Why Test Your 3D Print Materials?

In our years of working in the additive manufacturing space, Austin Reliability Labs – and more generally, the TyRex Technology Family to which it belongs – has noticed an increasingly important issue within the industry. The dynamism and ever-evolving nature of the industry that provides so much promise has led to an issue of consistency – as materials and applications grow in number, there is a dire need for benchmarking and uniformity. With this in mind, ARL has turned to the most trusted name in standardization, ASTM.

With over 12,500 standards in hundreds of industries, the American Society for Testing and Materials is a global leader in the development and deployment of voluntary consensus standards. If ever there were an organization to help rein in an industry that’s in its “move fast and break things” stage of life, it would be ASTM and its 120 years of operation. Using tried and tested ASTM standards for plastics, ARL has developed a suite of tests that allow manufacturers to rest easy, knowing that the plastics they choose are the right fit for their 3D-printed products.

To better support the industry, ARL has launched the first in a series of tests as part of our “Raising the Standards” initiative. Our hope is to harness the unique solutions additive manufacturing promises and raise the expectation of certainty and reliability to the levels of traditional manufacturing. To celebrate this new initiative, we’ll be announcing a new test standard every few weeks along with explanations for their usage.

Raising The Standards: Rockwell Hardness Test


This week we’re introducing the Rockwell Hardness Test, ASTM D785-08. A material’s Rockwell hardness number is calculated from the “net increase in depth impression as the load on an indenter is increased from a fixed minor load to a major load and then returned to a minor load.” Knowing this characteristic is a must for any product destined for harsh environments such as aerospace, automotive, packaging, dental/medical, construction, wearables, and jigs/fixtures.

The Rockwell Hardness Test can also be seen as the precursor to impact testing and a host of other tests because a material’s Rockwell hardness number can influence design decisions, choice of material as well as the printing process used to create the product. We highly recommend starting with the Rockwell Hardness Test prior to finalizing a design due the potential need to mitigate a material’s weaknesses through design changes.

View our equipment spotlight on our Rockwell Hardness Test machine here!



To learn more about reliability testing and ARL’s full range of testing services, please click here to contact our staff.

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About ARL

Recognized as one of the top product reliability labs in the country with a unique balance of testing, consulting and on-site staffing services, Austin Reliability Labs (ARL) is a place where we recognize the hard work and passion that goes into the design and development of your product and want to find any problems in an effort to perfect it. We also understand a reputation is something that builds over time, so we focus on establishing long-term partnerships with each of our clients. With that in mind, we not only specialize in writing and developing all of the tests that we perform, but, unlike other labs, we provide pass / fail reports on all of our tests and decipher the results for you in order to maximize your product’s success. In addition to our on-site staffing and consulting services, ARL’s full array of reliability testing services include: HALT / HASS, Battery Life Tests, Qualification Tests, Environmental Tests, Mechanical Tests, Additive Manufacturing Tests and Custom Tests.

We believe quality is infused by finding every flaw in a product and methodically removing each one until the product shines. As a result, only a thorough, comprehensive reliability test program, as provided by ARL, will allow a product to emerge that will earn or maintain an unsullied and clean brand reputation.