There are several factors that affect the quality of a prototype, such as process settings, features and feature orientation. Graduate student research conducted at the University of New Haven has been performed to create an initial uPrint® 3D Design Guideline that UNH students may use when designing and building engineered parts and systems on the 3D printer. This design guideline will be updated on a continual basis as new strategies for part design are discovered.
In order to create more accurate prototypes, students need to take into consideration the following:
The plastic bead that the machine deposits onto the build tray does not lie as a perfect cylinder. The bead actually lies flat with a layer width of 0.02” and a layer depth of 0.01”. See figure below.
For walls built in the Z-axis, since the minimal layer width is 0.02”, wall thicknesses can only be even increments of this layer width. For instance, you would need to change your specification from 0.05” thickness to 0.06” or 0.04” thickness for a wall built in the z- axis. An alternative would be to rotate the wall into the X-Y plane, and utilize the 0.01” layer thickness in order to produce the 0.05” wall.
Solid fill does not always lead to superior quality, and dimensional accuracy using solid fill depends upon the feature being produced due to shrinkage.
Use of additional support material does not always insure greater accuracy of the part. However, features such as cuts, holes, and angular cuts are affected by the type of support material. For instance, for a through-hole feature, the use of surround support will lead to greater dimensional accuracy.
For more information about design guidelines, see the attached guideline document:
Estimate My Part Cost
The cost of a prototype depends on the material usage (model material and support material) and the usage of a building tray.
The approximate cost of the model and support material is $ 4.7 / in.3. The approximate cost of the building tray is $0.03 /in.2
Use the attached EXCEL spreadsheet to estimate your part cost: