Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Research and Education| Volume 126, ISSUE 5, P671.e1-671.e7, November 2021

Effects of printing layer thickness on mechanical properties of 3D-printed custom trays

Published:December 02, 2020DOI:


      Statement of problem

      The layer thickness serves as a straightforward and controllable parameter to alter the mechanical properties of 3D-printed custom trays. However, how the printing layer thickness affects the mechanical properties of the trays is not fully understood.


      The purpose of this in vitro study was to investigate the effects and their underlying mechanisms and to optimize the mechanical properties through modulation of the printing layer thickness.

      Material and methods

      Polylactic acid (PLA) specimens were 3D-printed with 5 layer thicknesses from 0.1 mm to 0.5 mm. The bond, flexural, and tensile strengths were measured by using a universal test machine. Postfracture interfaces were examined by means of scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, the printing dimensional accuracy was estimated by measuring the size deviations between the printed and virtual specimens, and the printing times were recorded.


      With increasing PLA printing layer thickness, the tensile bond strength first increased and then decreased, peaking at a thickness of 0.4 mm. While the flexural and tensile strengths decreased, the printing dimensional accuracy remained constant from 0.1 mm to 0.4 mm and then decreased at 0.5 mm. The printing time sharply decreased as printing layer thickness increased.


      Moderate layer thickness provided the best properties for 3D-printed custom trays.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Piedra Cascón W.
        • Revilla-León M.
        Digital workflow for the design and additively manufacture of a splinted framework and custom tray for the impression of multiple implants: a dental technique.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2018; 120: 805-811
        • Revilla-León M.
        • Sánchez-Rubio J.L.
        • Oteo-Calatayud J.
        • Özcan M.
        Impression technique for a complete-arch prosthesis with multiple implants using additive manufacturing technologies.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2017; 117: 714-720
        • Liu Y.
        • Di P.
        • Zhao Y.
        • Hao Q.
        • Tian J.
        • Cui H.
        Accuracy of multi-implant impressions using 3D-printing custom trays and splinting versus conventional techniques for complete arches.
        Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2019; 34: 1007-1014
        • Davda K.
        • Osnes C.
        • Dillon S.
        • Wu J.
        • Hyde P.
        • Keeling A.
        An investigation into the trueness and precision of copy denture templates produced by rapid prototyping and conventional means.
        Eur J Prosthodont Restor Dent. 2017; 25: 186-192
        • Sun Y.
        • Chen H.
        • Li H.
        • Deng K.
        • Zhao T.
        • Wang Y.
        • et al.
        Clinical evaluation of final impressions from three-dimensional printed custom trays.
        Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 14958
        • Clark W.A.
        • Duqum I.
        • Kowalski B.J.
        The digitally replicated denture technique: a case report.
        J Esthet Restor Dent. 2019; 31: 20-25
        • Marotti J.
        • Tortamano P.
        • Castilho T.R.
        • Steagall Jr., W.
        • Wolfart S.
        • Haselhuhn K.
        Accuracy of a self-perforating impression tray for dental implants.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2014; 112: 843-848
        • Smith S.J.
        • McCord J.F.
        • Macfarlane T.V.
        Factors that affect the adhesion of two irreversible hydrocolloid materials to two custom tray materials.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2002; 88: 423-430
        • Mosharraf R.
        • Zareie Z.
        Effect of retention features in custom trays on dimensional accuracy of master casts made from alginate impressions.
        Journal of Isfahan Dental School. 2012; 7: 678-687
        • Burns J.
        • Palmer R.
        • Howe L.
        • Wilson R.
        Accuracy of open tray implant impressions: an in vitro comparison of stock versus custom trays.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2003; 89: 250-255
