The purpose of this study is to validate the design of plastic PLA extruded everyday use parts created in open source 3D printers, and to provide examples of design alterations so a 3D printed part will function similar to the OEM component. The methodology begins with selection of a common everyday use component that may fail under a load and need replacement. As a test specimen an aluminum coat hook is purchased, measured, modeled with 3D CAD software, analyzed and physically tested. Using AM a coat hook with identical specifications is created on a Delta style RepRap 3D printer with PLA as a material in the orientation providing the maximum strength. The 3D printed coat hook is analyzed using finite element analysis as well as physically using a loading apparatus test with identical loading and supporting conditions. The software used for the experimentation and data collection are NX9, ANSYS and NI LabVIEW. Material physical properties of open source 3D printed PLA parts obtained from tensile testing indicate that the strength of a 3D printed part will be less than that of an aluminum OEM part. Initial finite element analysis reveals the Coat Hook 3D printed using PLA deflects almost 20 times that of the OEM aluminum component when subjected to an identical load. This indicates that the component cannot be replaced with identical specifications even if there was a large factor of safety applied to the coat hook design. As a result of the study, part reinforcement features are proposed for redesign of a 3D printed part to perform as well as the OEM part under a similar load. Additional part redesigns utilizing these reinforcement features include shelf support brackets and solar photovoltaic mounting bracket systems.

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