Five mistakes to avoid when creating 3D models for 3D printing

Creating the perfect 3D print model is not as easy as it sounds. That is why we have compiled this list of mistakes to avoid when creating a 3D model for fabrication using additive methods.
Allow each of them to end up with a product that will fully meet the stated requirements when preparing a model for printing.

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Creating the perfect 3D print model is not as easy as it sounds. That is why we have compiled this list of mistakes to avoid when creating a 3D model for fabrication using additive methods.

Allow each of them to end up with a product that will fully meet the stated requirements when preparing a model for printing.

Mistake 1. Do not take into account the features of the material

A user is guided by the available budget and tasks when selecting a printer model. But when the time comes to choose material for 3D printing, less attention is paid to this issue. 
Novice users think that all plastic is the same, so they try to choose something cheaper.

Each material has its characteristics. Materials are brittle or strong, flexible or solid, smooth or rough, heavy or light, and so on.
The product should be modeled for a specific material that what it means.
For example, if we are going to print a 3D steel model. We must follow some material-specific modeling guidelines, including creating supports for overhanging parts, strengthening protruding parts of the product, rounding corners, etc.

The choice of print material predetermines some of the basic principles of modeling that must stick to for success.
So, if a sample needs for demonstration purposes, the primary task of its creator is to ensure maximum accuracy. When preparing 3D models for subsequent tests and trials, their functionality is crucial.
Based on these and other parameters, you should select material for 3D modeling.

Also, when preparing for the creation of three-dimensional products, namely, when choosing a material, even seemingly insignificant moments are necessary, for example, the diameter of the extruder. Therefore, if the user has no experience in 3D modeling in preparing models for printing, experts recommend working out all the details.

Mistake 2. Ignore 3D printing technology

The technologies used for manufacturing use each of the materials and not just do the basic chemical properties of materials. Interconnecting parts are a good example. Materials such as ABS, polyamide, aluminum, or rubber-like materials are suitable for printing interconnecting parts, while gold, silver, bronze, or photopolymer resin are not suitable for this. The reason is not in material but printing technology.

For example, polyamide, aluminum, and rubber-like materials use in selective laser sintering; precious metals – in investment casting. And photopolymers – in stereolithography.

It’s important to remember that stainless steel and silver cannot be 3D printed because they are both metals. For printing with these metals use different technologies of the printed products is inevitable. Materials compatible with one technology, such as gold, silver, bronze, and brass, are more likely to have similar design requirements for the model.

In addition, it should be bear in mind that the maximum size of a printable model also depends on the 3D printer used and the printing technology.

In general, if you know the material that will print, the choice of technology will be pretty straightforward. Only a few additive technologies produce models from the same materials. And in these cases, the selection process comes down to a comparison of physical properties and costs.

Mistake 3. Ignore wall thickness

Sample wall thickness problems are by far the most common reason why 3D models cannot print. In some cases, the wall thickness is too thin, and too thin walls make it impossible to print small parts of the model or make them too fragile. Too thick walls, on the other hand, create excessive internal stresses that can lead to the formation of a crack or even destruction of the model.

Mistake 4. Ignore file resolution before printing

Do you know the features of the material for the future model? Is the wall thickness of the model correct? Perfect! But now there’s one more thing to consider: file permission. The most common format for printing is STL. 
That means that your model will represent in 3D space as many triangles. Most 3D modeling software can export the design to an STL file and set the desired resolution, and too low or too high a solution can cause printing problems.

Low-resolution STL file

It is essential to understand that a poorly-quality exported file will not print a high-quality product.
A low resolution means that the triangles in the STL file are too large, and the surface of the printed model will not be smooth, and the model will be a little “mosaic.”

STL file too high resolution

If the file resolution is too high, it will be too large, and you will not be able to process it in some cases. It can also have a level of detail too high for a 3D printer not to reproduce when printing a model. Most 3D modeling software prompts you to specify a tolerance when exporting a file.

Tolerance defines as the maximum distance between the original shape and the exported STL mesh.
We recommend setting 0.01mm to get a quality STL file.
Shipping with a tolerance of less than 0.01 mm does not make sense since 3D printers are not yet capable of printing models with such a high level of detail. When exporting with a tolerance greater than 0.01 mm, there is a risk that triangles will be visible in the product.

Mistake 5. Ignore the recommendations for using the software

There are many different 3D modeling software products available. Some of them intend for creating samples for subsequent 3D printing, and others are used mainly by 3D designers, whose models require additional editing before receiving the model for printing. So, in some programs, the wall thickness of the models is set automatically, while in others, it must specify manually.

Even if you’re using starter software designed exclusively for 3D printing, creating a hollow model can be tricky. In the case of software such as Blender, SketchUp, or ZBrush, additional file processing will require.

Materialize Magics offers a complete set of functions – a comprehensive, innovative solution for preparing data for 3D printing for additive manufacturing professionals. This software allows you to edit and create individual component layers based on 3D CAD or 3D scan data.
Magics provides a complete additive manufacturing cycle – from data import in STL and other formats and quality analysis to support the creation, work from the platform, and post-processing.

Conclusion

Everything is not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. But this statement applies primarily to ordinary users who print one-off items for household and sometimes commercial purposes. Don’t worry: 3D modeling is easier than it sounds.

Just make sure you are familiar with the software and the material you are going to print.
If you are experiencing difficulties trying to master 3D modeling, you can always turn to our specialists for help.