DESIGN FOR 3D PRINT SUCCESS

TOP 5 DESIGN FOR 3D PRINTING TIPS (100% SUCCESS RATE GUARANTEED)

The gold standard of design for 3D printing is to make “supportless” models for 3D printing. This is because supportless models are 3D designs optimized just for 3D printing with zero sacrificial support materials & zero points of failure. Below, we are going to be 3D modeling a supportless model together using all 5 key principles of design for 3D printing in order to guarantee a 100% success rate when using our local 3D printing service in Irvine.

1. DESIGN IN A FLAT SIDE

When 3D designing for 3D printing, it is important to have a flat base for the model to attach to during the 3D printing process. Regardless of if you are using 3D print filament technologies or if you are 3D printing resin, the prototype object must attach onto the build plate somehow in order to be fabricated layer by layer.

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2. MAX OVERHANG < 55 DEGREES

3D printing happens layer by layer. This means that the new layer being fabricated must be sitting on top of something, ideally the previous layer. Imagine a bunch of plates stacking on top of each other. This is exactly how 3D printed layers work. The steepness of these plates is known as the “overhang” angle. And this angle cannot be steeper than 55 degrees (or the plates will fall over). Ideally, no steeper than 45 degrees for the cleanest & strongest 3D printed parts.

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3. MIN TOLERANCE = 50% OF XY RESOLUTION

In order to ensure that 3D printed parts actually fit, the gap between each 3D printed part should be at least ½ the XY resolution for an extremely finely calibrated machine to achieve a very tight permanent snap fit. If you want parts to be able to come apart later, the built-in tolerance should be at least 1 times the XY resolution. For example, if we are printing with an XY resolution of 0.4mm, the gap between each part should be at least 0.2mm for a snap-fit or even 0.4mm for a tight but not permanent fit.

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4. MIN THICKNESS = 2X XY RESOLUTION

3D printed part can be as thick as you want. But it does have a minimum thickness because the toolpath have to trace the entire exterior shell at least once. Thus, the thinnest part of 3D printed things needs to be at least 2X the XY resolution. This usually isn’t the limiting factor because to make parts sturdy, the thinnest part should be at least 1mm thick anyways. Ideally, at least 2mm to be rock solid.

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5. MAX BRIDGING < 2 INCHES

Bridging is the ability for 3D printers to print in mid-air between two support points. Some materials such as PLA with max cooling can print in mid-air for many centimeters. Different 3D printing materials have different abilities to bridge. But no 3D print filament can print in mid-air forever. Just to be safe, make sure that the max bridging distance is less than 2 inches (ideally zero).

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