Common errors when you are designing a 3D file

The 3D world is new for you, or you have to work with 3D to reduce costs and increase your business profits, or do you simply love it? But when you have designed and sent your file to some company to print it, Have they told you that your file had some errors? It is perfectly normal.
This article is going to help you in your 3D design. Say goodbye to those sentences: “Sorry, you have to fix it”, or “it´s not possible to print it”, or “your file has errors”. Rapidsol will help you to improve your knowledge about 3D design, and the most important thing is we will learn together by making mistakes, in order to improve our services, we can also make mistakes inevitably.

The mistakes can make us stronger, but let's be better following some rules

1st rule: Follow the rules

To design well, it is necessary to follow the rules, because each technology or machine has specific rules. Here we will explain you the general rules, then you can understand better some important specifications which never could be forgotten when you are designing.  

2nd rule:  All the faces have to be closed
All the faces have to be closed, because if your file has any open faces when the machine is printing, the layers can´t be recognized if they are inside or outside of the object. So, what can happen, are you wondering? Just your sample will not have any form. Your file might be solid, widely called “watertight” or “manifold” which simply means the model is a complete enclosure. There is another way to define solid: every edge in your model must be bordered by exactly two faces. If you have more than two faces in your model, the extra faces need to be deleted. 

The most common errors are:
  • Internal faces;
  • Stray edges;
  • Holes; 
  •  Delete all internal faces or stray edges;
  • Trace an edge to fill the holes; 
 3rd rule: Your parts have to keep minimum wall thickness

In 3D print industry we usually call this rule as the fundamental key to make a 3D part or prototype. In one hand, your walls need to be strong enough to work in real life, but in another hand, they need to be minimized to reduce material costs. Confused? We understand. At the beginning, this concept can seem complicated so look at the images:

Imagine if your sample does not have a minimum wall thickness of material, it will die before you see it. Without a minimum wall thickness, your sample will be so weak that it will be broken in your hands in a few seconds, and sometimes inside the machine. For example, in our case, our materials and technologies may require minimum wall thickness of 1mm. 

4th rule: Pay attention to the scales

Sometimes you are using an American design program, and their scales are different from European scales as you know. But, a lot of people do not pay attention for that. So when we print and send the part to your office or factory, you will notice that your part does not have the size you wanted. In fact, sometimes it is necessary to cut and divide the parts for printing just because you did not pay attention to the format of the scales. 

 5th rule. The more material your model has, the more it costs

In 3D print industry we calculate the budget based on the amount of material per cm³. To reduce costs, you can minimize your wall thickness, and then you will reduce volume of your model. You can also create a pattern of hole in the part, it can be another way to reduce material and your quote. 

 6th rule: Know more about the print materials specifications and limitations

It is always better if you are informed about the technologies and materials that you want to print. Don't forget what we have written at the beginning of the article: each technology or machine has specific rules. So, if know very well each one of them is better for you.

Last rule: Be careful when you exporting your STL file

This is our last advice for you. First of all, pay attention when you are exporting your file, because there are different levels of quality. The higher quality your file has, the better appearance it will have. Export your STL with different parts, we will explain why. Imagine if your part has more than one piece, but you have merged everything at the same file. When you send it to us we are going to print your STL as just one piece, so if your prototype is functional, it will not be as you idealized. Don´t forget another thing: export the file in binary code and we would prefer it in millimeters.

Rapidsol wishes you a good job! 

  • Rapidsol
  • 27/08/2015


Honorio Rodrigues 08/09/2015 10:45

About the exporting in STL, i have exported from Solidworks in stl at full quality mesh, and after analysis the say that the mesh is not totally "close". I use Netfabb to check and correct. What sugetions or alternatives you propose?

Rapidsol 15/10/2015 12:39

Hi Honorio, Thank you so much for your comment. I hope to be useful. Answering to your question, you can also try with Magics, but it's not a free software, you have to pay it, but it's quite better than Netfabb.

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