nCircle Tech | Blog | 5 Vital Additive Manufacturing Checks To be built in Your CAD Package
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Introduction:

FDM is one of the most affordable ways to 3D print objects for your prototyping. A flexible and time-saving approach to print designs is indeed essential for service industries and equipment manufacturers, and FDM offers an excellent solution. As not all 3D designs can be 3D printed, we need to make sure that there are no challenges while 3D printing those designs. So, it is very important to build vital checks in your CAD package to allow designers to make their designs printable worthy. Various “CAD Software” such as  Solid Edge, Inventor, Solidworks are used to design digital products for the FDM printing.  For the 3D printing users of FDM, we have developed a customized plugin to help you solve the analytic problem of specific digital prints.  So if you want to create a perfect 3D print and remain with fewer post-production layouts, check out these vital design checks that you need to consider before starting to print your design. 

Vital checks to be built in your CAD software to make it useful for 3D printing

  • How to resolve Issues with non-watertight design in your CAD software 

One of the first things to consider while drawing your digital 3D print design is to make it watertight. A non-watertight design can ruin the whole layout of design because it is simply not printable.  Printing a non-watertight design can change the actual dimensions of your wall thickness, or you may end up with an overhanging structure. So the best thing to do is to make sure your model is sealed from all surfaces.  To confirm your digital design, whether it is made fully watertight or not, Parasolid helps you with various functions to check the entity of your design. 

  • How to resolve the issue of Overhang in your CAD design software

The image showing the angle at which an ideal overhang should be created. 

Building a model that includes an overhang is one of the most complicated FDM situations as overhangs higher than 45-degree angles require support, depending on the material. When the design is angled up to 45 degrees, there are fewer chances of the newly printed material getting sagged.  The length of an overhang also matters, and large overhangs will definitely require support. 

Tip: Create a small overhang in your design. Look after the shape of your protrusion and actual geometry to avoid complex angles. This way, you can avoid getting trapped in a complicated situation and also save a lot of time on the way to completion of the design.  

  • How to add vital check for correct Wall Thickness for 3D printing while designing in CAD software: 

Wall thickness is one of the critical things to consider while 3D printing your project. Because too thin walls and excessively thick walls can not be produced beyond the diameter of the nozzle. So, the required wall thickness is measured to almost twice the size of the width of the nozzle.  Make your wall thicker, but remember, excessive thicker walls may lead your structure to shape away from its original design and bend the walls. However, if your design needs a dense wall, you can draw cross-fields internal support instead of solid walls to save time and material in the production.   While making the digital print in CAD Software, we take help from two algorithms to achieve perfection while determining the wall thickness. First is the rolling ball algorithm and another is the ray casting algorithm. Both the algorithms can help you to find the thickness of the wall, whereas the ray casting method is more helpful as we have implemented it in Parasolid.

  • How to Create optimum Threads in your CAD design for proper 3D printing  – 

Small threads like screws are hard to produce, especially if they are tiny and require extreme thoroughness in the process.

The diameter of a screw thread in CAD Software.

Source: Wikipedia

Ideal 3D print image of thread that will be created according to CAD Software standards.

Image source: Wikipedia

Also, screws in CAD Software are produced in a different way than other 3D printing technologies. For the designers of CAD Software, we have implemented various algorithms to create perfect nuts and bolts in the production process. We create a surface and boolean with the help of the cylinder algorithm to create unique threads in the FDM process. 

Images showing how part orientation can be done to create perfect support. 

Another thing you can do is to reorient your design using our 3D printing software.. The reoriented design of your model will solve the problem of printing rough surfaces and will also help you to decide the actual amount of support you will require for your pattern.

Void Removals: 

Voids are another barrier in FDM 3D printing. Voids can cause problems while 3D printing like a model will collapse while printing, or the model won’t get printed at all.  One thing you can do to avoid voids in the design is by using the automatic void removal feature in CAD Software. Voids can be removed even in the inner side of the design, and CAD Software void removal provides an accurate solution. 

For Further Customization: Apart from overhangs, wall thickness, and support structures, there are other critical things that can be customized for further development in CAD Software. Check out the future scope of vital additive checks for 3D printing. 

  • Printing Holes

Printing holes in FDM has always been a process that seeks your attention producing smaller holes than its original size. For instance, if the dimension of your hole in the digital print is sized as 5mm, the typical hole that will come out in physical print will be somewhat around 4.8mm.  This kind of failure occurs in printing both horizontal and vertical holes. Because the horizontal holes are not that ideally shaped, and vertical holes get shorter due to the pressure of the nozzle on the edge beside the shaft.  However, the slip of holes implies that the tinier the holes are designed, the more problems regarding holes will come out in the model.  

Note: The designing software must have the feature to help designers to add extra tolerance in the model into holes for 3D printing.

  • Making Bridges

When some designs require bridges, printing them can be challenging. The most common issue with creating bridges in FDM is that as you create a longer bridge, the bottom layer starts sagging due to no support base. It’s in the nature of FDM that when you build layers upon two anchor points with no support in the middle, the underlayer gets sagged except you’re working on a design less than 5mm.  If your bridge is more extensive than 5mm, you’ll have to build support, and even that will leave with marks after extraction. 

Note: The designing software must have the feature to help designers to split the model into parts properly for 3D printing. These parts can be assembled post-3D printing. 

  • How To Print More Complex Models

Complex models can be achieved with perfect finishing. However, they demand more time and a manifold of support to complete them. Large models are challenging to be fitted in the space of your printer, and elaborate designs that require support are complicated to remove them afterward.  So the only solution to successfully print an intricate design is splitting it into parts. It will also help when it comes to printing big models. However, the most important thing to consider before splitting up your project is to make sure that it will cope up with the process of 3D printing.  In the end, you can stick all the pieces to achieve your design.  

  • How To Create Perfect Support For Overhangs and Bridges

Support is an essential thing to build along with your design if it contains steep overhangs and large bridges. We knew that overhangs more significant than 45 degrees require support. But an issue with it is that they demand additional time and cost in printing, and also some supports are not easy to remove when added in more complicated designs.  They leave apparent marks after removal, and it is the main hindrance that might stop you from creating them. But there’s a solution. When you’re creating such an intricate design above 45-degree, try to provide as much independent support as you can so that you can save time later in post-production while removing them.

Conclusion:

As FDM is the cost-effective 3D printing technology, it is of utmost importance to ensure your CAD package has vital checks built in to support designers for 3D printing. nCircle expertise in building such functionalities in your CAD software. Please contact us to understand more

nCircle Tech (inCorporated in 2012) empowers passionate innovators to create impactful 3D visualization software for desktop, mobile and cloud. Our domain expertise in CAD customization driving automation with the ability to integrate advanced technologies like AI/ML and VR/AR; empowers our clients to reduce time to market and meet business goals. nCircle has a proven track record of technology consulting and advisory services for the AEC and Manufacturing industry across the globe. Our team of dedicated engineers, partner ecosystem and industry veterans are on a mission to redefine how you design and visualize.

For more information, please reach out to our team at info@ncircletech.com. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have on 3D printing and design automation.

nCircle Tech.

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