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NIST Additive Manufacturing Test Artifact


The NIST Additive Manufacturing (AM) test artifact available on this page may be used to investigate the performance and capabilities of an AM system.  The test artifact is to be built using the AM system under investigation.  All pertinent process parameters and machine settings used in building the test artifact should be documented.  The test artifact is removed from the AM system and is measured by suitable methods for various (geometric) characteristics.  The measured values (and deviations from nominal or specified values) and non-measured observed features provide an indication of the AM system's performance, especially when compared to results from test artifacts manufactured on other comparable AM systems.

Significance and Use

  • Measurements and observations made on the test artifact are used to assess the performance of an AM system.
  • The primary characterization of the AM system obtained by building and measuring a test artifact is via geometric accuracy and surface roughness of the test artifact.
  • The test artifact described in this test method may be used as an acceptance piece for a contract between a buyer and seller of an AM system.
  • Manufacture and measurement of this test artifact may be repeated periodically in order to evaluate the performance of one AM system (for example, after maintenance or re-calibration of the system, or as defined by the requirements of a quality system).
  • Data from measurements made on this test artifact may be used to determine machine parameters used for machine compensation.

Available Files

At the right of this page are links to download four files.

1. The test part file in .stl file format.
2. The the test part file in .amf file format.
3. A paper that describes the part and all of its features in detail.  The full citation for this paper is:

S.P. Moylan, J.A. Slotwinski, A.L. Cooke, K.K. Jurrens, and M.A. Donmez (2012), "Proposal for a standardized test artifact for additive manufacturing machines and processes," Proceedings of the 23rd International Solid Free Form Symposium – An Additive Manufacturing Conference, Austin, TX, USA, August 2012, pp. 902-920.

Included in this paper is an engineering drawing with geometric dimensioning and tolerancing that outlines the nominal dimensions of the features and the post-process measurements to be taken.

4. An excel spreadsheet that can be used as an inspection worksheet ("Test Artifact Inspection Sheet.xlsx").

Proposed Standardization

The general description of the test artifact available on the page along with quantitative and qualitative measurements to be taken on the test artifact to assess the performance of AM systems has been proposed for standardization through the ASTM Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies (work item WK40419).  Note that this test artifact is not yet an ASTM standard. The test artifact is under consideration by the F42 committee and further development may change the final form.


These files were developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code, these files are not subject to copyright protection and are in the public domain. The test part files "NIST Test Artifact online.stl" and "NIST Test Artifact online.amf" are an experimental design. The experimental design will likely be revised based on future development and review.  NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic. We would appreciate acknowledgement if the test part file, design, or publication are used.

Test Artifact


NIST Test Artifact online.stl
NIST Test Artifact online.amf
NIST Test Artifact online.step
Moylan SFF Test Artifact.pdf
Test Artifact Inspection Sheet.xlsx


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for improvement please do not hesitate to contact Shawn Moylan at shawn.moylan [at] (shawn[dot]moylan[at]nist[dot]gov) or (301) 975-4352.


Created April 23, 2013, Updated June 2, 2021