Purpose: This study aims to investigate issues of quality and quality control (QC) in three-dimensional (3D) printing by reviewing past work and current practices. Possible future developments are also discussed. Design/methodology/approach: After a discussion of the major quality dimensions of 3D-printed objects, the applications of some QC techniques at various stages of the product life cycle (including product design, process planning, incoming QC, in-process QC and outgoing QC) are introduced. Findings: The application of QC techniques to 3D printing is not uncommon. Some techniques (e.g. cause-and-effect analysis) have been applied extensively; others, such as design of experiments, have not been used accurately and completely and therefore cannot optimize quality. Taguchi’s method and control charts can enhance the quality of 3D-printed objects; however, these techniques require repetitive experimentation, which may not fit the work flow of 3D printing. Originality/value: Because quality issues may discourage customers from buying 3D-printed products, enhancing 3D printing quality is imperative. In addition, 3D printing can be used to manufacture diverse products with a reduced investment in machines, tools, assembly and materials. Production economics issues can be addressed by successfully implementing QC.
- 3D printing
- Quality control