Demystifying Additive Manufacturing Standards- ISO/ASTM 52901:2017


Dr. Khalid Rafi


ISO/ASTM 52901:2017 Additive manufacturing – General principles – Requirements for purchased AM parts

Have you ever used a service bureau or contract manufacturer for an additive manufacturing part? Are you fully aware of the information you need to communicate with the manufacturer to produce the part you require?Whether you are a seasoned AM professional or a novice  AM user, this standard is a perfect guide forgetting a part printed from a service bureau or a contract manufacturer.

ISO/ASTM 52901 provides guidelines for the elements to be exchanged between the customer and the part provider at the time of the order, including the customer order information, part definition data, feedstock requirements, final part characteristics and properties, inspection requirements, and part acceptance methods.

The requirements vary across different parts depending on the intended applications. For any application, there will be a minimum acceptance criterion. This standard helps you define such minimum requirements that the part needs to be satisfied. You may specify more stringent requirements at the time of the order, for example, a tighter tolerance in the chemical compositions or results of fatigue properties.

This standard is beneficial for the service bureaus/contract manufacturers. Service bureaus encounter a variety of customers ranging from novice to expert. It’s often a challenge to obtain adequate information from the customers on what they are looking for. Some customers come with a designof the part they want to print without providing sufficient information about what kind of material they wish to use or what process they want to choose.Service bureaus can use this standard to create a framework that can capture all relevant information that needs to produce the part. Complying with this standard demonstrates the capability of service bureaus’ capability to maintain a streamlined procedure right from the customer onboarding to the final part release.

Outline of the contents in the standard.

Part ordering information

The standard clearly defines what shall be included in the purchase order agreed between the customer and the part provider. A template demonstrating the typical contents of a purchase order is provided as an Annex that users can take as a reference.

Definition of the part to be manufactured

This session includes the details of all the part information that needs to be captured. This covers;

  • general information of the part,
  • details of part geometry,
  • tolerances for functional zones and aesthetic zones,
  • surface texture specifying roughness and waviness,
  • desired manufacturing process for building the part,
  • material specification mentioning feedstock characteristics and handling and storage requirements,
  • details of the repair methods employed,such as welding or bonding
  • process control informationfor assessing repeatability
  • details of external vendors who provide any services to the part, such as heat treatment

Part Characteristics, functionality, and performance

This section captures the essentialpart characteristics the customer is looking for, such as dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties. The section also covers;

  • Functionality and performance requirements of the parts
  • Test methods and inspection criteria to measure part characteristics
  • Post-processing to meet customer requirement for part characteristics

Part Acceptance

The customer needs to specify the acceptance requirements for the parts he ordered with the service bureau. This section covers different stages of acceptance;

  • Acceptance of qualification part: qualification parts need to be produced and approved by the customer before manufacturing the first production part.
  • Acceptance of the first production part: Before initiating a production run, the first production part should be inspected and approved.
  • Acceptance of final or reference part: Acceptance criteria for the final part need to be specified in the purchase order

The manufacturer needs to provide part acceptance documentation that includes an inspection report covering test results of various part characteristics.


ISO/ASTM 52901:2017 is a great resource for purchasing an AM part from a contract manufacturer. This document is equally useful for both customers and the manufacturers to get fully aligned with the part requirements and avoid confusion during the part ordering process.

Through this association, Deakin University and NCAM will seek to foster excellence in research and innovation in Advanced (Additive) Manufacturing Technology from across all the opportunities that exist through Deakin as a University which could be through the short courses, joint research projects or joint PhD programs and other areas.

The association with NCAM will draw together expertise from industry, R&D establishments, and academia to optimize the Additive Manufacturing R&D and standards development processes and help solve manufacturing problems through Additive Manufacturing Technology.

“NCAM’s vision is to create and enable a sustainable ecosystem for product innovation in India using the disruptive technology of Additive Manufacturing. Through this partnership, we will seek to provide opportunities to the larger academic and student fraternity who will benefit through skilling, joint research programs, courses, and knowledge exchanges to name a few in the additive manufacturing space,” said Jaspreet Sidhu, CEO, NCAM.

Know more about ISO/ASTM 52901:2017 at ASTM website, the website also have information about ISO/ASTM 52901:2017 specification and technical requirements.

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Dr. Khalid Rafi
Senior Lead, Additive Manufacturing Program Development at ASTM International