Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a class of manufacturing processes where material is deposited in a layer-by-layer fashion to fabricate a three-dimensional part directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) model. With a current market share of 44%, thermoplastic-based additive manufacturing such as fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a prevailing technology. A preliminary extrusion process is required to produce thermoplastic filaments for use in FDM 3D printers. It is crucial that extruded filament must have constant dimensional accuracy for FDM 3D printers to produce the desired object with precision. In this study, carbon fibers were blended with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastics to produce carbon fiber reinforced ABS filaments in order to improve the mechanical properties of FDM-printed objects. During filament extrusion, three process variables showed significant effects on filament diameter, expansion percentage, and extrusion rate. These process variables included carbon fiber content, extrusion temperature, and nozzle size. The objective of this study is to test the feasible ranges of these process variables and to investigate their effects on filament extrusion. Results of this study will provide knowledge on quality improvement of carbon fiber reinforced ABS filament extrusion for additive manufacturing.

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