Additive Manufacturing Round Robin Protocols: A Pilot Study
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As the number of users of additive manufacturing (AM) steadily increases, and considering their demand for material and process specifications, the need for standard protocols for round robin studies is increasing accordingly. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have conducted and participated in several AM round robin studies with the aim not only to characterize the AM process, and material but also to improve the understanding of AM round robin studies themselves. One simple study, a pilot round robin study investigating geometric performance of NIST-owned consumer-grade 3D printers, provides excellent examples of typical results and lessons learned. While individual printers produced relatively consistent results, there was significant variability between the printers. This variability existed despite best efforts to ensure participants followed consistent procedures in building the test parts. Further, the variability made it apparent that collecting pedigree data from each build was required to draw any conclusions about potential causes of the variability.