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Design for 3D Printing Toolkit

Get in-depth design advice to optimize 3D-printed parts. Designing with additive manufacturing in mind can accelerate production time and reduce overall cost.

3DP Design Review

The Protolabs Design Review consists of a 30-min virtual meeting with one of our 3D Printing Applications Engineers to discuss any questions you have with the DFM feedback or other specific technical questions about your quote or part.

 

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Optimizing Part Design
for 3D Printing

There are many design elements involved in creating plastic or metal parts for 3D printing—design for printability is a key one. At Protolabs, we provide automated design analysis on CAD models that highlights features in your part design that can be adjusted for manufacturability. To keep design advisories at a minimum and optimize part design, we created this helpful kit of 3D printing resources.

3D Printing guide

A Definitive Guide to 3D Printing

Our comprehensive guide navigates the entire additive manufacturing process—from prototyping to production. Explore technologies, part design, materials, and tips for additive manufacturing.

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Designing for 3D Printing Processes


Stereolithography

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Selective Laser Sintering

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Multi Jet Fusion

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Carbon DLS

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PolyJet

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Silicone 3D Printing

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Metal 3D Printing

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Navigating Critical 3D Printing Advisories


  High Resolution* Normal Resolution*    Process   
Aluminum AlSi10Mg 0.015 in. (0.381mm) 0.030 in. (0.762mm)

DMLS

X Line (Aluminum AlSi10Mg) N/A 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Cobalt Chrome 0.006 in. (0.152mm) 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 0.006 in. (0.152mm) 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 (X Line) N/A 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 17-4PH 0.006 in. (0.152mm) 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 316L 0.006 in. (0.152mm) 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

Titanium Ti-6Al-4V 0.006 in. (0.152mm) 0.015 in. (0.381mm)

DMLS

ABS-Like Black 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Gray 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Translucent/Clear 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

Abs-Like White 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

Ceramic-Like (Advanced High Temp) 0.012 in. (0.305mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

Metal Plated Ceramic-Like (PerFORM) 0.02 in. (0.508mm)

0.02 in. (0.508mm)

SLA

MicroFine™ Green 0.003 in. (0.0762mm)**

N/A

SLA

MicroFine™ Gray 0.003 in. (0.0762mm)**

N/A

SLA

PC-Like Translucent (Advance High Temp) 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

PC-Like Translucent Clear (Accura 60) 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

PP-Like Translucent White (Somos 9120) 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

0.012 in. (0.305mm)

SLA

Carbon ABS-Like Black Rigid Polyurethane (RPU 70) N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

Carbon

Carbon PP-Like Black Flexible Polyurethane (FPU 50) N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

Carbon

True Silicone Black N/A 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

SLA

True Silicone White N/A 0.006 in. (0.152mm)

SLA

PA 11 Black N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PA 12 25% Mineral Filled N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PA 12 White N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PP Natural N/A 0.04 in. (1.016mm)

SLS

TPU 70-A White N/A 0.04 in. (1.016mm)

SLS

PA 12 40% Glass Filled N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

MJF

PA 12 40% Glass-Filled Black N/A 0.02 in. (0.508mm)

MJF

PA 12 Black N/A 0.02 in. (0.508mm)

MJF

Digital Black N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital Clear/Translucent N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital Overmold N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital White N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

  *Thinner walls can be achieved for certain features in stereolithography. If features are critical, please discuss these with an Applications Engineer. **Micro resolution accuracy is available through SLA with MicroFine™ Green and Gray. While maximum part size is 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in. (127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm), parts smaller than 1 in. x 1 in. x 1 in. (25.4mm x 25.4mm x 25.4mm) are ideal. Keep in mind that small gap minimum is 0.015 in. (0.381mm) and wall thickness minimum is 0.003 in. (0.076mm).

  High Resolution Normal Resolution   Process   
Aluminum AlSi10Mg 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

X Line (Aluminum AlSi10Mg) N/A 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Cobalt Chrome 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 (X Line) N/A 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 17-4PH 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 316L 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

Titanium Ti-6Al-4V 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

DMLS

ABS-Like Black 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Gray 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Translucent/Clear 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

Abs-Like White 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

Ceramic-Like (Advanced High Temp) 0.03 in. (0.762mm) 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLA

Metal Plated Ceramic-Like (PerFORM) 0.03 in. (0.762mm) 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLA

MicroFine™ Green 0.015 in. (0.381mm)** N/A

SLA

MicroFine™ Gray 0.015 in. (0.381mm)** N/A

SLA

PC-Like Translucent (Advance High Temp) 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

PC-Like Translucent Clear (Accura 60) 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

PP-Like Translucent White (Somos 9120) 0.02 in. (0.508mm) 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

Carbon ABS-Like Black Rigid Polyurethane (RPU 70) N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

Carbon

Carbon PP-Like Black Flexible Polyurethane (FPU 50) N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

Carbon

True Silicone Black N/A 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

True Silicone White N/A 0.025 in. (0.635mm)

SLA

PA 11 Black N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PA 12 25% Mineral Filled N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PA 12 White N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PP Natural N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

TPU 70-A White N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

SLS

PA 12 40% Glass Filled N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

MJF

PA 12 40% Glass-Filled Black N/A 0.02 in. (0.508mm)

MJF

PA 12 Black N/A 0.02 in. (0.508mm)

MJF

Digital Black N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital Clear/Translucent N/A 0.03 in.(0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital Overmold N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

Digital White N/A 0.03 in. (0.762mm)

