Here's A Quick Guide To Designing For Additive Manufacturing

Here’s A Quick Guide to Designing for Additive Manufacturing

by Micah James — 11 months ago in Development 3 min. read

3D printing has its own unique design process. The final product is a direct result of the design. This is something that every engineer understands. A part or product that is made must meet the requirements of the manufacturing process chosen and take advantage of its strengths.

Additive Manufacturing Explained

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing or 3D printing, allows objects to be built by layering material until they are complete. This method has a lower cost because it produces less waste than subtractive manufacturing.

Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), was developed to address the new design possibilities. DfAM is built on a series of design strategies that maximize performance, manufacturing practicability, and cost-effectiveness for AM tools. The tools allow for new possibilities in part design, lightweight structures, and reduced material usage.

Both shoes and vehicles were created before additive manufacturing. Designers and engineers had limited tools at the time. What techniques are used by engineers and designers to visualize AM?

Preparation is Key

Additive manufacturing has opened up new possibilities for producing previously unimaginable objects. Designers and engineers have to deal with DfAM when they move from a digital state to a physical one.

Because of their small build volumes, some 3D printers might have limitations on the size of individual pieces or require multiple prints to complete a single job. Certain printing technologies have their own problems, such as visible layer lines from fused deposition modeling (FDM), which are not reflected in digital designs.

DfAM is certainly exciting. However, to make the most of your 3D printer equipment, you need to plan carefully and consider these practical considerations.

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Incorporation of Support Structures

Support structures are used to hold up elements of 3D-printed components that do not have any support material.

If necessary, support structures should be included in the design of your part. They will also need to be printed during production. This requires planning for extra effort and materials required in 3D printing and when support structures need to be removed.

Not all additive manufacturing processes require support structures. Multi Jet Fusion (FDM), and Fused Deposition Modeling (MJF) both use 3D printing to create physical objects. This is done by layering material on a print bed. Parts made from MJF don’t require support structures, as the powder layers provide enough strength.

Design for Post Processing

Many processes in additive manufacturing require some post-production work. This could include the removal of support structures and the application of more machined parts. The powder residue must be removed from the finished components made from powder-coated bed components.
Designers may choose to create holes in parts to help remove powder from post-processing or make it more suited to sandblasting.

Solution for Warpage

3D printing can cause warpage. Also known as warping, it is a physical phenomenon. This causes the component’s base to deform, which eventually leads to the piece being detached from the printer bed.

These are some ways to prevent or reduce warping

  • Use textured bed sheets
  • To make the component fit better on your bed, add a brim around it
  • A raft can be added under the component

These solutions won’t stop mechanical stress from occurring. They let you solve the problem with different degrees of success.

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Quality Considerations and Constraints When Designing for AM

AM may seem limitless but its practical applications are limited. These are the constraints designers need to consider:

  • Digitalization of their ideas with computer-aided design, (CAD).
  • The components can be printed with physical and digital separation.
  • The current capabilities of 3D printers as well as the characteristics of AM processes.
  • Material properties and requirements for processing materials using different AM techniques: Implications of AM process on material properties.
  • New challenges in quality control and precise measurements.
  • There are other concerns such as recycling or maintenance.

Even though many of these limitations are shared with other manufacturing technologies, AM’s bottom-up nature means they can have different effects on designs, the design process, and intermediate artifacts.


Although additive manufacturing doesn’t limit your creativity, you need to be able to recognize its unique characteristics and limitations so you can make the right products. The best practices for designing for additive manufacturing can make it easier to produce lighter, more efficient, and cheaper components.

Micah James

Micah is SEO Manager of The Next Tech. When he is in office then love to his role and apart from this he loves to coffee when he gets free. He loves to play soccer and reading comics.

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