3D printing is expanding its boundaries beyond visual non-functional prototyping, and adopting a technology that meets production requirements or real-world applications. As the demand for 3D printed parts is increasing, the industry is attempting to discover new methods to analyze and validate their products. Industrial CT scanning can be used to validate defects and internal geometry inside a part, without damaging it.
Industrial Computed Tomography Scan
Validation and qualification of prototypes and the first printed parts for various materials including plastic, mold components, or metal printed parts can be done using industrial computed tomography (CT) scan. Figure 1 & Video 1 show a plastic NSI logo with measurements.
CT scans are useful for manufacturing projects where high value printed parts need 100% validation during production. CT scans can quickly examine and reveal failed parts or errors caused due to stress or temperature change. The different types of analysis that can be performed on a scanned part include reverse engineering, external and internal geometry analysis, internal void analysis, part-to-CAD comparison, and much more.
Figure 1. A plastic NSI logo
Plastic NSI Logo with measurements
Video 1. A plastic NSI logo with measurements
In the part-to-CAD comparison (Video 2) green indicates that the part is close to the CAD model, while blue is smaller than the CAD and red is bigger than the CAD. The part where the colors flatten out is beyond the parameters set for the analysis and is indicated by purple and pink.
Metal NSI Positive Logo CAD comparison
Video 2. Part-to-CAD comparison
In the inclusion analysis (the Positive Metal NSI Logo) and porosity analysis (plastic part) conducted, the software observes the gray value of the voxels in the volume, and evaluates whether the area is a porosity or higher density inclusion (Video 3 and 4).
The detected defects can be colorized to make the rough size and location visible. An option to produce a spreadsheet that indicates the size and location of the defects is also available; this can be used for accept/reject decisions. The accept/reject criteria can also be incorporated in the software when you run the analysis, and it will notify if it has been passed or not.
Porosity Analysis 3D printed plastic part
Video 3. Porosity analysis 3D printed plastic part
Metal Positive NSI Logo Defect detection
Video 4. Metal Positive NSI Logo Defect detection
Internal and External Geometry Analysis
For the internal and external geometry analysis the feature are fitted to the sample (i.e. such as sphere, cylinder, plane or line). These are then measured using the software.
Features that are not fitted to the part can also be created for certain dimensions from point to point on the stars (Figure 2) which were measured from lines created by intersecting two planes. Concentricity and parallelism can also be measured.
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Figure 2. Features not fitted to the part can be created from point to point on the stars.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by North Star Imaging, Inc.
For more information on this source, please visit North Star Imaging, Inc.