When the time finally comes to hit that hallowed upload button and get your 3D printing project underway, you want to make sure your design follows every rule and is ready to go. While our team is always here to double-check every submission and flag any errors, following, the three top tips will help ensure every file is printable and maybe even cut down on some of your costs while you’re at it.
#1: Make your model watertight
For your file to be ready to print, all of your surfaces must be connected without any gaps in the sides. You can even get the best 3D product configurator for the best 3D experience.
So, before you submit your design, look over your model and ask yourself one question: if I were to fill it with water, would it flow out? If the answer is yes, it’s important to close it, as shown in the example below. This process is also known as ‘creating a manifold model’.
#2: Add wall thickness and volume
Every surface of your 3D model must be assigned a wall thickness. Wall thickness is simply the distance between one surface of your model and its opposite sheer surface.
When using your 3D modeling software, it is possible to design so-called paper-thin surfaces for visual purposes (i.e., for games) that do not feature any information about their thickness.
However, 3D printers need to know how thick you intend your object’s wall to be (or if you want to print a completely solid model).
#3: Set the size of smaller details
The details, or the small decorative parts like embossed or engraved text, need to be of a certain size, or they will not appear on the printed object.
The minimum size of the smallest features of the design depends heavily on the material of your choice. That’s why you need to start by carefully reading through the design guide of the material of your choice.
This is especially important if you intend to add embossed or engraved details such as text. Sticking to the minimum detail size will make sure that everything is as legible as you intended.