How To Create Designs For 3D Printing?

There’s a common misconception that 3D printing allows anyone to effortlessly create and print parts.

In reality, achieving successful results often requires prior experience or a willingness to learn the intricacies of the process.

Whether you’re new to 3D printing or seeking to enhance your skills, this blog breaks down essential techniques to help you create designs that translate seamlessly from concept to physical object.

Let’s begin and explore how you can unlock the full potential of 3D printing!

Key Takeaways

In this blog, you will:

  • Discover how to transform your ideas into tangible objects with the power of 3D printing.
  • Learn essential techniques to enhance your 3D printing skills and create flawless designs from start to finish.
  • Gain insights into overcoming common challenges and optimizing your prints for success.
  • Explore expert advice on selecting materials, mastering CAD software, and optimizing print settings.

1. Understand Your 3D Printing Technology

Before designing, it’s crucial to know the capabilities and limitations of your specific 3D printer. This includes understanding the types of materials it can use, its build volume (maximum size of prints), and any special features or requirements it may have.

2. Master CAD and Slicing Software

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is the primary tool for creating detailed 3D models of your designs. It allows you to intricately define every aspect of your object, from dimensions to specific geometries. Becoming proficient in these tools is essential for translating your 3D printing design ideas into printable objects.

3. Select Appropriate Materials for 3D Printing Designs

Different 3D printing materials have varying properties, such as strength, flexibility, heat resistance, and aesthetic qualities. Choose materials that best suit your design’s functional and visual requirements.

4. Optimise Print Surface and Size

Understanding the ideal print bed surface and size for your printer helps ensure proper print adhesion and prevent issues like warping or detachment during printing. Factors such as print bed material and levelling are critical for successful prints.

5. Design for Overhangs to Minimize Support

Overhangs (parts of your design that extend horizontally without support underneath) can cause issues during printing. Design with overhang angles in mind to minimise the need for support structures, which can be difficult to remove and may affect surface finish.

6. Establish Minimum Feature Detail and Wall Thickness

Consider your printer’s capabilities when setting minimum feature sizes (such as small holes or details) and wall thicknesses (the minimum thickness of solid parts). This ensures that these features can be accurately reproduced and that the printed object is structurally sound.

7. Manage File Resolution and Units

Use appropriate file resolution (detail level) and units (millimetres or inches) in your CAD software to maintain accuracy throughout the design and printing process. Incorrect settings can lead to scaling issues and inaccuracies in the final print.

8. Apply Chamfers and Radius for Smoother Surfaces

Adding chamfers (angled edges) and rounding corners (radius) to your design helps improve the aesthetics and durability of printed parts. Sharp edges are more prone to lifting or breaking, especially with certain materials.

9. Orientate Holes Vertically for Printing

When designing holes (for screws or other fittings), orient them vertically in your model rather than horizontally. This ensures that the holes are printed with greater accuracy and maintain their circular shape.

10. Create Functional Threaded Holes

Design threaded holes with the appropriate dimensions and tolerances to accommodate screws or bolts. Ensure that the threads are correctly modelled to achieve effective assembly.

11. Simplify Complex Parts for Printing

Simplifying complex parts by reducing unnecessary details or combining separate components into single prints can improve print reliability and reduce assembly time.

12. Adjust Infill Complexity and Percentage

Infill is the internal structure of a 3D-printed object. Adjust the infill pattern (such as honeycomb or grid) and infill percentage (the amount of interior fill material) based on the desired strength, weight, and material usage of your print.

13. Consider Tolerances for Assembly and Fit

Incorporate appropriate tolerances (clearances between parts) into your designs to ensure that printed parts fit together correctly during assembly. Tolerances varies depending on the material used and the specific requirements of your design.

You can also explore our other captivating blog post, “Things To Know About 3d Printing”.


Creating designs for 3D printing requires creativity, technical knowledge, and practical considerations. Mastering CAD software, understanding your printer’s capabilities, choosing the right materials, and optimising your designs will help you create high-quality 3D prints that meet your needs.

Start experimenting with these 3D printing design guidelines to become a skilled designer.

Explore our offerings and begin your journey today for quality 3D printing services in Brisbane and Adelaide! Happy printing!

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