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DOI 10.1007/s00170-015-6879-7

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

roughness of FDM test part using measurement results

Sadegh Rahmati & Ebrahim Vahabli

Received: 6 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published online: 19 February 2015

# Springer-Verlag London 2015

Abstract In additive manufacturing (AM) processes, the tessellation of CAD model and the slicing procedure are the

significant factors resulting unsatisfactory surface quality,

where the topics related to surface roughness have been a

key issue in this regard. In this paper, analytical models which

have been presented to express surface roughness distribution

in fused deposition modeling (FDM) are assessed according to

the variations in surface build angle by considering the main

factors which crucially affect surface quality. Analytical

models are verified by implementation and comparison with

empirical data derived from the comprehensive FDM fabricated test part. Finally, the most accurate model for estimation of

surface roughness in the process planning stage for optimization of effective parameters have been introduced upon calculating the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) as performance criteria of each model in various equal ranges.

Keywords Additive Manufacturing . Surface Roughness .

Analytical Model

1 Introduction

Emphasize on reduction of product manufacturing time is

followed by essential changes in manufacturing processes

and resulted in the birth of a new race of manufacturing techS. Rahmati (*)

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Majlesi Branch, Islamic

Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

e-mail: rahmati@rapidtoolpart.com

E. Vahabli

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Science and Research

Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

e-mail: Ebrahim.vahabli@chmail.ir

from CAD model on a layer by layer deposition principle

without any need to tools, dies, jigs and fixtures, and human

intervention. This method therein part manufacturing is additive, introduced as additive manufacturing (AM) technology

[1]. AM has also enabled industry to benefit from different

rapid tooling (RT) techniques [2]. Due to the nature of layered

manufacturing in AM processes, quality of manufacturing

part is usually lower than parts manufactured by NC machines. Furthermore, most of layered manufacturing technologies use support structure for prevention of deviation during

stacking of layers that after support separation, plenty of separated support burrs residue on the part surface and upraise the

surface roughness [3].

Among AM processes, fused deposition modeling (FDM)

uses heated thermoplastic filament which is extruded in a

semi-molten state from the tip-off nozzle in a prescribed manner in a temperature-controlled environment for building the

part through a layer by layer deposition method until completion of part manufacturing. The part is fabricated by deposition of layers contoured in a plane (x-y) two dimensionally.

The third dimension (z) results from single layers being

stacked up on top of each other but not as a continuous zcoordinate. Due to the layered production of the part, the surface finish of the build part is unavoidably excessively rough.

This problem is raised in wide applications of FDM process in

different industries. Due to the importance of surface roughness subject, various studies and efforts have been done to

solve this issue [4, 5].

Poor surface finish in AM processes is often affected by

tessellation of the original CAD model and the slicing procedure during fabrication process. In slicing of tessellated CAD

model, containment problem results in distortion of the original CAD model of the designed form. In addition to containment problem, deposition of sliced layers results in another

problem called staircase effect or stair-stepping effect [6]. This

824

this paper, upon designing and building the specific test part,

well-known analytical models are evaluated. The mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of each model within specified

ranges is calculated in order to introduce the best analytical

model. The general model parameters that are used in all analytical models are shown in Fig. 1 [6], where, denotes build

orientation (or surface build angle), t is layer thickness (slice

thickness), and N is the angle between vertical axis and normal to surface axis.

2 Analytical modeling

The concept of cusp height tolerance was introduced by

Dolence et al. [8] and used for interpretation of surface roughness. Offering a theoretic formula, they calculated cusp height

in a 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional part. Campbell et al. [9]

introduced a mathematical model for estimation of arithmetic

mean surface roughness in various AM processes given by

Eq. (1).

90

Ra 1000tsin

tan90

1

4

where Ra is the arithmetic-mean-surface roughness (micron), t is the layer thickness (mm), and is the build angle

(degree). This model was tested for a few angles that none of

them contains downward facing. In their report, this model

predicts the surface roughness appropriately in a number of

angles. This estimation was reported in the range of 45 to

180 for the FDM process. Mason et al. [10] presented a

model for estimation of arithmetic mean surface roughness.

cusp height presented in the Dolende model which is given by

Eq. (2).

Ra

1000t

cos90

2

(micron), t is the layer thickness (mm), and N is the

normal build angle in degree which is equals to (90).

Pandey et al. [6, 7, 11, 12] realized that layer thickness

and build orientation are assumed as the most important

process variables which affect the surface finish.

According to the analytical observations, the edge profile of the part built by the FDM process is parabola.

