What Are The Design Considerations To Take Note When Designing For 3D Printing?
BWhen designing for traditional mold design products, designers will consider the draft angle, undercuts, sharp edges, wall thickness, etc. But now when 3D printing launched to the market, many people has the thinking that 3D printing can print anything.
Yes, 3D printing has the ability to print the impossible but there are also some design considerations that we need to take note of.
Sharing with you some of the important design consideration when you design for 3D printing:
For traditional design, we take note of undercuts whereas for 3D printing, we need to consider the design to reduce the support. 3D printing builds the model layer by layer. If the design has overhangs or slope greater than 45 degree, we need to have support to hold the design in place.
Supports will be removed after the printing completed. If the product requires a lot of supports and there will have materials wastage. It will also take longer time to complete the print. Besides wasting of material and time, supports typically create a rougher surface therefore extra work needed to post-process to smooth the surface.
If the product design really required to have the overhang, some of the alternate workaround solutions are:
- Split the model into several parts for printing and unite them together after printing
- Orient the model to an appropriate position for printing to reduce the supports
Wall thickness varies for traditional mold design depends whether there are precision or non-precision products. Wall thickness also plays an important role to determine the warpage and sink marks for traditional molding.
For 3D printing, wall thickness also varies depending on the different type of 3D printing technology used. For FDM printing, if the wall thickness is too thin, the model will not be able to printed or it may be fragile and break easily.
If the wall thickness is too thick, it will increase the weight of the model, more material will be used and also increase the printing time.
Warping occurs due to the heating and cooling of materials, this happens to both traditional mold design products or 3D printing models.
Materials selection may also cause warping. Always check the physical properties of the material and adjust the setting on the printer. There is no one setting for all although some printing can use the same setting for different material on some models.
Avoid printing large, flat surface as this tends to warp more. If large flat surface is required in the design, try to use a better surface adhesive between the part and the print bed.
Design the Impossible
3D Printing allows you to think of of the box and do not be constraint by the traditional design concept.
Design the impossible yet with the thumb of rule in mind.
The Ginkgo Barista manages Ginkgo3D publications.