Thursday, May 31, 2012

3D Design Tricks

It is important to know how 3D printers operate before you design and print your design.  If you make your design knowing this you would get better results.

Some design recommendations:

1. Don’t forget the gravity. (The objects are printed from bottom to top. There needs to be a physical material beneath the extruded plastic. Rotate your design before printing so that there is less bulking of from the center. Some printer software can add support material bulking parts of your design.  If the printer has two extruders like Replicator, the printer can use water soluble plastic as a support material. This plastic can be removed after proper water treatment.  For the rest of the printers the support material is the same material as the object. The supporting part is printed with less fill factor making it weak. This enables easy removal of support material with breaking the part by hand.  If you have a design where the object has high detail near or above the support material, these parts may be damaged while removing the support part. Therefore it is wise to rotate the object in software such that there should be no support near the detailed parts on the final print.)

2. Avoid sharp corners and straight edges. (It is quite difficult to have results that have sharp corners and straight edges. That’s why most of the print outs shown have more rounded design.)

3. If your design has connection of multiple printed parts try to have larger tolerances on the interlocking parts. The printouts are not perfect.