Comparison of Extruder Systems for 3D Printer Filament Fabrication

Adriana Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has grown in popularity over the past thirty years, due to its versatility, short design to product cycle, and capability to fabricate complex geometries, which cannot otherwise be produced. There exist several platforms that are able to print objects composed of different materials, making this technology significant in different fields such as: automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics, amongst others. Though several types of AM technologies are available, the expiration of the patents on fused deposition modeling (FDM) in 2009 has led to a widespread use of this platform in academia and home use settings. Widespread use of FDM-type AM platforms has led to a demand to fabricate feedstock materials for this AM platform. Particularly, in the home do it yourself (DIY) community there has been a widespread interest for users to manufacture their own feedstock filament leading to a large growth in home-use extrusion systems. The low cost of these desktop-grade systems has also made them attractive to academics, but there has not been a widespread effort into determining the efficacy of these small scale extrusion systems as compared to industrial quality extruders which are typically used to manufacture feedstock for FDM platforms. The aim of this study was to compare two extrusion processes: 1) a desktop grade single-screw extruder; and 2) an industrial scale twin-screw extruder. In order to understand differences between their performance and quality of mixing, a rubberized blend of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) mixed with styrene ethylene butylene styrene with a maleic anhydride graft (SEBS-g-MA) at different ratios was compounded on each extrusion system. Melt flow index, and mechanical properties were compared. In addition, a raster pattern sensitivity study was performed to evaluate the effect of the extruder system on 3D printed objects. Finally, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to examine the fracture surfaces of spent tensile specimens.

Subject Area

Materials science

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Adriana, "Comparison of Extruder Systems for 3D Printer Filament Fabrication" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10285415.