The 3D Printing industry has historically struggled to gain traction with production applications in certain industries due to the perceived unpredictability of material properties and a lack of material certifications.
While some 3D Printing materials currently hold industry-imperative certifications like the UL Blue Card (the yellow card equivalent for 3D Printing materials) and ISO, inconsistencies in technical data collection have created roadblocks for adoption.
Typically, when collecting technical data for materials in any process, a standard dog bone is created and tested in 1 orientation for tensile strength, tensile modulus, tensile elongation, flexural strength, and flexural modulus. This process works well for isotropic processes like injection molding, but for 3D Printing, this isn’t an accurate or effective testing protocol.
Because of the nature of 3D printing processes like FDM and FFF, there is a significant loss of mechanical properties in the Z axis. Typically, this loss is around 50-75% depending on the material, but this creates a level of unpredictability when trying to implement these materials and processes into production applications.
According to our findings, more than 60% of supplier-provided technical data sheets had material data discrepancies of 20% or higher. By conducting third party technical testing in multiple orientations, we can better analyze the true mechanical properties of a material and better provide realistic and accurate data on how the part and material will perform under the designated criteria.
We refer to this M. Holland program as the “Extended Data Sheet” program. By holding supplier materials to equal standards and testing criteria, we can produce significantly more reliable data for application and material analysis. Our testing criteria matches that of the typical technical data sheet with one major differentiators: variable print orientations.
By producing the dog bones in variable orientations and testing the technical data accordingly, we can see the major differences in material properties and performance compared to the standard XY test. Depending on print orientation, the material featured below ranged from a tensile modulus of 972 MPa to a 6205 MPa from the extended data tests, while the supplier provided data listed the material at 7,400 MPa; a significant difference from even the upper range of the tensile reflected in the third party extended data.
You can see the inconsistencies noted throughout the data sheet in virtually every category. Until industry requirements and standards are set for the reporting of technical data, this inconsistency from supplier provided data will not improve.
Fortunately, the M. Holland extended data program has allowed processors to obtain the necessary properties and technical data and accurately report it to the plastics industry and 3D Printing users, and M. Holland has no plans to eliminate this program in the near future.
If there is a material you are particularly interested in analyzing for accurate data analysis, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide assistance.