Aligning Material Extrusion Direction with Mechanical Stress via 5-Axis Tool Paths.pdf (793.11 kB)

Aligning material extrusion direction with mechanical stress via 5-axis tool paths

Download (793.11 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 06.12.2018, 09:35 by James Gardner, Tom Nethercott-Garabet, N. Kaill, Ian Campbell, Guy A. Bingham, Daniel Engstrom, N.O. Balc
Mechanical properties of parts fabricated via the Material Extrusion (ME) process can be improved by optimising process settings, however, their properties are strongly influenced by build orientation due to the stair-stepping effect initiating cracks whilst under load. 5-axis ME enables the fabrication of parts without the layer-by-layer restrictions that conventional 3-axis strategies impose. By aligning extrusion direction with high stress tensors, 5-axis tool paths can be used to reduce the effects of weak inter-layer bonds. To establish performance differences between parts manufactured by either strategy, wave spring-inspired geometry was selected for production, due to the multi-directional tensile loads acting throughout the material. 5-axis and 3-axis tool paths were generated via the Grasshopper 3D virtual environment within Rhinoceros 3D and MakerBot Desktop, and manufactured using a 5AXISMAKER and a MakerBot Replicator 2, respectively. To evaluate performance differences between the two strategies, compression tests were conducted on the parts.


This work was partly funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Centre for Doctoral Training) and the European Commission (AMa-TUC Project 691787).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium


GARDNER, J.A. ... et al, 2018. Aligning material extrusion direction with mechanical stress via 5-axis tool paths. IN: Bourell, D. (ed.). Proceedings of the 29th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) Symposium - An Additive Manufacturing Conference, Austin, Texas, USA, 13-15 August 2018, pp.2005-2019.


Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication and University of Texas at Austin


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is a conference paper.


University of Texas at Austin


Logo branding