In the first episode of Shapeways Ask An Engineer we look at the strength of 3D printed wires at different thicknesses to better understand how to design for 3D printing.
Using a spring of the same size 3D printed in Nylon (WSF) using selective laser sintering, we look at the difference in strength and memory (bounce) of wires at 0.9, 1.0, 1.2, 1.5 and 2.0 mm. By understanding how much stress the material can take at different thicknesses you can design your parts to be much stronger with a very small increase in thickness. A wire 3D printed at 0.9mm has almost no memory, meaning it compresses under its own weight and is fairly fragile compared to a wire at 1.2mm (and additional 0.3mm or 0.01 of an inch) is much stronger and has considerable memory. As you can see in the video, at 2.0mm thickness (0.078 inch) the 3D printed Nylon is VERY strong, has great memory and flexibility.
If you have any 3D printing questions you would like answered by our 3D printing engineer Matthew Hagan please email askanengineer(at)shapeways(dot)com