Real-Time Imaging of Bonding in 3D-Printed Layers

J.J. Buijs*, Raoul Fix, Hanne M. van der Kooij, Thomas E. Kodger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent times, 3D printing technology has revolutionized our ability to design and produce products, but optimizing the print quality can be challenging. The process of extrusion 3D printing involves pressuring molten material through a thin nozzle and depositing it onto previously extruded material. This method relies on bonding between the consecutive layers to create a strong and visually appealing final product. This is no easy task, as many parameters, such as the nozzle temperature, layer thickness, and printing speed, must be fine-tuned to achieve optimal results. In this study, a method for visualizing the polymer dynamics during extrusion is presented, giving insight into the layer bonding process. Using laser speckle imaging, the plastic flow and fusion can be resolved non-invasively, internally, and with high spatiotemporal resolution. This measurement, which is easy to perform, provides an in-depth understanding of the underlying mechanics influencing the final print quality. This methodology was tested with a range of cooling fan speeds, and the results showed increased polymer motion with lower fan speeds and, thus, explained the poor printing quality when the cooling fan was turned off. These findings show that this methodology allows for optimizing the printing settings and understanding the material behavior. This information can be used for the development and testing of novel printing materials or advanced slicing procedures. With this approach, a deeper understanding of extrusion can be built to take 3D printing to the next level.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere65415
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number199
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


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