10 most common 3D printing design issues and how to avoid them

3D printing has revolutionized the way we produce objects 

3d print opened up a world of possibilities for designers and manufacturers. 

However, as with any new technology, there are challenges that come with it, particularly when it comes to 3D printing design. Here are ten of the most common 3D printing design issues and tips on how to avoid them:

  • Wall thickness: One of the most common problems with 3D printing is that the walls of the model can be too thin and brittle, leading to warping or even breakage. To avoid this, make sure that the walls of your model are at least 2mm thick, and increase the thickness if necessary to ensure structural stability. Use the 3D Viewer measurement and section tools to make sure your wall thickness is thick enough.
  • Overhangs: Overhangs, or areas that extend out from the main body of the model without any support, can cause problems during printing and result in poor quality. To avoid this, try to design your model with minimal overhangs or incorporate support structures where necessary. Rotate your 3D model with the 3D Viewer to look for overhangs. Identifies and highlight critical areas creating comments and markups. 
  • Clearance: It is important to ensure that the model has adequate clearance to allow for easy removal from the build platform and to prevent parts from touching or fusing together during printing. Make sure to check the printer’s specifications for the minimum recommended clearance and adjust your design accordingly. Use the 3D Viewer measurement tool to measure the clearance between points.
  • Support structure: If your model has any complex or delicate features, a support structure may be necessary to ensure that they print correctly. Make sure to design the support structure carefully and ensure that it can be easily removed after printing. Identifies and highlight where more support is needed by adding comments and markups.
  • File format and resolution: It is important to use a high-quality STL file that is suitable for the 3D printing process being used. Make sure to check the printer’s specifications for the recommended file format and resolution and adjust your design accordingly.
  • Material compatibility: Make sure to choose a material that is compatible with the 3D printer and the application for which the product will be used. Check the printer’s specifications and test the material before starting the printing process.
  • Printing orientation: The orientation of the model on the build platform can affect its quality and dimensional accuracy, so it’s important to choose the best orientation for each part. Consider factors such as overhangs, supports, and the flow of the material to determine the optimal printing orientation. 
  • Bridging: Bridging, or the creation of a solid connection between two points, can be challenging in 3D printing. To avoid bridging problems, make sure to choose a suitable material and adjust the printing parameters accordingly. Use the 3D Viewer measurement tools to measure bridges in the design and evaluate their feasibility.
  • Layer adhesion: Layer adhesion, or the bond between successive layers of material, is critical to the success of a 3D print. To ensure good layer adhesion, make sure to use a build surface that is compatible with the material and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for bed preparation.
  • Print quality: To ensure high-quality prints, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for printing parameters and to test the settings on a small scale before starting a large print. Check the print regularly to monitor its progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Most files for 3D printing are STL files, or Stereolithography files, and include information about a 3D model’s surface geometry, including its vertices, edges, and normal vectors. 

Viewing and inspecting a STL file with 3DVieweronline requires only a few simple steps:

Steps to view a STL file with 3DViewer online

  • Log in (or create a free account) and upload the STL file you want to visualize
  • Open the STL file (3DVieweronline doesn’t require any software, it runs directly on your browser)
  • Perform all the actions that you would normally do to inspect a STL file such as rotate, zoom in/out, measure, section and more

3DVieweronline provides many collaboration features so that 3D designers and 3D printing manufacturers can review STL files together to identify possible issues before the manufacturing process, saving time and money. Reviewing a STL file with the 3D Viewer is very simple: 

  • Click on the link icon to share the URL of your STL file with who you want
  • Click on the comment icon to load the STL file with the collaboration tools enabled. This will allow you and anybody else collaborating to review the STL file by creating comments and markups

3DVieweronline can be used on many different industry sectors, more than 17 as today, without the need of being a skilled engineer and without a 3D software knowledge. Powered by WebGL, the 3D Viewer runs smoothly on any device, laptop, tablet or mobile, with a modern browser.

Register a free 3DVieweronline account today