3D printing can be used for all types of products, but there are nuances that will help you obtain the best part. One of those nuances is part positioning. Here, Randle Wood gives an example of what works and what doesn’t in 3D printing part positioning.
Part 1: Failure
As you will read, the obvious elephant in the room is … why didn’t they just purchase the replacement part online for less than $20.00?
What follows is a simple or fundamental lesson in part positioning within a 3D Printer with ABS material (FORTUS 250mc by Stratasys). This isn’t a lesson in purchasing, costing, or time management, all of which would be inefficient in this workflow.
- Who cares: Designers, CAD users, R&D.
- When you care: From the beginning design phase. Design and part creation should always consider the manufacturing possibilities.
- Why do you care: 3D part positioning is important for strength (see failed replacement part, above) and optimum tray layout.
More information can be found in the program GrabCAD PRINT: help> help center> search-orientation and rotation.
How did we get here?
A hook on our beloved office Dyson vacuum had broken, so why not print a simple replacement?
Basically I added a curved flange with holes for self-tapping screws to Dyson’s design. I didn’t consider any of the “cares” in the list above. I just wanted to get it done.
The first iteration looked great and installed with ease (without disassembly, which was part of the criterion) and should have been a done deal … though not too long after “the upgrade” I received a report of part failure.
After looking at the part and how it failed along the striation of the ABS print layers, I was advised that it was obvious I printed it in the weakest possible position in the printer. The only part position consideration I had made was based on the use of support material.
Closer examination of the part itself lead me to increase its thickness, add ridges, and enlarge the screw holes.
I repositioned it on the printer.
The successful result is shown below. As of this document’s release the part is still in service.
Randle Wood is a Technical Support & New Products Specialist and has been with GoEngineer since 2009. He has a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design and has been a SOLIDWORKS user since before the turn of the century.