a recent study (Chapman et al., 2014) was that “treating the 3D
printed samples with acetone vapor gave them a smooth surface finish and increased the
toughness by 50% to 100% with only slight losses in tensile strength”. The surface treatment
overall rises the average tensile strain, and reduces by a small amount the average tensile stress.
This occurs due to the fact that it fuses the multiple strips of ABS on the edges of the dogbone as
shown in Figure 74 and Figure 75. In Figure 74 the texture of the surface leads to stress
concentration, whereas in Figure 75 the acetone treatment changes it to a smooth surface with
uniform bonded layer of filament. Hence, the smooth surface gives an increase in maximum
elongation and decrease in maximum strength (Chapman et al., 2014).
70
Figure 74: SEM image of 3D printed
fracture surface with no acetone vapor
treatment (Chapman et al., 2014).
Figure 75: SEM image of 3D print fracture
surface after acetone vapor treatment
(Chapman et al., 2014)
The surface treatment with acetone vapor not only improves the model appearance but can also
reduce times and costs which are a really important factors to consider when manufacturing.
When the component’s most important requirements are strain or toughness the 3D printing
process can be faster by reducing the resolution and then doing an acetone vapor surface
treatment.
5.7.
Functionality
In order to test the functionality of the 3D printed shock absorber the bottom cap was switched
with the flat-faced follower cap and then fixed to a cast acrylic sheet. Figure 76 shows the
assembled shock absorber with the eccentric cam system in order to be tested. The shaft of the
eccentric cam was connected to the electric drill and the speed was gradually increased. The
shock absorber worked as expected, it compressed 15mm on each cycle and then returned to its
original shape. The ABS material with the acetone bath worked excellent as a spring because it
didn’t even fail at the highest drill speed. It was successfully tested for 5 minutes at different
speeds without inconveniences or any signs of failure.
71
Figure 76: Assembled shock absorber
The threads also work properly holding the assemble parts together at all time. The preload
adjuster can easily be moved to adjust the spring stiffness. When it was moved clockwise the
spring became tighter and therefore the shock absorber became stiffer.
In order to reduce the friction between the cylinder and the piston with the seal a bit of oil was
used which helped for a smoother movement. The 3D printed shock absorber worked properly
damping the force created by the movement of the eccentric cam, and dissipating the energy.
Figure 77 shows the spring being compressed by the cam connected with the drill. The results
showed that the 3D printed shock absorber functions properly and it could be used in any
application where the force applied is not bigger than 3.47 Newton’s.
Figure 77: Functional shock absorber
72
6.
Chapter 6 Summary and Conclusions
3D Printing is a relatively new manufacture technology that was primarily used for prototyping,
until nowadays that has evolved to the point of being able to create end products. It requires very
little setup time since no molds or custom tools are needed. There are different Additive
Manufacturing Technologies that build parts layer by layer but the most common one is Fused
Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, which was used on this project.
This thesis shows that with the right knowledge and understanding of this technology, functional
parts can be printed using just a simple and inexpensive desktop 3D printer like the Up Plus 2. It
was successfully able to print a functional shock absorber and showed how advanced and useful
this manufacturing technology is. Following the steps and guidelines shown in this study the
1.75mm diameter filament was extruded and forced out through the 0.4mm diameter nozzle into
the build platform. The nozzle followed a computer-controlled path for building up the part layer
by layer. Therefore the final product was not a completely solid object but a matrix of fused
filaments. The Up Plus 2 printer is a desktop plug and use 3D printer that clearly shows how
valuable and innovative this technology is. Although, when it comes to printing complex and
function parts it is not as simple as plug and use. As shown with the shock absorber it required a
deep understanding of the system in order to modified preferences and settings to successfully
print. The temperatures and any environmental changes during the printing have a significant
effect on the result, for example a draft could warp the model. The adjustments of settings and
preferences before printing are really useful as shown with the experiments, because it allows the
user to improve the design, reduce costs and others. By changing the fill the printed model will
be lighter, will take less time to print, and also safe material. This option can also be used to
modify the performance of the object, for example changing the stiffness rate of the spring.
