How thick should the 3D printed walls be? This is just among the many questions that you may ask when you are considering to have a 3D printing service. You need to know the wall thickness of the 3D printing regardless of the material that is being used.
Calculating the wall thickness in 3D printing is vital as it will determine the physical and structural integrity of the product to be printed. It will also have an impact on the general design and appearance of the product.
Would you like to know how to come up with accurate figures? Read on as we take you through the steps of calculating 3D printing wall thickness.
What is a Wall thickness in 3D Printing?
3D printing wall thickness is the distance between the surface of the model and the opposite sheer surface. The wall thickness can also be defined as the minimum thickness that your 3D model should have at any given time.
It is important to note that each surface of a 3D model has a designated wall thickness. Before you commence with the printing, the 3D printer should have data on the intended wall thickness of your product.
Most problems that are experienced during 3D are traced to the wall thickness. In fact, some models cannot be printed just because of this issue.
Here are the steps for getting a perfect wall thickness for 3D printing:
Step 1: Assign your model the 3D thickness
The very first step entails assigning your 3D model a particular thickness. This is the value that the 3D printer will use as a foundation for creating the model.
While it is possible to design a model without any specific wall thickness, 3D printers need to have a base value. This is why it is essential that assign your model the thickness.
The minimum 3D printing thickness will depend on various factors among them the material, size of the model, and the angle of alignment.
Step 2: Choose minimum wall thickness
Once you have chosen the 3D printing material, you can proceed to choose the minimum wall thickness of the model.
For string materials such as steel, the minimum wall thickness will be very thin. You can make them be slightly bigger to be safer when the model is transformed into an actual product.
The minimum wall thickness will heavily depend on the design and structure of your 3D model. For example, the vertical wall that is made of stainless steel and occupies a total area 100mm2 can have a minimum wall thickness of 1mm
Horizontal steel that covers the same area can have a minimum thickness of 2mm. You should consider the alignment when choosing the minimum wall thickness.
Step 3:Consider the maximum wall thickness
Even as you give full attention to the minimum wall thickness. This will play a critical when you apply the finishing touches on your actual product.
It is always recommended to add an extra thickness of at least 5mm to make the model safer to handle. This is because some extremely thin models can easily disintegrate when not handled with care.
Step 4: Consider the design and shape of the 3D model
Another factor to consider when calculating the thickness of the 3D model is the geometry, design, and shapes.
One of the things that can negatively affect the thickness of the 3D model are large flat surfaces and overhanging layers of the material.
This is why some 3D printing technologies use the support that holds the part that is undergoing the printing.
The design and shapes of the models that you use can end up affecting the thickness in one way or another.
Step 5: Consider the gravity
It is important to consider the force of gravity when calculating the wall thickness of 3D printing.
The force that acts downwards on the material. It can affect the thickness of the material from the horizontal alignment.
How to Increase the Accuracy of Wall Thickness for 3D Printing
While calculating the 3D wall thickness, it is vital that you get accurate values. How can I get such values? Here are some of the most effective tricks that you can use to improve the efficiency of calculating 3D wall thickness:
Verify the strength of 3D material
There is a wide range of materials that can be processed through 3D printing. Each material has its unique properties.
As you render the 3D file, it is important that you assess the strength of the material that will be used for the file.
There are different software applications that you can use for checking the desired strength of the material.
If some sections have the potential of showing weakness, then you should consider making those sections thick. This is because such sections can easily break when they are left thin.
Correct the thickness during the design phase
You don’t have to wait until the design is transformed into a product for you to correct its thickness. You can do so right during the design phase.
With the help of 3D software, you should be able to spot areas that need improvements when it comes to their thickness. Alternatively, you can use a thickening tool to correct the thickness.
The software will do all the relevant corrections with respect to the minimum wall thickness of the 3D model.
Optimize your 3D model
Once you have checked all the thickness dimensions of your model and you are planning to submit the model for the printing, the next step is to optimize the model.
The purpose of 3D file optimization is to get the best from your model. Apart from just the wall thickness, optimization.
A hollowing tool is just one of the optimization tools that you can use. It can create the hole on the material hence reducing the weight while at the same time the cost of 3D printing.
There you have it. Find a perfect 3D printing wall thickness and you will end up with the right product. You may also consider hiring 3D printing designers to help you calculate the thickness.