In 3D printing, wall thickness refers to the distance between one surface of your model and the opposite sheer surface. Wall thickness can either provide you with a strong solid surface or a flexible and expandable surface. A good example of when creating thin surface walls would be ideal is when designing a spiral that needs some suspension properties. This makes your design light and flexible. The opposite effect can be achieved when making your surface walls thicker. This would be ideal for something like a solid spiral-inspired flower vase.
Wall Thickness Variations
Please be aware that variations in wall thicknesses can cause color inconsistencies. This is because it takes thicker sections longer to cool down, causing an uneven color in your model.
There are two ways to prevent this: you can try to minimize the differences in wall thickness as much as possible, or you can order your design in the dyed black finish. With these two options in mind, we find that the better one is to order your object in the dyed black finish as this makes the color look most even.
Hollow out Your Model
If possible, try to hollow out your model. This avoids deformation and discoloration during the printing process. Either hollow out your design and keep the Rubber-like powder trapped inside the model or design a strategically placed hole (two is better) so that the powder can easily be removed after printing. Use a wall thickness of 1 mm for flexible regions and 3 mm for more rigid sections.
Please note that our production team will hollow out models with wall that are more than 20 mm thick by default to prevent deformation and discoloration. The powder will stay trapped inside.
Big Flat Planes Can Cause Warping
Designing a big flat plain the size of an A4 page is a bad idea. In most cases, your model will deform. This process is called "warping". Even if you create support ribs under your plane, it doesn’t solve the problem. It increases the chance of deformation even more. The key here is to avoid big flat planes.
The Right Space between Your (Moving) Parts
When you want to design something like a pearl or chainmail necklace, the spacing between your surfaces is crucial. It will determine the flexibility/bendability of your design. We recommend keeping a minimum space of 1 mm between designed surfaces. The more space you can afford the better.
The more complex your design is, the more complicated it becomes for the powder to exit the empty spaces. Try to visualize how the powder will flow through the spaces of your 3D printed design.
When you design something like chain mail, make sure you provide enough space between the rings in your 3D model. This will allow the powder between the rings to flow away when the model is taken out of the 3D printer.
At least 1 mm of space should be kept between the rings – it can always be more. The space you create between your rings will purely depend on their size. With big rings, you can create a lot of space so you can print more of them in a confined area. With small rings, you’ll have to limit your space to keep a distance between the opposite horizontal or vertical ring in the chain.
Using Surface Textures to Hide Building Layers
Because of the nature of the 3D printing process, a visibly layered surface often remains on your designs. To remove these visible building layers, models are often polished. However, you can also take advantage of the unsmooth surface by applying a surface texture to your model that will disguise the building layers.
Embossed and Engraved Details
For engraved text or surface details, we recommend letters with a minimum line thickness of 1 mm, a depth of 1.5 mm, and an overall height of at least 4.5 mm. Embossed text or surface details should be thick enough that they will not break during production or transport. We recommend letters that have a line thickness of at least 0.8 mm, an overall height of at least 3 mm, and a depth of at least 0.8 mm.
You should design holes to be larger than 1.5 mm in diameter. Smaller holes risk getting blocked with powder during the sintering process.
Surfaces and Edges
When designing, try to avoid large surfaces because imperfections from the building process might become visible. Rubber-like powder is highly elastic, so large flat surfaces are more difficult to print correctly. A great way to avoid the problem is by using a wireframe or applying a texture. Sharp edges also tend to be tricky with Rubber-like powder because of the combination of shrinkage and the elasticity of the sintered powder. We suggest rounding the edges to a radius of 0.5 to 1 mm.