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Design Considerations for
Additive Manufacturing
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Brandon Hauser
CEO of Tri Vector Printing
brhauser@trivectorprinting.com
@TheBHauser
Topics Covered
 How FDM Works
 Support Material
 Think Outside the Box
 Layer Resolution and Part Height
 Radius Corners
 Remove Excess Material
 Avoid Unnecessary Supports
 Bridges
 Z Axis Holes and Perimeters
 Part Strength and Layer Direction
 When in Doubt Consult the Manual
How FDM Works
 FDM printers extrude a thermoplastic from a nozzle onto a build platform
 Builds part layer by layer
Support Material
 2 Types
 Dissolvable
 More freedom of design
 Better surface finish on underside of part
 Ability to easily clear supports from internal passages
 Same as part material
 Rough finish on supported areas of part
 Removed by mechanical methods
Dissolvable
Same as material
Think Outside The Box and The
Complexity Paradox
 AM offers a wider range of design possibilities
 Use generative design and topology optimization when possible/practical
 Large degree of design freedom eliminates the need for sub assemblies in
some cases
 Lattices and organic structures
Layer Resolution VS. Part Height
 When possible part height should be divisible by layer resolution (layer thickness) to
ensure accurate part height.
 Printer can only print multiples of the layer height in the z direction so if the part is
not divisible by the layer height the part my end up shorter that designed.
 Example1: Part is 16mm tall and layer height is .1mm than the part is sliced into 160 layers
 Example 2: Part is 56.58mm tall and layer height is .1mm than part would be sliced into
565.8 layers. Not possible.
Radius Corners/Add Fillets
 Radius corners to speed up print times and reduce bulging in corners
 Add fillets to intersections of thin features to add additional strength
Remove Excess Material
 Remove unnecessary material from designs to reduce part cost
 AM is opposite of CNC where you may leave material to reduce machining
costs
Avoid Unnecessary Supports
 Use self sustaining angles when possible
 A self sustaining angle is 45 degrees or more
4560 30 Support
Avoid Unnecessary Supports
 Use self sustaining part geometry for the entire part not just potential
overhangs
Bridges
 Bridges span the cap between two features.
 Keep bridges short and avoid when possible
 Longer bridges will sag
Z Axis Holes and Perimeters
 Expect holes in some cases to be smaller than nominal diameter
 Expect parts overall to be larger than nominal dimensions
Part Strength and Layer Direction
 Part strength is significantly impacted by the layer orientation
 Orient part correctly on the build platform to provide strength in key
directions
When in Doubt Consult the Manual
 Each printer is different so it is best to consult the manufacturer’s design
guides for best results
WWW.TriVectorPrinting.COM
Inspiring Innovation Through Additive Manufacturing Solutions
Design Considerations for Additive Manufacturing FDM

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Design Considerations for Additive Manufacturing FDM

  • 1. Design Considerations for Additive Manufacturing Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  • 2. Brandon Hauser CEO of Tri Vector Printing brhauser@trivectorprinting.com @TheBHauser
  • 3. Topics Covered  How FDM Works  Support Material  Think Outside the Box  Layer Resolution and Part Height  Radius Corners  Remove Excess Material  Avoid Unnecessary Supports  Bridges  Z Axis Holes and Perimeters  Part Strength and Layer Direction  When in Doubt Consult the Manual
  • 4. How FDM Works  FDM printers extrude a thermoplastic from a nozzle onto a build platform  Builds part layer by layer
  • 5. Support Material  2 Types  Dissolvable  More freedom of design  Better surface finish on underside of part  Ability to easily clear supports from internal passages  Same as part material  Rough finish on supported areas of part  Removed by mechanical methods Dissolvable Same as material
  • 6. Think Outside The Box and The Complexity Paradox  AM offers a wider range of design possibilities  Use generative design and topology optimization when possible/practical  Large degree of design freedom eliminates the need for sub assemblies in some cases  Lattices and organic structures
  • 7. Layer Resolution VS. Part Height  When possible part height should be divisible by layer resolution (layer thickness) to ensure accurate part height.  Printer can only print multiples of the layer height in the z direction so if the part is not divisible by the layer height the part my end up shorter that designed.  Example1: Part is 16mm tall and layer height is .1mm than the part is sliced into 160 layers  Example 2: Part is 56.58mm tall and layer height is .1mm than part would be sliced into 565.8 layers. Not possible.
  • 8. Radius Corners/Add Fillets  Radius corners to speed up print times and reduce bulging in corners  Add fillets to intersections of thin features to add additional strength
  • 9. Remove Excess Material  Remove unnecessary material from designs to reduce part cost  AM is opposite of CNC where you may leave material to reduce machining costs
  • 10. Avoid Unnecessary Supports  Use self sustaining angles when possible  A self sustaining angle is 45 degrees or more 4560 30 Support
  • 11. Avoid Unnecessary Supports  Use self sustaining part geometry for the entire part not just potential overhangs
  • 12. Bridges  Bridges span the cap between two features.  Keep bridges short and avoid when possible  Longer bridges will sag
  • 13. Z Axis Holes and Perimeters  Expect holes in some cases to be smaller than nominal diameter  Expect parts overall to be larger than nominal dimensions
  • 14. Part Strength and Layer Direction  Part strength is significantly impacted by the layer orientation  Orient part correctly on the build platform to provide strength in key directions
  • 15. When in Doubt Consult the Manual  Each printer is different so it is best to consult the manufacturer’s design guides for best results
  • 16. WWW.TriVectorPrinting.COM Inspiring Innovation Through Additive Manufacturing Solutions