3D metal printing can help you to create “impossible” designs that are lightweight, strong, and ideal for demanding applications in aerospace, automotive, medical and more.
But to get the most from metal 3D printing technology it’s critical that you adhere to certain engineering and design rules appropriate for it. You can also get The Best 3D Product from professional 3D model creators.
Design Tip 1 – Design for Metal 3D Printing
Rule number one is that your part should be optimized for additive manufacturing from the beginning. Trying to adapt a design originally intended for conventional manufacturing, such as CNC machining, pressure dies casting or plastic injection molding will only bring frustration and failure.
Design Tip 2 – Optimize Your Design For the Machine
Rule number two is that, whenever possible, know what type of machine you will be using prior to beginning your CAD design. There are many different types of machines and technologies for metal printing.
No design rules will apply equally to all machines. At Star, we use a Renishaw AM250 powder bed printer, so throughout this article, our design tips are based on that machine.
You can print in a range of materials but at Star, we specialize in stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. Throughout this article, we refer to the use of 316L stainless steel.
Design Tip 3 – Use an Appropriate Wall Thickness
Our AM250 metal 3D printer uses metal powder to achieve a printing resolution of 50 microns. However, this does not mean that all features can or should be designed to such close tolerances. There are lower limits to how small features can be before they lose an acceptable degree of fidelity.