Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a common form of additive manufacturing, which uses an extruded thermoplastic filament to produce complex three-dimensional parts. With the addition of high strength thermoplastics to the list of available materials, the use of FDM to build functional prototypes and end-use products has increased. In order to completely utilize the capabilities of FDM, it is necessary to understand the effects of various build parameters on the material properties of the part. This thesis characterizes the material properties of four different materials, ABS-m30i, PC-ABS, PC, and ULTEM, for three different raster configurations. To accomplish this, two different ASTM tensile testing standards were evaluated for their effectiveness when testing specimens created via FDM, and then, the chosen testing standard was used to perform tensile tests for the various raster orientations and materials. After determining the material properties, several other tests were conducted to investigate discrepancies between the measured and reported values. These tests included investigations into the effects of the batch size and the time parts were left at elevated temperatures on the strength of the parts.
It was found that ASTM D3039 produced more consistent results than ASTM D638. From the results of the tensile tests, it was determined that specimens with rasters oriented in the direction of loading exhibited the highest tensile strengths. For specimens with rasters oriented in the direction of loading, the tensile strengths ranged from 85%-110% of the manufacturer’s reported values. Other configurations ranged from 62-75% of the reported values. The Young’s moduli ranged from 90-116% of the reported values when the rasters were oriented in the direction of loading. For the other raster orientations tested, the Young’s moduli ranged from 76%-93% of the reported values. Batch size was found to have a negligible effect on the part strength. Results suggested that the time parts were left at elevated temperatures had an effect on the part strengths, though more testing is required to make a definitive conclusion. Finally, due to the large differences in strengths between various raster orientations, it was concluded that designers should only refer to the mechanical properties of the raster orientation being used as opposed to the generic values reported by the manufacturer.