It is known that 3D models aren’t always as perfect in reality as on our screen. So what are the best practices for modelling an object that will be 3D printed? We will show you how to avoid the most common mistakes, learn how materials and 3D technologies affect the printability of a model, and ensure you create a high quality designs.
Preparing for Digital Becoming Physical
Picture Source: Pixabay
3D models created in a digital environment do not alwats contend with physical effects, like gravity or inner tensions at connection points. But this will turn critical at the point you 3D print your model, it will become a physical object that is exposed to nature’s laws. This requires additional stability in the 3D model to account for this shift.
There are several simple rules that ensure your design is prepared correctly:
- Avoid thin walls.
- Ensure that all the pieces within the geometry of your model are connected.
- Verify that your model is watertight.
- Use one continuous flow for the outer surface.
3D Printing Technology & Material Guidelines
Picture Source: Pixabay
As summarized in the World’s Most Adopted 3D Printing Technologies for Industrial Use, each 3D print technology has its own technical restrictions and material specifications. In order to optimize for the print technology it is important to be aware of the requirements while the model is built.
Use the following basic guidelines to prepare 3D Models for specific technologies:
- For FDM and SLA technologies, support structures are needed for any overhanging places.
- Powder technologies do not require support structures, generally speaking, with the exception of SLM.
- For SLA and other powder technologies (SLS, SLM, CJP), it is important to include escape holes to remove the extra material that was not sintered.
- By hollowing your model for printing large objects you will to save material cost and production time.
- When creating large parts or many elements, especially planar and thin elements, they may warp or shrink. This is due to the cooling process and inner tensions resulting from the cooling process. Adding additional material at the corners that can be removed at a later point can help ensure a strong adhesion at the outside corners.
- Each 3D printing technology has its own resolution, but normally details smaller than 0,1 mm will not be visible after the production process.
- 3D printing also has its own dimension tolerance meaning that the dimensions of a physical object can be different from the digital one. The normal tolerance is -/+ 2% and needs to be considered any time components will be fit into each other.
Verifying Wall Thickness
One of the most common mistakes for 3D models preparing for production is components with walls which are too thin. While in the digital world it is possible to create surfaces without contemplating its thickness, in the physical world it leads to a variety of problematic results.
Thin elements, especially when clustered together can either break, warp, or not provide the durability required to support other parts of the model. Because of this, we recommend users to avoid designing models including elements with a thickness lower than 1 mm. When using the 3YOURMIND app, that is the primary feedback that users receive about their models, specifically based on the selected production material.
Proper 3D Model Resolution
3D printing is based on interpreting the mesh representation of objects. Those are a series of triangles or other polygons connected by their common edges or corners. When exporting your 3D model and adjusting the triangulation, it is important to properly adjust the number of triangles during output:
- Using too many triangles can restrict or unnecessarily slow the 3D printing process.
- Using too few triangles will result in a rough or low resolution model.
Picture Source: Meshify
What is coming next?
Additive manufacturing is rapidly widening its scope being adopted in several industries as in several cases it results a much cheaper and faster alternative to produce than traditional methods. Establishing best practices from the very begining as well as automated processes enables enterprises to simplify and speed up their production. On our next blog we will concentrate on further artistic applications 3D printed has been adopted in.