PolyJet

  **Micro resolution accuracy is available through SLA with MicroFine™ Green and Gray. While maximum part size is 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in. (127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm), parts smaller than 1 in. x 1 in. x 1 in. (25.4mm x 25.4mm x 25.4mm) are ideal. Keep in mind that small gap minimum is 0.015 in. (0.381mm) and wall thickness minimum is 0.003 in. (0.0762mm).
  High Resolution Normal Resolution    Process   
Aluminum AlSi10Mg 3.8 in. x 3.8 in. x 3.7 in. (96.52mm x 96.52mm x 93.98mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

X Line (Aluminum AlSi10Mg) N/A 31.5 in. x 15.7 in. x 19.7 in. (400mm x 800mm x  500mm)

DMLS

Cobalt Chrome 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in. (88.9mm x 88.9mm x 68.58mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in. (88.9mm x 88.9mm x 68.58mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

Inconel 718 (X Line) N/A 31.5 in. x 15.7 in. x 19.7 in. (400mm x 800mm x  500mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 17-4PH 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in. (88.9mm x 88.9mm x 68.58mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

Stainless Steel 316L 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in. (88.9mm x 88.9mm x 68.58mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

Titanium Ti-6Al-4V 3.5 in. x 3.5 in. x 2.7 in. (88.9mm x 88.9mm x 68.58mm) 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. x 13.0 in. (245mm x 245mm x 330mm)

DMLS

ABS-Like Black 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Gray 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 29 in. x 25 in. x 21 in. (736mm x 635mm x 533mm)

SLA

ABS-Like Translucent/Clear 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 29 in. x 25 in. x 21 in. (736mm x 635mm x 533mm)

SLA

Abs-Like White 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 29 in. x 25 in. x 21 in. (736mm x 635mm x 533mm)

SLA

Ceramic-Like (Advanced High Temp) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm)

SLA

Metal Plated Ceramic-Like (PerFORM) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm)

SLA

MicroFine™ Green 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in. (127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm)** N/A

SLA

MicroFine™ Gray 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in. (127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm)** N/A

SLA

PC-Like Translucent (Advance High Temp) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm)

SLA

PC-Like Translucent Clear (Accura 60) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 29 in. x 25 in. x 21 in. (736mm x 635mm x 533mm)

SLA

PP-Like Translucent White (Somos 9120) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm) 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (254mm x 254mm x 254mm)

SLA

Carbon ABS-Like Black Rigid Polyurethane (RPU 70) N/A 7.4 in. x 4.6 in. x 12.8 in. (89mm x 118mm x 326mm)

Carbon

Carbon PP-Like Black Flexible Polyurethane (FPU 50) N/A 7.4 in. x 4.6 in. x 12.8 in. (89mm x 118mm x 326mm)

Carbon

True Silicone Black N/A 4.7 in. x 2.8 in. x 3.9 in. (119.38mm x 71.12mm x 99.06mm)

SLA

True Silicone White N/A 4.7 in. x 2.8 in. x 3.9 in. (119.38mm x 71.12mm x 99.06mm)

SLA

PA 11 Black N/A 10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in. (269.24mm x 320.04mm x 406.4mm)

SLS

PA 12 25% Mineral Filled N/A 10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in. (269.24mm x 320.04mm x 406.4mm)

SLS

PA 12 White N/A 19 in. x 19 in. x 17 in. (482.6mm x 482.6mm x 431.8mm)

SLS

PP Natural N/A 10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in. (269.24mm x 320.04mm x 406.4mm)

SLS

TPU 70-A White N/A 10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in. (269.24mm x 320.04mm x 406.4mm)

SLS

PA 12 40% Glass Filled N/A 10.6 in. x 12.6 in. x 16 in. (269.24mm x 320.04mm x 406.4mm)

MJF

PA 12 40% Glass-Filled Black N/A 11.1 in. x 14.9 in. x 14.9 in. (281mm x 378mm x 378mm)

MJF

PA 12 Black N/A 11.1 in. x 14.9 in. x 14.9 in. (281mm x 378mm x 378mm)

MJF

Digital Black N/A 19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in. (490mm x 391mm x 200mm)

PolyJet

Digital Clear/Translucent N/A 19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in. (490mm x 391mm x 200mm)

PolyJet

Digital Overmold N/A 19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in. (490mm x 391mm x 200mm)

PolyJet

Digital White N/A 19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in. (490mm x 391mm x 200mm)

PolyJet

  **Micro resolution accuracy is available through SLA with MicroFine™ Green and Gray. While maximum part size is 5 in. x 5 in. x 2.5 in. (127mm x 127mm x 63.5mm), parts smaller than 1 in. x 1 in. x 1 in. (25.4mm x 25.4mm x 25.4mm) are ideal. Keep in mind that small gap minimum is 0.015 in. (0.381mm) and wall thickness minimum is 0.003 in. (0.0762mm).

Certain areas of your part may be difficult to access, clean, and finish in a manner that is consistent with the rest of the part. Here are a few examples of how an inaccessible surface could affect your finished part based on 3D printing process.

SLA, Carbon DLS, or Silicone If the inaccessible surface contains a support structure, remaining stubble can prove challenging to grit blast or sand away.
DMLS It is difficult to shot peen or grit blast inaccessible surfaces on metal parts, which could yield a non-uniform finish.
SLS, MJF Trace powder may be left over in inaccessible surfaces after grit blasting.
PolyJet A wax-like support residue may remain in inaccessible surfaces.

You may see 3D printing advisories related to text on parts. For optimal text resolution, please following the following guidelines: Recommended depth for extruded or embossed lettering is 0.012 in. (0.3048mm).

3D-printed Parts on Your Schedule 

Our lead time options lend you flexibility. Need printed parts lightning fast? Select Expedite at checkout. Not in a rush? Choose Economy to save on cost. For reliable delivery on-time, select Standard. Your parts when you need them. 

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