One of the key advantages of additive manufacturing is the freedom of design. The process of additive manufacturing comprises various phases or stages in order to get the desired product. Therefore, while implementing the additive manufacturing or 3D printing process, designers and engineers need to be equipped with knowledge of new methodologies and fundamental design considerations in order to produce 3D printable, high-quality parts.
When 3D printing, there are certain factors to keep in mind that will influence how well the product turns out. The first consideration is the actual 3D printer, including its dependability, technological capabilities, and material. The second factor considers both the design and how it has been altered for the particular manufacturing process. In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at some of the fundamental 3D printing design rules that must be meticulously considered while implementing the additive manufacturing process.
Fundamental Design Considerations for 3D Printing: A Brief Guide
Image Source: Zeal 3D
1. Overhangs and Support
The specific component of the 3D model that is not supported by any tool/material will probably fall when it is 3D printed. Therefore, some underlining material should be placed over each layer before printing. Areas of the 3D model known as overhangs may need no support or only partial support from the layer above. Every printer has a maximum angle beyond which supporting elements are not necessary.
According to the laws of 3D printing, any 3D printer can create items with an overhanging inclination of up to “45 degrees” without the object falling. Despite the fact that this is true, you still need to make certain adjustments in order to stop your item from falling.
2. Wall Thickness
Wall thickness is the next critical factor that must be considered during the 3D designing phase. Print failures can result from problems with wall thickness, which are among the most frequent design issues. A 3D printed model with a section wall that is too thin will be extremely delicate and susceptible to being destroyed or damaged. On the contrary, excessively thick walls lead to internal tensions that will cause unwanted effects like cracking. Despite the fact that the required minimum wall thickness primarily relies on the material being used and the overall shape of the 3D model, the most frequent rule of thumb is to make the walls a little thicker. According to 3D printing rules, a wall thickness of larger than 0.8 mm is necessary for manufacturing an optimal item or 3D model using all 3D printing technologies.
3. Shrinkage and Warping
The material often undergoes modifications during the 3D printing process as it is sintered, melted, or heated in some other manner. However, issues typically arise as a result of warping or shrinkage as the substance cools, which leads to cracking and distortion. Heat treatment causes longitudinal contraction, which makes parts with straight, smooth surfaces more susceptible to shrinking.
Sharp corners can also cause deformation because they contribute to stress concentration locations. These problems can be prevented, though, with the appropriate design. Instead of using sharp corners, give a 3D model a rounded brim and attempt to stay away from long flat surfaces. This stress can be dispersed more evenly as the corners are softened. Additionally, it is possible to incorporate filters into a three-dimensional model to lessen warping when a building plate and an object’s bottom surface come into contact.
The resolution in 3D print manufacturing measures the thickness of each layer of material used. A thinner layer may be able to minimize surface flaws or ridges depending on the 3D printing technology being employed. Before post-processing, smoother faces and greater surface quality are made possible by high resolution. Longer manufacturing times result from thinner layers and more precise details.
Choose the SLA (Stereolithography) technique, which has a layer thickness of approximately 25 microns, for an object with an extremely high resolution (0.025mm). With SLS technology, you can achieve very good resolution (100 microns) (0.1mm). We provide high resolution and typically 250 microns (0.25 mm) thick FDM layers (0.175 mm). Even lower-resolution printing is an option (330 microns, 0.330mm). This appears to be a suitable alternative for bigger, less aesthetically pleasing objects that can be produced rapidly and cheaply.
The concept of tolerance in 3D printing can be perplexing at times, especially because clearance, accuracy, and resolution are frequently confused with it. Tolerance can be simply defined as the allowance for mistakes in dimensional measurements of a 3D print. A certain range is always used to describe tolerance. For example, a 5-centimeter-long column may have a tolerance of 0.05 millimeters. As a result, the actual measurement of the column’s length can be anywhere between 4.95 and 5.05 cm.
6. Intricate Details Consideration
As the name suggests, taking this concept into account entails adding some extra detail to the 3D object design. When designing an item, it is important to be aware of the material’s maximum breadth and the item’s thickness. We can design the needed item based on those descriptions. However, the speed and price of the item are also impacted by these specifics. So it’s crucial to consider whether the minor features matter for your model.
The smallest feature size any 3D printing technique can handle must be considered while developing a 3D model with complex details. The chosen layer height and the characteristics and mechanics of every 3D printing method determine the minimal level of detail. Choosing if smaller details are essential to your model is a key design choice because the method and materials chosen will affect the print’s speed and cost.
7. 3D Designing Tools
The fact that your computer design will be turned into a tangible object is the most crucial factor to keep in mind when designing for 3D printing. The principles of physics, such as gravity, do not apply in the world of digital design. On a digital canvas, anything can be “painted” in 3D, whereas not everything can be printed in 3D. You may create digital designs that effectively print if you are aware of the essential design elements that go into making 3D models.
It’s always necessary to understand the fundamental functioning of each 3D printing technique and design rules for 3D printing in order to design for it. It will be easier for you to get more use out of your ideas if you are familiar with the fundamentals of 3D printing and 3D printing design guidelines. Consumers and manufacturers of 3D printing must both comprehend how it operates and how to build for it. Given our ability to alter and tweak practically any aspect to create distinctive products, 3D printing has altered how we design and manufacture.