How to design a printable CAD model
Here are some things to consider when designing a part to be 3D printed. By following these steps, you have a better chance of an end result which you are happy with, reducing the risk of deformation or any imperfections in the print.
- Wall Thickness:
3D printers print solid bodies, not surfaces. This means that when designing a part, you need to make sure that all the thicknesses and dimensions in your design are greater than 0. You should also consider what a suitable thickness might be as a thin, unsupported structure is much more likely to break.
Make sure that all parts to be printed have adequate space between them so that they can be printed separately. Ensure that there are no shared edges.
Any overhangs or not flat surfaces might require supports in order to print. In this case, the supports may cause a texture to the part where they were connected so if a smooth surface is required, try to design a part to minimize the use of supports.
You should ensure that the model fits inside the print volume of the printer. The largest printer we have has a total print volume of 305 x 305 x 605mm so any parts you have must be small enough to fit this.
- Scale Down:
If the part you want is too large, you can always scale it down if it is a prototype or size is not a priority. In this case, you must make sure that none of the tolerances or dimensions become too small and unable to be reliably printed.
- Moving Parts:
If your design includes any moving parts, you must make sure that they have enough space to move freely. As a general rule, gaps between moving parts should be around 0.5mm or else too much friction might prohibit movement.
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