According to these observations, a semi-empirical model

was proposed. However, the formula used in this paper

is presented in Eq. (3), where, Ra is the arithmeticmean-surface roughness (micron), t is the layer thickness (mm), is the build angle (degree), Ra90 is the

equivalent for the roughness of the build angle (90),

and w is a dimensionless adjustment parameter for supported facets (chosen to be 0.2 in all FDM systems). It

is notable that for Ra in the build angles between 0 to

70 , the average value of the sum is utilized.

8

t

>

;

0 70

>

> 69:28e72:36

>

cos

.

<

20 90Ra70 70Ra90 Ra90 Ra70 ; 70 < < 90

Ra 1

>

>

>

117:6 t;

90

>

:

90 < 180

Ra90 1 w;

8

0;

0; =2;

>

<

2

2

2

2

2

R1 R2 1 sin90

Ra 1000t

R1 R2 1 4

4

>

cos90

tan90 sin90 ; O = W

:

4

1000t

1000t 3

1000t cos90

Ra

2

cos

Byun et al. [13] proposed a new roughness profile characterizing the surfaces made by layered manufacturing processes. For the FDM process, R1 and R2 were set to 0.045 and

0.01 mm respectively and maximum overhang angle was set

to 30 . Likewise, the profile roughness Ra as a function of f(t,

,R1,R2) is calculated by Eq. (4), where, Ra is arithmetic-mean

825

[9]

for a facet (mm), is the build angle (degree), R1 is the radius

of fillet (mm), and R2 is the radius of the corner (mm). Ahn

et al. [14] presented a theoretical model for calculation of

arithmetic mean surface roughness; therein, the edge profile

was assumed as ellipse which is given by Eq. (5); in which t

denotes the layer thickness in millimeters, the build angle in

degrees, and is the surface profile angle in degrees.

To calculate the surface roughness in different build angles, a

suitable and comprehensive model is required. In the applied

studies, researches and papers written for evaluation of surface

roughness, a pyramid-shaped test part with varied surface

build angles was selected by some researchers as a prototype

for measuring the surface roughness. The angle between upward vector tangents to surface with the vertical axis is called

the surface build angle. Pyramid test part is shown in Fig. 2;

therein, surface build angles are equal to 10, 15, 30, and 45 ,

respectively.

Pandey et al. [6] reported the surface roughness measurement for the pyramid test part with side angles of 10, 15, 30,

and 45 and layer thickness of 0.254 mm. In their research, by

offering a formula, they introduced a solution for estimation of

surface roughness using layer thickness and build orientation

parameters. Mason et al. [10] developed a customized FDM

machine with the nozzle thickness of 2 mm for building the

test part therein resulted in very rough surfaces with high

Campbell et al. [9] and Ahn et al. [14] presented a more comprehensive test part for assessment of their analytical models.

This test part, therein, was firstly introduced by Reeves and

Cobb [15] as depicted in Fig. 3, called Truncheon, has a suitable geometry which enables the measurement of surface

roughness for a wide range of surface build angles.

In the present study, with the choice of a step angle of 5 ,

the truncheon test part in total consists of 36 cuboids to span

surface build angles between 0 to 180 , where the test part

was designed in CATIAv5. The dimension of each cuboid is

assumed 103030 mm3 for accurate measurement by surface scanner and considering machine platform dimension of

254254305 mm3, where the overall dimension of the truncheon is 2203030 mm3.

The prototype is fabricated by FDM-Dimension sst 1200es.

The test part is sliced in CatalystEx and is made horizontally

with layer thickness of 0.254 mm. Model interior is solid and

support sparse method used for fabrication. The material used

for fabrication is ABSPLUS. Inside, the test part is filled and

fabricated with support sparse method. At the final stage, the

test part is put into the chemical solution for 1 day and support

material dissolved therein thoroughly. Due to the estimation of

surface roughness, no surface polishing operation is implemented as depicted in Fig. 4. The surface roughness measurement is done by surface scanner MahrSurf MFW250 and Ra

values are derived accordingly (Table 1).

Table 1

No.

Parameter

Value

1

2

Evaluation length (ln)

0.8 mm

4 mm

3

4

Profile resolution

(measuring range)

Traversing speed (vt)

Points

Direction

5.6 mm

250 m/7 nm

5

6

7

Fig. 3 Schema of the truncheon test part [14]

Scanning parameters

0.5 mm/s

11200

Perpendicular to the

deposition direction

826

Fig. 5 Measured Ra for the truncheon test part with layer thickness of

0.254 mm

truncheon test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

in Table 1.

test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm are presented in

Fig. 5. Two separate roughness measurements are performed

for the test part on the same surface for each build angle as

presented in Table 2, while the scanning parameters set for this

Table 2 Empirical surface roughness (Ra) values for each build angle

with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

Build

angle

(degree)

Build

Ra-report no. Raavea

(micron) angle

(degree)

Ra-A Ra-B

(micron)

