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3D printing: 3 design rules to respect

3D printing brings great freedom in the creation ... provided you follow certain rules.

You will not be able to modify your files in the same way as other graphic creations, invent impossible angles or constructions that are not solid.

Here are the main guidelines to follow, to always get 3D prints that give relief to your visions.

1. Do not skimp on the thickness

The 3D printing principle is to build a solid form. Not an optical illusion.

If the walls, internal or external, are too thin, they will be too fragile and collapse on themselves. Walls that are too thick will not be desirable either, and the risk of cracking remains.

This thickness will vary depending on your print choices, but also depending on what you indicate in your initial file.

P.S: In general, it is advisable to add a few millimeters to this thickness (called wall thickness in English software) and opt for a thickness greater than 1 mm.

Remember that gravity will play on the ends: the finer they are, the more likely they will break.

2. Use good resolutions

As a graphic designer, you already know that the resolution of an image is important. A good resolution avoids pixelation or an unwelcome grain on an image.

This is especially true for 3D printing. For best results, keep always your design scale.

It's more than a matter of print quality: if going from a small file to a big print will not be very aesthetic, turning a large file into a miniature print will require printers a complicated finishing level to reach.

For practical reasons, it is therefore preferable to remain at the scale of the desired end product. This will not prevent you, eventually, to change its size later... But in reasonable proportions.

3. Think in cuts

The 3D printing principle is to superimpose horizontal layers of plastic to give form to a physical body in relief.

For this reason, the most suitable files for 3D printing are saved in STL, or standard triangle language.

This language translates your design into triangles, more understandable for printers. You will also find:

> the .obj format, complementary to the STL because it takes into account the colors and the textures of the realizations,

> Also the 3.MF format, developed by Microsoft, which supports all the characteristics of files (meshes, colors, textures ...).

However, these successive layers also depend on physical rules: most printers will not be able to print beyond 70 ° angles (without support).

3D printing adapts to many creations ... as long as you do not want to go too fast to devise the designs.

These three basic rules will guide you to achieve results that meet your expectations.

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