26 June 2017 Non-destructive testing of layer-to-layer fusion of a 3D print using ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography
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Abstract
Within the last decade, 3D printing has moved from a costly approach of building mechanical items to the present state-of-the-art phase where access to 3D printers is now common, both in industry and in private places. The plastic printers are the most common type of 3D printers providing prints that are light, robust and of lower cost.

The robustness of the structure printed is only maintained if each layer printed is properly fused to its previously printed layers. In situations where the printed component has to accomplish a key mechanical role there is a need to characterize its mechanical strength. This may only be revealed by in-depth testing in order to discover unwanted air-gaps in the structure.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an in-depth imaging method, that is sensitive to variations in the refractive index and therefore can resolve with high resolution translucid samples.

We report on volume imaging of a 3D printed block made with 100% PLA fill. By employing ultrahigh resolution OCT (UHR-OCT) we show that some parts of the PLA volume reveal highly scattering interfaces which likely correspond to transitions from one layer to another. In doing so, we document that UHR-OCT can act as a powerful tool that can be used in detecting fractures between layers stemming from insufficient fusion between printed structure layers. UHR-OCT can therefore serve as an useful assessment method of quality of 3D prints.
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Niels M. Israelsen, Niels M. Israelsen, Michael Maria, Michael Maria, Thomas Feuchter, Thomas Feuchter, Adrian Podoleanu, Adrian Podoleanu, Ole Bang, Ole Bang, } "Non-destructive testing of layer-to-layer fusion of a 3D print using ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography", Proc. SPIE 10329, Optical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection X, 103290I (26 June 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2269807; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2269807
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