3D Modeling for FDM 3D Printing

Friday, October 16, 2020

Support Material

Not every 3D design is optimized for FDM 3D printing. This technique uses support material to be able to print floating surfaces. Some models will sag and that will result in a coarser surface.

This is caused by the product and support material being separated from each other. Which means that certain surfaces and shapes may sag slightly. It usually only happens with shapes such as holes, spheres and overhangs.

FDM support material
FDM support material
FDM support material

Overhanging Surfaces

A common problem is that certain parts of a 3D model are not 3D printable if these parts are modeled very tiny. Our FDM machines may not be able to read these sections. Or the model might become fragile if we do print these models.

A solution could be to model the overhangs at an angle of maximum 55°C. This will make sure an improved surface is created. If you choose to use a higher angle, the 3D printed material will sag, which can feel rough. The surface under this support is also somewhat rougher than the normal surface without support material.

FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces
FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces
FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces
FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces
FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces
FDM 3D printing overhanging surfaces

The coarser surfaces can be sanded with different grades of sandpaper. It is recommended to start with a coarser sandpaper, then finish the surface with a finer sandpaper. It is also possible to coat and paint the entire 3D print to get the best surface quality.

FDM finishing overhanging surfaces
FDM finishing overhanging surfaces
FDM finishing overhanging surfaces

3D Modeling Guidelines

At Formalize we always want to provide the best quality. Which is why we have introduced design guidelines per material. To guide every order through our processes as smoothly as possible. The guidelines can be found on our materials page.

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