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3D printing, synonymous with terms like additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping, revolutionizes the way we create parts by building them layer by layer empowering creators to materialize their visions with unparalleled flexibility and speed.

However, As the technology continues to advance, understanding its design principles becomes imperative for efficient and cost-effective production. In the aerospace industry, the demand for lightweight, high-performance parts is ever-present. Consider the example of a custom-designed propeller for an electric propulsion system. Traditionally, manufacturing such a component would involve multiple processes, including machining and assembly. However, with 3D printing, intricate designs can be produced in a single step, reducing lead times and costs significantly.

Discover how Procurabl can help you to harness the full potential of 3D printing for your electric propulsion initiatives today!

The Global Aerospace 3D Printing Market size was valued at USD 1.94 Billion in 2022 and is poised to grow from USD 2.36 Billion in 2023 to USD 11.11 Billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 21.4% during the forecast period (2024-2031).
3D Printed Automotive Parts
3D Printed Automotive Parts [source: 3DNatives]

Design Considerations

Avoid features whenever possible

Features such as negative drafts, overhangs and undercut etc. require support in FDM and SLA. These features can be avoided whenever possible, as they require support which increases the part creation time and also the cost of manufacturing.

If such features are not avoided it may require secondary processes like removal of support, cleaning and sanding of the part.

Features such as negative drafts, overhangs and undercut
Features such as negative drafts, overhangs and undercut

Minimum wall thickness and rigidity.

The minimum wall thickness of a part is generally repressed by the 3D printing method. Very thin walls could make the part very weak, hence a minimum wall thickness has to be maintained to provide enough strength and rigidity to the part. The recommended wall thickness is 1.5 mm. If the walls are not made thick enough, they cannot withstand the stress caused while removing the support material.

Minimum wall thickness of 1.5 mm
Minimum wall thickness of 1.5 mm

Prevent part warpage

Warping occurs due to material shrinkage in 3D printing processes, causing the corners of the print to lift and detach from the build plate. When plastics are printed, they first expand slightly but contract as they cool down. If the material contracts too much, this causes the print to bend up from the build plate.

To avoid such part warpage, use of heated & leveled build plate is a must. Improving bed adhesion with adhesives, printing in an enclosed print chamber is some of the ways to avoid warping.

Warping causes corners of the print to lift and detach from the build plate

Choosing the right material in parts:

When selecting a material for your 3D printing especially SLA needs, one should consider the application, aesthetics, mechanical properties, certifications and cost of the material. It’s also important to ensure that the material is compatible with your 3D printer.

Keep following things in mind when selecting the material:

  1. Process suitability of the material

  2. Mechanical Strengths of the material

  3. Tolerance to be achieved

  4. Surface finish of the part

Choosing right material for 3D Printing

File resolution

In most 3D modeling software, when you try to export a file, you will be asked to define the tolerance for the export. This tolerance is defined as the maximum distance between the original shape and the STL mesh you are exporting. We advise choosing 0.01 mm of tolerance for a good export. Following are some common file types used in 3D printing where STL being one of most widely accepted file types. STL files simply describe a set of triangles that make up a mesh which approximates the continuous surfaces of a 3D model.

Regardless of your project's stage, Procurabl's 3D printing solutions offer a seamless pathway from concept to creation. By Procurabl's expert guidance! Minimize costs and maximize efficiency by optimizing design considerations. Share your design file today and revolutionize your manufacturing process with Procurabl.


Why should you use Additive Manufacturing in Electric vehicles?

Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing has become synonymous with 3D Printing.Additive manufacturing is playing an important role in shaping the future of electric vehicles by enabling lighter, more efficient, customizable and sustainable components while also improving supply chain efficiency and speeding up the development process. You wouldn’t drive a 3D-printed car, but for New Product Development it is one of the initial steps.

3D Printed EV model
3D Printed EV model

Following are some of the key factors of using 3D printing in the EV sector:

  • Lightweighting: Additive Manufacturing can help with the lightweighting of parts, which helps to extend an EV's driving range or create more room for other components which can help to improve operational efficiency or customer satisfaction (i.e., larger batteries).

  • Use of innovative materials: Additive Manufacturing is compatible with strong and lightweight materials such as aluminum which is becoming popular for car and truck frames in recent years. Additive manufacturing also provides options like carbon fiber-reinforced polymers which are lighter and potentially more affordable also being alternative to metal parts.

Procurabl has customers who are investing in carbon fibre and polymers rather than using conventional metals which results in cost reduction of around 10-20%.
  • Customization & personalization: 3D printing makes it affordable to manufacture customized aesthetic items like key fobs and badges, giving customers more choice over the appearance of their vehicles and enhancing customer satisfaction.

  • Improving lead times: Additive Manufacturing helps in reducing design cycle times by cutting production times and costs for prototyping and tooling.

Procurabl has clients across the globe who manufacture limited edition automotive products which are batch manufactured. In these cases, we often suggest additive manufacturing which is not only cost efficient but also reduces lead times by 30%.
  • Adding resilience in conventional supply chains: The EV market has many startups who are seeking alternatives to production technologies in comparison to legacy automotive players.

Procurabl being a smart supply chain organization always seeks an opportunity where the startups or enterprise OEMs want to replace their bulky, conventional machining processes with additive manufacturing. 🤝

Mandar Kadam

Apr 30, 2024


Design Guidelines for 3D Printing

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