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Designing for FDM Printing


Have questions and/or pointers on how to design for FDM printers? Post them here!


Tip: For standard materials like ABS and PLA, don’t be afraid to exaggerate on the details. Make your shallowest detail 1 mm deep/high.


In zBrush, the clay polish tool can be a quick way to determine how much detail you will loose on FDM printers and allow one to determine if details should be deeper/higher.


(from a Printers point of view, not a Designer), try to design for not having to use support material.
Keep in mind the geometric shape, of the letters Y - H - T.
Y - sloping angles,(great) are easy to produce.
H - bridging, (good) relatively easy, as long as the vertical parts are not too far part.
T - overhangs, (bad) will require support material, to prevent drooping.

Simplify3D slicing software has excellent manual support placement, making everything easy to reproduce. So these suggestions are to help folks that can’t afford to purchase that particular software program.
(credit to designer: Joe Larson, Blender user)