The cam system that was implemented to check the functionality of the shock absorber worked
as planed and demonstrated that ABS material can also work as a flexible spring. The shock
absorber functioned as expected with no issues so it can be used in any toy or application where
it may be needed. The total cost for the shock absorber was 7 AUD and it took a total time of 392
minutes. This time is only the total printing time excluding the design, the set up, and post
processes times. The print time is proportional to 3D volume and surface complexity. This
73
demonstrates the Up Plus 2 can build complex components in a relative short amount of time and
the cost is not high for a single personalized component. The cost of the material for ABS is 0.8
cents and TPE 0.11 cents per gram, which is relatively high compared to some materials used in
traditional manufacture. Although, those prices will continue to reduce as this technology keeps
growing.
After the model is successfully printed a post processes can be done to improve the surface finish
and properties. The acetone vapor bath is an efficient surface treatment for models printed on
ABS. As shown with the 3D printed spring the acetone vapor gave it a smooth shiny surface with
well bonded and continuous layer on the outer surface. Additionally, the acetone vapor improves
the strain, toughness, and surface finish with only a small reduction in stiffness and tensile
strength because of the melting and fusion of the ABS. Furthermore, it can also save time and
money by reducing the 3D printing resolution and then doing the surface treatment, hence the
acetone vapor bath is really useful and efficient.
The main disadvantages of this technology at the moment are the machine resolution and the
materials available. However, many research and investigations are being carried out in order to
develop better printers and new materials that will revolutionize the world. The material ability
to print accurately and fuse fully determines if it’s suitable for 3D printing or not. One of the
newest materials TPE, which is a flexible rubber like material that can be used in numerous
applications, was successfully printed in this research. This material allowed for a bumper
stopper and a seal to properly function with the shock absorber. The biggest difficulty
experimenting with this material was due to the fact that the Up Plus 2 software is not open
source therefore, the extruder temperature couldn’t be modified. I found this material to be very
useful and fun to work with. If the right extruder temperature could be set it may retain its
elasticity as well as increase it viscosity as it leaves the print head, allowing prints to be cleaner
with less filament drag. Another limitation of this technology is the printing platform size
because the object can’t exceed that size. If the platform size is not a restriction the object can be
printed on single piece to avoid assembly costs. Although, if the printed piece is complex like the
shock absorber, it will probably take lots of time to remove the support material which can have
the same costs of the assembly costs.
74
For further research the spring design could be printed in different materials. Printing the spring
with different materials and then comparing to the ABS will be really interesting, for example
with nylon. With different materials the specifications can be obtain and compare to see which
one is more suitable for the shock absorber. As shown in the study the module of rigidity of the
ABS is around ten-thousand times less than steel, and the spring will be 264 times stiffer if it was
manufacture on stainless steel. Each material has its own recommended extruder temperature
ranges, which are shown in this study, so I would recommend using an open source 3D printer to
select the exact temperature needed. It will also be interest to try new post process like carbon
fiber lamination, epoxy resin, and polyester resin to improve the strength of the printed objects.
The recommendations for any one working with 3D printing is to follow the guidelines provided
with this research. Always read the 3D printer manual and know the specifications of the
materials that you will be using. If a shock absorber is require I will recommend the basic twintube type because it will be faster and easier to 3D print. Furthermore, complex designs are more
suitable for this technology especially if the convectional manufacturing processes are not able to
manufacture or takes too much time. Also keep in mind the manufacturing price is fixed with
this technology and does not fluctuate with mass production like traditional manufacturing
methods. When using Additive Manufacturing is recommended to identify low volume and
where redesign is needed.
In conclusion FDM technology is a powerful manufacture method that’s continuously growing
and improving at a fast rate. Although, it still has some limitations it proofed it can manufacture
functional complex objects. It will not replace traditional manufactures methods in some time,
but for now it’s improving the overall manufacture. It allows redesign and building complex and
personalized objects where traditional manufacture is inefficient. It’s currently having a great
impact on society and pretty soon it will change the way we live, therefore research and
experiments should continue to be carried on this promising field. With the dramatic drop in
prices and the increase in free 3D software, it is very likely that this field will be even more
accessible within the next few years. 3D printing will bring manufacturing to non-manufacturers
just like computers years ago.
75
7.
Appendix
Shock Absorber Sketch Diagrams
76
8.
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