3 Design Tips for FFF 3D Printing

3 design tips for FFF 3D printing

  • Written by Gerard Garcia
    Mar 22, 2016
  • Category:
    / Guides

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro, we can always learn something new about 3D printing. Below you’ll find some general guidelines to improve your 3D prints by making it easier for the 3D printer to build them.

Use fillets for stronger 3D prints

Fillets are not actually necessary with FFF 3D printing but they do help to reduce stress during printing and in turn, add strength to the part. During printing, it’s possible the nozzle could knock thin parts off the print, it’s why we also recommend adding fillets to the base of thin sections.

Design tips for FFF printing - Fillets

The 45-degree rule

You can save time and material with less 3D printed supports! Because FFF 3D printers build models layer by layer, generally speaking, angles of more than 45 degrees will need to be printed with supports. Unless of course, you’re a pro at slicing, choosing the right material and maintaining your 3D printer.

Although adding a few supports to a design before printing might not seem like a big deal, it can slow down the print process exponentially. Small design changes on the CAD file will help you save material, reducing print time and save post-processing messiness and labour.

Design tips for FFF printing - 45 degrees

So make sure you keep the 45-degree rule in mind. By taking a few extra minutes to consider it while designing, it’ll payback dividends in printing and time labour hour savings.

3D Printing Holes With FFF

Holes on desktop FFF 3d printers are generally undersized due to the nature of the build process. When tight tolerances are required, the average 3D printer user either has to specify oversized holes or drill bigger holes later on.

For example, to get a 5mm hole it should be designed with 5.2mm diameter i.e. it’ll print with a smaller diameter. For holes up to 10mm in diameter a good rule of thumb is to add 2 - 4% correction and a smaller percentage for bigger diameters. Remember, the hole can always be made bigger through post-processing (sanding, drilling…) but not smaller.

Do you have more simple 3d design guidelines? Share them in the comments!

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