Non-destructive testing of layer-to-layer fusion of a 3D print using ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography

Niels Møller Israelsen, Michael Maria, Thomas Feuchter, Adrian Podoleanu, Ole Bang

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Within the last decade, 3D printing has moved from a costly approach of building mechanical items to the present state-of-the-art phase where access to 3D printers is now common, both in industry and in private places. The plastic printers are the most common type of 3D printers providing prints that are light, robust and of lower cost. The robustness of the structure printed is only maintained if each layer printed is properly fused to its previously printed layers. In situations where the printed component has to accomplish a key mechanical role there is a need to characterize its mechanical strength. This may only be revealed by in-depth testing in order to discover unwanted air-gaps in the structure. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an in-depth imaging method, that is sensitive to variations in the refractive index and therefore can resolve with high resolution translucid samples. We report on volume imaging of a 3D printed block made with 100% PLA fill. By employing ultrahigh resolution OCT (UHR-OCT) we show that some parts of the PLA volume reveal highly scattering interfaces which likely correspond to transitions from one layer to another. In doing so, we document that UHR-OCT can act as a powerful tool that can be used in detecting fractures between layers stemming from insufficient fusion between printed structure layers. UHR-OCT can therefore serve as an useful assessment method of quality of 3D prints.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Number of pages7
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2017
Article number103290I
ISBN (Print)9781510611030
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection X: SPIE Conference 10329 - Internationales Congress Center, Munich, Germany
Duration: 26 Jun 201729 Jun 2017


ConferenceOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection X
LocationInternationales Congress Center
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering

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