Design Tips for Metal 3D Printing Prototype
Metal 3D printing has the unique advantage of offering new approaches to design. At Creatingway, we use this technology to create highly complex and distinctive shapes and patterns. It, therefore, means, manufacturers get very detailed geometric parts. They are also both lightweight and stronger when compared to products made from other traditional methods. Additionally, there is a lesser burden of additional cost and reduced material waste. However, it requires the optimization of the parts’ design to get these benefits.
How To Optimize Your Projects With 3D Printing Prototype
Here are some design tips to consider in metal 3D printing to help your part achieve optimization.
Overhangs are parts of the design unsupported by the rest of the parts. Avoid overhangs to mitigate the risk of getting deformation of the metal 3D print part. Especially when the overhang is larger than 0.5 mm. Thus, it is important to put additional structures to support these overhanging geometrics. One way of doing this is by making small modifications to the design. Distribute the strength by modifying the out-sticking wall and vertical face. This adds strength to the inside corner. Apply a fillet or chamfer at the intersection where you position the overhang. However, we recommend using a chamfer since it works best in extending the overhang by depth. The fillet only allows extension of the overhang up to 1× its radius.
In metal 3D printing, wall thickness is the distance from the surface of the part to its opposite sheer surface. The minimum thickness is the minimum thickness that your part’s geometry should have at any point. At Creatingway, we recommend that elements should not have walls thinner than 0.5 mm. Melting causes wall distortion because of the high heat. Also, for thin walls and small elements, it is harder to positively post process. We can print a resolution of up to 100-150 µm in the XY plane and tolerances of 1-layer thickness in the Z plane. However, if the fidelity is too fine, the details may lack some acceptable degree. It is thus important to remember not to request too much precision in fine details of metal 3D parts.
Positioning in metal 3D printing affects the surface quality of the part. Here is an explanation of the optimal position of the part and printer using an example of a circular hole. When printed parallel to the build plate, the circular shape remains perfectly maintained. However, if turned by 90o, such that it is now perpendicular to the build plate, the hole changes to an oval shape. This makes it less functional. Also, the direction in which we print the part significantly affects part quality. Appearance improves with the orientation of the most crucial planes horizontal t the build plate.
It is possible to achieve a good surface quality with faces angled as low as 20o to 30o on the build plate. This depends on the printer’s quality. Wall angles less than ±45o have a poorer surface quality. Therefore, one tip in getting better smoothness of the surface is by avoiding narrow angles in the design.
Gaps and Voids
In metal 3D printing, it is important to consider proper round hole sizes and spacing in the design. These details should not be thinner than 0.5 mm. When the spacing between neighboring walls is lower than this value, the elements join together due to poor resolution. Round holes even lose collapse or lose their concentricity when their diameter is lower than 0.5 mm. however, there is an option of machining and drilling out the printed parts, but the option adds further cost in post-production and delays. Big parts have the benefit of printing threads with higher accuracy but it varies depending on parts, material, and design.
Bridges and Supports For Metal 3D Printing Prototype
When designing overhanging elements of a part, it is important to make a design that strengthens the corners. Especially, when you intend to avoid the collapse of double-sided overhangs. It is necessary when the distance between the vertical connected walls of a part is greater than 1 mm. Supports like fillets and chamfer have the capability of extending the overhang 2× the
In metal 3D printing, rounding the double-sided overhangs as an arch adds structure. It makes the structure stronger due to mass accumulating at the top and it is also more visually pleasing. Another design tip Is by creating a pointing profile on the lower surface of the overhang. It is achievable by the addition of a double angled chamfer that meets at the center, forming a triangle. However, if the two design tips above do not suit your style, conventional support elements can hold the cut-out structures. They are usually thin, high cuboids, or cylinders, removable in the post-processing phase.
Caves are important metal 3D printing prototypes since they reduce the amount of material used and weight. However, they are sites prone to accumulating unused powder during post-processing. It is thus important to at least leave one hole in the design. This hole serves as an exit in removing the excess powder from the part’s inside. radius fillet or chamfer length.
We believe metal 3D printing will revolutionize many industrial challenges. Contact Creatingway now for your metal 3D printing needs.
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