Vaibhav Sharma

Design Space Explorer

Optimization of 3D Printing Parameters

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3D printed test specimen demonstrating retraction artifacts (the strings at the top).
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A subset of the design space produced by a 3D printer.

Project Description

Type A Machines
R&D Intern
Mechanical Engineering, Graduate Reseach

Originally at Type A Machines, 3D printing parameters were usually developed by trial and error. As an intern, I aimed to improve and formalize the development of 3D printing parameters. I applied the concepts of engineering optimization that I learned in graduate school to develop methodical techniques for developing printing profiles. Since then, I have built other automated techniques for testing which have also validated the results of my optimization method.

Using the process I developed, one could iteratively test and develop 3D printing parameters without any prior knowledge of the process. To illustrate this method, I chose two variables: retraction speed and retraction distance. I designed an experiment to iteratively traverse and optimize in the design space. I used a golden section search method to converge at a solution that provided the optimal retraction speed and distance.

This was one of my favorite projects as an intern at Type A Machines because I was able to apply academic concepts to a real world problem. The results I obtained paved the path for more methodical testing in the company and eliminated the earlier brute force approach.


  • Optimization in engineering design
  • Design of experiments (DOE)
  • 3D Printing