Ra-A Ra-B

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

17.56

17.72

20.37

21.94

20.06

26.98

24.48

27.43

28.56

17.82

19.1

19.33

20.56

22.82

20.32

25.32

27.63

29.52

17.69

18.41

19.85

21.25

21.44

23.65

24.9

27.53

29.04

90

95

100

105

110

115

120

125

130

1.4

18.55

18.2

18.68

19.14

17.14

21.1

22.55

24.63

2.72

17.77

17.56

18.4

20.02

23.54

21.22

22.63

23.37

2.06

18.16

17.88

18.54

19.58

20.34

21.16

22.59

24

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

32.52

31.92

34.52

39.26

42.01

38.42

31.3

23.08

18.27

28.74

32.54

34.4

40.1

39.55

42.5

31.4

20.38

17.59

30.63

32.23

34.46

39.68

40.78

40.46

31.35

21.73

17.93

135

140

145

150

155

160

165

170

180

24.66

26.63

21.86

27.83

29.61

32.5

33.21

20.22

18.78

26.92

25.45

26.22

30.11

30.45

30.82

35.63

20.74

17.92

25.79

26.04

24.04

28.97

30.03

31.66

34.42

20.48

18.35

a

It is notable that Raave is denoting the average value between the Ra-A

and Ra-B values which is considered as Ra value and used in evaluation

procedure

In the present study, MATLAB software is used for modeling,

whereas Figs. 6 to 10 exhibit the performance of the Mason,

Campbell, Pandey, Byun, and Ahn models for estimation of

surface roughness in layer thickness of 0.254 mm for varied

surface build angles in comparison with the measured empirical data for the truncheon test part. As it is observed in the

Mason model, a weak estimation of surface roughness is obtained therein for prototype with layer thickness of 0.254 mm.

This model provides an appropriate estimation in angles of 0

to 15 and 165 to 180 .

In Fig. 7, the Campbell model shows a better estimation of

surface roughness in surface build angles of 45 to 135 and

truncheon test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

827

truncheon test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

between 0 to 30 and also 155 to 180 .

Moreover, according to Eq. (1), this model cannot predict

the surface roughness for angles between 0 to 180 . As it is

observed in Fig. 8, the Pandey model provides a relatively

appropriate estimation of surface roughness more than other

models; this model has an appropriate estimation performance

for surface build angle range within 0 to 65 and 95 to 135,

while this model has a weak performance for 80 to 95 and

also 155 to 180 .

Figure 9 shows the Byun model performance for surface

roughness estimation which demonstrates overestimation of

surface roughness within 95 to 135 , while estimation performance within 0 to 45 and 135 to 180 is more fitted.

According to Eq. (2) and Eq. (5), the Ahn model has a phase

shift of (degree) relative to the Mason model; thus as presented in Fig. 10, the Ahn model provides a similar estimation

like the Mason model with phase shift () of 5 .

analytical models

The estimation error values in different models are calculated

for four angle ranges including 0 to 45, 45 to 90, 90 to 135,

and 135 to 180 in layer thickness of 0.254 mm. Analytical

models are compared by using mean absolute percentage error

(MAPE) criteria. MAPE gives a normalized error, permitting

efficiency comparison of different models coming from different data sets, as presented in Eq. (6).

MAPE% 1

X X act X est

100

X

N

act

i

estimation value of Ra, and N is the number of patterns. As it is

observed in Table 3, within 0 to 45 angles, minimum error is

obtained for the Pandey model (13.56 %) and later the Byun

model (39.88 %), and other models have higher errors. Within

45 to 90 angles, minimum error is obtained for the Campbell

model (67.88 %). Within 90 to 135 , the Pandey model

(16.54 %) has the minimum error. Within 135 to 180 , the

Byun model (45.57 %) shows lower error than the other

Table 3 Mean absolute percentage error values (%) of surface

roughness of 0.254-mm layer thickness for different analytical models

test part with layer thickness of 0.254 mm

Byun

Ahn

Campbell

Mason

Pandey

0 45

45< 90

90< 135

135< 180

39.88

138.33

1279.15

112.91

13.56

96.13

950.35

67.88

932.79

183.03

175.93

434.21

59.28

451.24

16.54

45.57

76.30

1299.83

89.29

99.49

828

1400

1279.15

1299.83

1200

950.35

1000

932.79

Byun model

Ahn model

Campbell model

Mason model

Pandey model

800

600

200

451.24

434.21

400

138.33

39.88

112.91

96.13

13.56

67.88

183.03 175.93

59.28

0

0 45

45< 90

90< 135

89.29 99.49

135< 180

Fig. 11 Mean absolute percentage error values (%) for different analytical models

Table 3, the Pandey and Byun models may be used due to

lower errors for surface roughness prediction.

