Hello all, for the past few weeks we've been nailing down design rules for Stainless Steel. I know there has been some confusion over the rules, and there has been community members (understandably) upset at the conservative 3 mm minimum wall length.
We are releasing two versions of design rules, one Basic Design Rules, which indeed has a minimum wall thickness of 3 mm. We are also releasing an addendum that will hopefully help you better understand how to best design if you would like to have walls less than 3 mm thick.
We are also building up a Design Rule Repository. This is a subsection of the website dedicated to design rules. Going forward, the blog and forum will be used to report on changes to this repository. It should not be considered a reliable source for listing the rules; the official rules will be found (or linked to) in the design rule section of the web page.
Last, I'd like to discuss some ideas we have for design rule changes going forward. Changes to design rules are inevitable. We have an incredibly creative community who constantly push the boundaries of 3D Printing. We will always get designs that fit the rules but are difficult or even impossible to print. While we continuously push our partners to advance their technologies to better suit your creativity, we will also work to ensure that the design rules and updated in a way that helps everybody design models that can be printed at reasonable cost. Over the upcoming weeks, we plan to work with each of our suppliers to create a process for handling design rule changes. Of course, it will include communication to you--our designers. We will work to give you lead time to learn the new rules, and tips on how to change existing models to fit the new rules. We will also work on grandfathering in as many designs as we can (so designs previously printed may still be acceptable under new rules), but of course there will be certain models that are too risky or too expensive to print.
I would like to get your feedback on the design rules. Some of you are quite experienced in 3D printing, and have a better sense than I do on what is possible and what is not, so I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on whether the rules make sense, are missing things, etc.
Product Lead for Materials and Content
There's an extra "blog/shapeways.com/" included in the Basic Design Rules link to the stainless steel page; it's returning a 404 error.
This is a great start; the next step is to come up with some actual values for the maximum distances walls less than 3mm can extend from a 3mm wall. For example (from the 'stainless-steel-under-3mm' design rule page:
"Thin bars under 1.5-3 mm are printable if it extends only a little before encountering thicker walls for support."
How long is 'only a little'? We've been working on determining values for White, Strong and Flexible in the Forum under Support/3D Printing - see the 'Thin Walls' thread at the top of the page:
Thanks Nancy, that helps a bunch! I tend to have a lot of small things with thin walls within a design that supports the material, and most of the time they turn out very nicely.
Do you know if shipping time within the US for stainless has decreased somewhat since HQ is now here? I am sending a bunch of orders in today and hoping to get them in time for a convention on the 25th.