How to Design 3D Models for 3D Printing & New Prototypes

You may now make even your wildest dreams a reality thanks to the ground-breaking new technology known as 3D printing. The technique offers an amazing balance between simplicity in reproduction and complete design freedom. You can create your very own 3D model that you can then turn into a tangible product in just a few short hours.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when 3D models you print don’t turn out as you had hoped. Compared to others, some are trickier to pull off. You must take into account a number of aspects when dealing with 3D modelling design services for 3D printing to ensure that you can design and print exactly what you have in mind.

Stick to the 45-degree rule

Overhanging features can be simply fixed by adding support structures. However, the majority of 3D printing design businesses only use this as a last resort. They don’t simply waste a lot of filament; the removal procedure could also lead to uneven surfaces or harm the printed object as a whole.

Consider using the 45-degree rule while creating a 3D model. Over-45-degree incline will need a support structure to maintain their weight. If necessary, a chamfer can also be inserted. This steeper incline is divided into 45-degree chunks. Keep every incline close to just around 30 degrees to avoid pushing the strength of the filament material over the 45-degree barrier.

Be familiar with the concept of droop and bridges

A bridge is a horizontal element that is joined to the other components of the model at both of its terminal ends. Make sure you are aware of the limitations of both your filament and printer because they can vary with different nozzle diameters and filament types.

The worst thing that can happen is for a bridge to collapse under its own weight. Support should be added if it does. But you’ll still need a little droop in this situation. The sinking of the bridge known as droop is especially noticeable in the central section. The weight of the filament and the length of the bridge influence how severe the droop is. According to the standard rule of thumb, bridges with a thickness of less than 36mm should have a maximum droop of 0.5mm. For bridges longer than 60mm, the droop can rise to a maximum of 5mm.

Avoid supports with the help of anchors

One of the more inventive ways to reduce supports is to include anchors into your design. Since it all depends on your ingenuity, there isn’t a set way to achieve it. The idea is not brand-new. Studies on ancient sculptures reveal that the sculptors frequently used concealed supports to prevent their works from collapsing under their own weight.

For instance, the action figure you create should lean against a structure or signpost. Additionally, you can arrange the figure’s stance so that no features hang over the edge. The beautiful thing about this method is that you don’t have to sacrifice your design by altering any of the geometry of the feature. Additionally, it enables a 3D product modelling service to maintain the quality of your 3D model even when you share it for free on other 3D model download websites.

Orient according to strength and resolution

It’s common for 3D prints created with FDM technology to have some noticeable layer lines. It is a natural outcome of the way wide nozzles are used in FDM printers. However, you can alter layer thickness to manage z-axis resolution. However, the resolution on the y-axis and x-axis depends on the size of the nozzle.

If your 3D character modelling services offers amazing details, take this into account. If you want precise details in the model, it is best to align the details along the z-axis. Despite the fact that you can rotate the models along any axis in the slicer software, keep in mind that the resolution of these three axes is not the same.

Make sure to take the strength constraints of FDM printing into account when designing a part intended to support a heavy load. The print’s weakest points are essentially the layer lines. If they are parallel to any tension, these will be pulled apart from one another. Designing your model with the tension and layer lines perpendicular to one another will yield the best results.

Split your 3D model into several parts

You might want to think about building size restrictions while creating a 3D model for a desktop 3D printer. The prop or action figure you are constructing could not even fit on your 3D printer. In order to reduce the number of support structures in your print, it would be ideal if you could divide the model into many pieces. A 3D model could have less overhanging characteristics if it were divided into two or three halves and then rotated in different orientations, for instance.

Avoiding the extra filament and difficulty support structures demand will be worth the effort. There are numerous ways to dissect a model. They can simply be divided into discrete portions by a freelance 3D modelling services, so you will need to glue each piece together after printing. Additionally, you can create press-fit or snap-fit connections that have the advantage of being temporary. For large prototypes or props that must be disassembled and reassembled during transport, such as those used at displays or conventions, the second method is useful.

Take the material into consideration

The filament material you intend to use should always be taken into account when designing a 3D object. Additionally, different plastic materials behave differently right off the off. Before deciding on the tolerances and resolution of your 3D model, for instance, you must take the thermal expansion coefficient of plastic into account. Flexibility and hardness are additional key factors to take into account, especially if you plan to construct working prototypes. For designs with snap-fit or press-fit connections, flexible filament, for instance, might not be appropriate.

The wall thickness of the section must be chosen depending on how flexible your model’s hinges must be. Your chosen type of material will have an impact on a wide range of printing characteristics, from more obvious to less obvious. If you take the filament material into account when designing, you might be able to avoid problems like warping, stringing, and bridging failure.

Nozzle size affects 3D printer tolerances

Particularly when you take into account the size of the nozzle, 3D printers can only replicate specific characteristics. It works with any axis as well. When plastic filament cools, it naturally expands as well. When managing your expectations for how detailed your 3D model will be after printing, the phenomena is a crucial factor to take into account.

One guideline you can use in this situation is that a filament’s effective size when extruded and cooled is roughly 1.2 times the diameter of the nozzle. It equates to 0.48mm for 0.4mm standard nozzles. It implies that each feature on your model must be at least 0.48mm in size or larger.

The distance between two characteristics that are close to one another that is just sufficient to prevent them from fusing together is referred to as tolerance. Again, when designing for tolerances, you must take into account the effects of thermal expansion. The problem is that there isn’t a single, unambiguous tolerance value that can be used for all nozzle sizes and filament types.

Remove sharp corners to prevent warping

Experts in 3D design consider warping to be one of the most critical issues. If you plan to print with high-temperature filaments like Nylon or ABS, this is especially true. To address the warping issue, a significant amount of work is necessary, ranging from adjusting temperature settings to painstakingly applying adhesives to the print bed. Thank goodness there are measures you may take to avoid this warping problem throughout the design process.

When corners of the print’s foundation layers rise off the print bed, warping manifests itself most frequently. Due to the accumulation of thermal stress brought on by thermal contraction, these corners are particularly vulnerable. The best technique to prevent warping is probably to design rounded corners that don’t accumulate thermal stress. In this manner, the base layer and other areas of the print will experience thermal stress that is dispersed more equally.

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