Material testing is important in big industry, where manufacturers must be able to trust the properties of the raw materials they’re using. The rest of us generally take a supplier’s word for it that they’re giving us what we’ve paid for. However, you could always take on material testing yourself with the Universal Tensile Testing Machine from [Xieshi Zhang].
Unlike a six-figure industrial machine, this build is much more affordable, costing on the order of $300 to build. It uses an Arduino to read a tensile strain gauge, and is capable of applying up to a kilonewton of force. To achieve this, it uses a NEMA 17 stepper motor driving a lead screw to apply tensile strain or compression to the specimen under test. The test fixture is assembled from 3D-printed components, and built on top of a piece of aluminium extrusion.
Fundamentally, it’s a smaller version of a machine most engineering undergraduates will see in a materials lab experiment. It could be highly useful for anyone wanting to experiment with 3D printed structures; it would be more than capable of testing various filaments and infill types for their tensile and compression performance. Video after the break.