Designing 3D parts, for 3D Printing, Part 1.


Unlike design for current manufacturing processes, 3D printing opens up a whole new avenue for designing parts.

Gone are the days of designing a component, where you had to have some understanding of current manufacturing methods, so your part could actually be machined, on a milling machine or lathe.

And junior designers, being sent away time and time again, to re draw their parts.

With the introduction of 3D Printing, this allows parts to be made, previously not possible, with honeycomb internal structure for lightness, deep undercuts, channels or voids, that twist and turn for, air or water flow, can be designed in, where a conventional machining cutter, or drill, cannot get.

This is only true, if you don’t want to manufacture your parts after, using more conventional methods, if your 3D Printed part is, only a prototype, for instance.

The Type of software you chose to use, will also affect the design, of your parts and assemblies!

And careful consideration needs to be taken into account, in choosing the right software within your budget, to accomplish your design intent.

At 3D Print ‘N’ Scan Ltd. We use the latest Autodesk Inventor 3D modeling software, to produce your designs, and also use it, to turn meshes into solids, after 3D Scanning.

With the complexity of 3D printed models, there are lots of challenges facing, single extruder, printing machines, where any design that has a hole, overhang, void, or channel, to name but a few, will require some sort of support, if overly excessive.

So, to producing high specification printed parts, with smooth surfaces, and large overhangs, voids, holes or channels, we use a gel like, water soluble, polyjet support material, which can be dissolved, or jet washed out after printing.

With holes, overhangs, voids or channels, that go over 45° you will start to see drooping of your printed parts, in these areas, if not supported, leading to loss of accuracy and tolerances, and it is best not to design a part past this angle, if it is not going to be supported, during printing.

This in turn, 3D printing any feature over 45°, is not helped by the time it takes, for printed material to cool or cure, so to help with the 3D Printing process, 3D Print ‘N’ Scan Ltd, use a UV light to cure, every layer of material as it is laid down, preventing warping, and drooping of your parts.

3D Print ‘N’ Scan hope this Blog was of some use, and will be discussing, threads in our next Blog.