In the designed parts with surface build angles of 0 to 45

and 90 to 135 with the specified layer thickness, the Pandey

model provides an appropriate estimation for optimum design

and also for the surface build angles of 135 to 180 ; the Byun

model is a proper choice for desirable and optimum design.

But, in surface build angles within 45 to 90 , all above models

have higher errors for prediction of roughness. In Fig. 11,

different models are compared and their estimation performance can be seen. Therefore, based on these assessments,

the Pandey and Byun models exhibit lower prediction error

than other models and the best estimation performance belongs to the Pandey model as presented in Fig. 11.

The Ahn and Campbell models despite benefitting from the

similar test part in their model evaluation, nevertheless do not

lead to desirable results. It may be due to the changes made in

the test part design and higher accuracy of surface measurement device utilized in this research. Although, in ref [14], an

empirical model is used for perusing the surface roughness

distribution in accordance with the measured data that provides more precise prediction, but due to the assessment of

the theoretical estimation models, models introduced in this

paper are utilized merely for comparison of the derived theoretical data with measured data.

5 Conclusion

In layered production processes, the tessellation of the CAD

model and the slicing procedure are assumed as the major

factors affecting creation of rough surfaces. In slicing a tessellated CAD model, containment problem results in distortion

of the original CAD model from the designed form. In addition to the containment problem, deposition of the sliced

layers leads to another problem called staircase effects. To

improve the FDM part surface roughness, modeling of the

surface roughness distribution for optimizing the effective

precise planning of AM process.

In the present paper, the most well-known models used for

improvement of surface roughness are utilized based on analytical modeling. Later, the specific test part called truncheon

is designed to evaluate the above models. Analytical models

are evaluated by the comparison of the performance criteria

(MAPE) in different ranges. According to the provided assessments, best model for prediction of each range is introduced,

where altogether, Pandeys model exhibits the best prediction

for surface roughness. It is notable that although different test

parts are used for model evaluation in their research (pyramid

shape), results demonstrates high predictability of this model

for varied parts.

The main advantage of this research is the use of a comprehensive test part which enables the assessment of surface roughness in all surface build angles, including all factors affecting the

real rough surface creation such as roughness arising out of

staircase effects, support burrs, material properties, and other

factors which is not possible to achieve them in other ways.

References

1. Tolio T, Ceglarek D, ElMaraghy HA, Fischer A, Hu SJ, Laperrire L,

Newman ST, Vncza J (2010) SPECIES-Co-evolution of products,

processes and production systems. CIRP Ann-Manuf Technol 59:

672693

2. Rahmati S. (2014) Direct Rapid Tooling, Comprehensive Materials

Processing, Masood S, ed.; ELSEVIER Ltd.; Vol. 10, 303-344. doi:

10.1016/B978-0-08-096532-1.01013-X

3. Ahn D, Kweon J, Kwon S, Song J, Lee S (2009) Representation of

surface roughness in fused deposition modeling. Elsevier, Journal of

Materials Processing Technology, pp 55935600

4. Onuh SO, Yusuf YY (1999) Rapid prototyping technology: applications and benefits for rapid product development. J Intell Manuf 10:

301311

5. Upcraft S, Fletcher R (2003) The rapid prototyping technologies.

Assem Autom 23(4):318330

6. Pandey PM, Reddy NV, Dhande SG (2003) Slicing procedures in

layered manufacturing: a review. Rapid Prototyp J 9(5):274288

7. Nourghassemi A (2011) Surface Roughness Estimation for FDM

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8. Dolenc A, Makalea I (1994) Slicing procedures for layered

manufacturing techniques. Comput Aided Des 26(2):119126

9. Campbell RI, Martorelli M, Lee HS (2002) Surface roughness visualization for rapid prototyping models. Comput Aided Des 34(10):717725

10. Mason A (2006) Multi-axis hybrid rapid prototyping using fusion deposition Modeling, MSc Thesis, Ryerson University,

Canada

11. Thrimurthulu K, Pandey PM, Reddy N (2004) Optimum part deposition orientation in fused deposition modeling. Int J Mach Tools

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12. Pandey PM, Thrimurthulu K, Reddy NV (2004) Optimal part deposition orientation in FDM by using a multicriteria genetic algorithm,

Int J Prod Res. 42:4069-4089.

13. Byun HS, Lee KH (2006) Determination of optimal build direction in

rapid prototyping with variable slicing. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 28:

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14. Ahn DK, Kwon SM, Lee SH (2008) Expression for surface roughness distribution of FDM processed parts. Int. Conf. on Smart

Manufacturing Application, Korea, pp 490493

15. Reeves PE, Cobb RC (1997) Reducing the surface deviation of

stereolithography using in-process techniques. Rapid Prototyp J 3(1):

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