3D File Formats
Below is an overview of the most important ones:
For every material that we feature on our website, we provide a minimal wall thickness. The wall thickness is related to the printing machine’s resolution, its process, and the strength of the material itself. We suggest that you stick with our recommendation, as while some items can still be printed with smaller thicknesses, these parts will likely break when removed from the machine or during shipment.
- Zero Thickness
As mentioned above, all walls need to have a thickness. It’s impossible for open surfaces to be printed. Make them solid by adding wall thicknesses to your design or closing the gap between the open surfaces.
- Gaps between Surfaces
Sometimes your model isn’t entirely closed because the different surfaces are well attached to each other. These so-called gaps between the surfaces prevent your model from being watertight. The term water tightness is referred to because your model would “leak” because of these gaps. Close the gap by welding or stitching the surfaces together in your 3D software program or create a surface in between.
- Touching Surfaces
If you have a design that’s built up from different solids or volumes, you need to make sure that these different elements don’t just touch but actually intersect (with 0.01 mm or more). With touching, rather than intersecting surfaces, different solids and volumes won’t be printed together correctly. Below is an example of how to solve the problem of touching surfaces, (on the left is the original design, and on the right, the improved one).
- Self-intersecting Surfaces
Sometimes surfaces self-intersect due to bad sweep construction and other rail operations in your CAD software. The result is that one surface is sticking through another, and it is not possible to tell which is on the outside and which on the inside, causing the wall thickness to become negative. This negative volume can’t be printed.
- Double Surfaces
Sometimes, construction surfaces can end up in your final design. These double, overlapping surfaces can cause problems when your design is being produced.