        • Chen H.
        • Yang X.
        • Chen L.
        • Wang Y.
        • Sun Y.
        Application of FDM three-dimensional printing technology in the digital manufacture of custom edentulous mandible trays.
        Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 19207
        • Sood A.K.
        • Ohdar R.K.
        • Mahapatra S.S.
        Parametric appraisal of mechanical property of fused deposition modelling processed parts.
        Materials & Design. 2010; 31: 287-295
        • Wu W.
        • Geng P.
        • Li G.
        • Zhao D.
        • Zhang H.
        • Zhao J.
        Influence of layer thickness and raster angle on the mechanical properties of 3D-printed PEEK and a comparative mechanical study between PEEK and ABS.
        Materials (Basel). 2015; 8: 5834-5846
        • Farzadi A.
        • Solati-Hashjin M.
        • Asadi-Eydivand M.
        • Abu Osman N.A.
        Effect of layer thickness and printing orientation on mechanical properties and dimensional accuracy of 3D printed porous samples for bone tissue engineering.
        PloS One. 2014; 9: e108252
        • Kuznetsov V.E.
        • Solonin A.N.
        • Urzhumtsev O.D.
        • Schilling R.
        • Tavitov A.G.
        Strength of PLA components fabricated with fused deposition technology using a desktop 3D printer as a function of geometrical parameters of the process.
        Polymers. 2018; 10: 313
        • Pucci J.U.
        • Christophe B.R.
        • Sisti J.A.
        • Connolly Jr., E.S.
        Three-dimensional printing: technologies, applications, and limitations in neurosurgery.
        Biotechnol Adv. 2017; 35: 521-529
        • Werz S.M.
        • Zeichner S.J.
        • Berg B.I.
        • Zeilhofer H.F.
        • Thieringer F.
        3D printed surgical simulation models as educational tool by maxillofacial surgeons.
        Eur J Dent Educ. 2018; 22: e500-e505
        • van Noort R.
        The future of dental devices is digital.
        Dent Mater. 2012; 28: 3-12
        • Athanasiou K.A.
        • Niederauer G.G.
        • Agrawal C.M.
        Sterilization, toxicity, biocompatibility and clinical applications of polylactic acid/polyglycolic acid copolymers.
        Biomaterials. 1996; 17: 93-102
        • Ona M.
        • Takahashi H.
        • Sato M.
        • Igarashi Y.
        • Wakabayashi N.
        Effect of reactive adhesives on the tensile bond strength of polyvinyl siloxane impression materials to methyl methacrylate tray material.
        Dent Mater J. 2010; 29: 336-340
        • Abdullah M.A.
        • Talic Y.F.
        The effect of custom tray material type and fabrication technique on tensile bond strength of impression material adhesive systems.
        J Oral Rehabil. 2003; 30: 312-317
        • Xu Y.
        • Huettig F.
        • Schille C.
        • Schweizer E.
        • Geis-Gerstorfer J.
        • Spintzyk S.
        Peel bond strength between 3D printing tray materials and elastomeric impression/adhesive systems: a laboratory study.
        Dental Mater. 2020; 36: e241-e254
        • Murthy S.S.
        • Murthy G.S.
        Argon ion laser polymerized acrylic resin: a comparative analysis of mechanical properties of laser cured, light cured and heat cured denture base resins.
        J Int Oral Health. 2015; 7: 28-34
        • Kumar V.
        • Aeran H.
        Evaluation of effect of tray space on the accuracy of condensation silicone, addition silicone and polyether impression materials: an in vitro study.
        J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2012; 12: 154-160
        • Revilla-León M.
        • Özcan M.
        Additive manufacturing technologies used for processing polymers: current status and potential application in prosthetic dentistry.
        J Prosthodont. 2019; 28: 146-158
        • Alharbi N.
        • Osman R.
        • Wismeijer D.
        Effects of build direction on the mechanical properties of 3D-printed complete coverage interim dental restorations.
        J Prosthet Dent. 2016; 115: 760-767
        • Kamio T.
        • Hayashi K.
        • Onda T.
        • Takaki T.
        • Shibahara T.
        • Yakushiji T.
        • et al.
        Utilizing a low-cost desktop 3D printer to develop a “one-stop 3D printing lab” for oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry fields.
        3D Print Med. 2018; 4: 6

      CHORUS Manuscript

      View Open Manuscript