Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Stagon

Second Advisor

Dr. Peyton Hopson

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Grant Bevill

Department Chair

Dr. Osama Jadaan

College Dean

Dr. William F. Klostermeyer


The use of three-dimensional printing (3d printing) technologies are becoming increasingly popular in today’s society due to the time and cost advantages associated with these processes. In industries with a high demand for customizable and one-of-a-kind parts at a low volume, these additive manufacturing processes offer a promising solution. Surgical devices are a great example of this demand. Despite the advantages offered by 3d printing, the mechanical integrity of these 3d printed parts are often not comparable to the solid metal parts that have historically been used. In an effort to create a superior part and reach operational requirements, reinforcement is required. Electroless plating has historically been the method of choice, but this plating process has been deemed an extreme environmental hazard due to the use of chromic acid. Alternatively, electroplating is an environmentally benign process, however this process requires a conductive substrate. In this work, an investigation was conducted to determine how to make the 3d printed parts conductive, maximize adhesion between the conductive layer and the substrate, as well as the conductive layer to a thicker electroplated layer, and the resulting overall properties of the part. Considering a multitude of metallization processes, physical vapor deposition (PVD) offers an alternative method to solution-based metallization and has a reduced environmental footprint. These techniques will be used to apply a thin metal film to the 3d printed parts, serving as a conductive seed layer for electroplating. Using two photopolymers from Carbon® - CE221 and RPU70 – the most promising substrate material was determined to be uncured CE221. It is recommended that PVD strike layer deposition be conducted below 5 x 10-3 Torr. The part will then undergo the prescribed cure cycle for CE221. The part remained conductive enough after the cure cycle to electroplate.

Available for download on Saturday, May 03, 2025