If you would like to get an FEA report for your 3D printing application, fill in an order form here!
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a tool commonly used by engineers to solve solid mechanics problems. With FEA, engineers can predict how a part will behave under a given set of loads and constraints dictated by how the part is used. FEA is often used to determine the displacement profile of the part, as well as to know whether the part will fail. Engineers use this information to validate their designs.
A key input to an FEA is data on the materials used to build the part. Depending on the material properties, the stress and displacement profiles will look different, and therefore the failure thresholds. Traditional manufacturing methods have well-defined material datasheets that can be used as input for an FEA, but 3D printing poses three key new challenges linked to the layering process:
(1) Imperfect bonding between layers causes anisotropy of the part’s properties, meaning that properties along the vertical axis are different from properties along the horizontal axes.
(2) The wide range of printing parameters combinations (infill %, layer height, infill pattern) lead to very different outcomes.
(3) In the case of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), the presence of an outer surface (see definition here) makes the properties of the part dependent on its geometry.
3D Matter started addressing these challenges by developing OptiMatter, a model that forecasts the properties of printed materials depending on the printing parameters used. However, OptiMatter does not address the geometrical side of the equation. Now, 3D Matter has developed a proprietary methodology to conduct Static Linear Finite Element Analysis on 3D printed parts, with a focus on FDM parts. Thanks to this new tool, we can accurately predict if a printed part will yield or not.
This articles shows the results we obtain on a case study example and provides empirical validation of the accuracy of our model.