*WINNER* Innovating the FDM Process - Metal Powder PLA Printing
The process of 3D Printing is a part of the overall fabrication process known as Additive Manufacturing. As opposed to subtractive manufacturing, the 3D printing process produces far less waste with a high degree of customization. Despite the benefits, there have been troubles in widespread adoption for the manufacturing field. Industry leads often ask about mechanical properties and methods in which to additively manufacture strong metallic parts. The area of research presented in this paper is that of low-cost 3D Printing. By printing metal powder PolyLactic Acid (PLA) composite filament with approximately 90% metal concentration, a part can be fabricated on a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer that costs as little as $200 and sintered in a kiln. The sintering process removed the PLA bonding agent leaving a highly customizable 100% metal part fabricated on a low-cost printer. This current study provides the preliminary findings of the mechanical testing studies of the components fabricated via this method. The results of the analytical results received from these mechanical studies will be benchmarked with the conventionally prepared PLA and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) components. The advantages of the current method will be presented with the currently performed experimental and analytical studies.