Summary

This page describes some of the most important design guidelines for ABS plastic to follow in order to create successful 3D printed objects.

Here’s a summary, please read this page carefully to understand all guidelines:

  • Maximum object size (bounding box): 230 x 150 x 150mm
  • Minimum object size: 10 x 10 x 10mm
  • Minimum wall thickness: 1.0mm
  • Minimum detail: 0.5mm for embossed, 0.3 for engraved

Max bounding box

230 x 150 x 150mm
For us to be able to make a product, each of its pieces must fit within these dimensions.
To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure the bounding box fits within our maximum limit. If it does not, you can try scaling it down or removing unnecessary features to reduce the bounding box.

Min bounding box

10 x 10 x 10mm
For us to be able to make a product, each of its pieces must be bigger than these dimensions.
To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure the bounding box of your product is larger than our minimum. If it is not, you can try scaling it up, thickening, combining, or enlarging parts and features.

Minimum wall thickness

3d-print-minimal-wall-thickness21mm
Wall thickness refers to the distance between one surface of your model and the opposite sheer surface.3d-print-minimal-wall-thickness

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure the walls in your product are thicker than the minimum requirement. If they are not, try making them thicker.

Minimum detail

3d-print-minimal-detail2.5mm wide and 0.5mm high
A detail is a feature whose length is less than twice its width. Embossed details stick out from a surface.
To ensure details come out clearly, make them larger than the indicated minimum. We can refrain from printing products with details smaller than the minimum, since the final product will not be true to your design. If your product has details smaller than the minimum, try making them larger or removing them.

Min engraved detail

3d-print-min-engraved-detail1mm wide and 0.3mm high
A detail is a feature whose length is less than twice its width. Engraved or debossed details go into a surface.
To ensure details come out clearly, make them larger than the indicated minimum. We may refrain from printing products with details smaller than the minimum, since the final product will not be true to your design. If your product has details smaller than the minimum, try making them larger or removing them.

Clearance

3d-print-clearance0.3mm clearance
Clearance is the space between any two parts, walls or wires.
ABS Plastic is printed with FDM technology with a support material, which is then broken off by hand and with a scalpel. When the clearance between parts or features is too small, it becomes impossible to successfully clean out the support material.
To ensure the successful creation of your product, make the clearance between parts, walls, and wires greater than the indicated minimum. If your clearance is too small, try making the gap bigger, or consider fusing the parts or features if their independence is unnecessary.

Interlocking and enclosed parts?

ABS Plastic is printed in acrylic plastic with a ABS support material, which is then broken off by hand and with a scalpel. This enables interlocking parts, as long as the clearance is greater than the indicated minimum.

Space between moving parts

3d-print-space-between-moving-parts

When you want to design something like a pearl or chainmail necklace, the spacing between your surfaces is crucial. Spacing will determine the flexibility/bendability of your design. We advise you to keep a minimum space of 0.4 mm between designed surfaces. The more space you can afford the better.
In the example of a necklace, 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 will have to limit your space to keep a distance between the opposite horizontal or vertical ring in the chain

Multiple parts per model file?

It is possible to upload an STL file containing multiple parts. However, when different colors apply per object, you need to upload the parts one by one. Also, when different object require different print settings (for example filling-grade or print-resolution) also make sure to upload them separate.

Dimensional Accuracy

3d-print-accuracy

± 0.1% (with a lower limit of ± 0.2 mm)
FDM is one of the plastic 3D Printing processes with the highest dimensional accuracy. Dimensional accuracy doesn’t relate to the detail of your model but to the deviation from the nominal size. The general tolerance of the material we offer is 0.1% with a minimum of ± 0.2mm

Support

3d-print-support

FDM takes place on a building platform. Since models will be “built in the air”, they must be attached to the supporting platform to prevent them from collapsing. This attachment is referred to as the “support” and is required for any model built using this technology. In addition to keeping the model in place, it also enables the construction of elements that stick out. After the building process is complete, the support is manually removed. Please note that your model may display visible evidence of the removed support structures.

External support vs Internal support

To keep your model in place and prevent it from collapsing while being printed, models that have sections narrower than 45° must be supported.

The 45° rule also applies to the interior of your model. Any model with an interior section below 45° must be supported.
In the example below both internal and external support is needed to print the object successfully.3d-print-support2

Hard to print objects

Some tips & tricks and rules of thumb:

  • Objects that have small parts in combination with (lots of) support will be hard to print. The support material will have to be removed after the printing, which is likely to lead to small parts breaking off. Prevent this by making the smaller parts bigger or redesigning so there is no (or less) support material needed.

3d-printed-hard-object 3d-printed-hard-object-support

Hard to print object with small parts and lots of support

 

  • Weak parts should be avoided. Weak parts are small parts that connect different parts of the object. The object has a big chance of breaking on these weak parts. Here also, try to avoide using these small parts, or at least re-design to make them bigger/more stronger.
    3d-print-hard-objects
Design Guidelines for ABS Plastic was last modified: October 19th, 2015 by CoenLauwerijssen