- Design a Product
Sandcastle Rule: If this structure was made of wet sand, would it break?
There's a part in the production process for stainless steel 3D printing during which the model is fragile and brittle. It's basically like wet sand. When you design, ask yourself this question: if I made this out of wet sand or brittle clay, could I lift the design without it breaking? If the answer is "no," then your design might break in production.
Stainless Steel varies in color
During the production process, the steel gets infused with bronze to give the material strength. Parts closer to the bronze pool will absorb more bronze. This means depending on where your part is placed, it may absorb more or less bronze than other parts. Because our bronze infusion process cannot guarantee even infusion, you might get Stainless Steel products with slight variances in the color.
Walls under 3mm might be printable depending on your design’s structure
In general, if your model is well supported (thicker walls weave in with thinner walls), or if your thin walls are small relative to your structure (small rings and cufflinks), you can print walls as thin as 1.5mm. To learn more about this, take a look at the next few tips.
Weave in thicker walls to support thinner walls
In certain structures, walls of 1.5 - 3mm are printable as long as there isn’t a long unsupported stretch of thin wall. In this ring, the walls only need to be 1.5mm because of the high density of walls and support created by the checkerboard pattern.
Smaller models are printable at 2mm wall
A simple ring (like this wedding shown) can have walls of 2mm on the band because of the relatively small size of the model. Rings with walls less than 2mm would likely break. A larger item like a bracelet, however, would need thicker walls. 3mm is recommended, to be safe.
Add more layers to support thin walls
Thin layers are printable if they are supported by additional layers of material. This ring is printable because of the double layers of mesh structure (though mesh structure is under 3mm).
Thin wires are sometimes OK if they are well supported.
Thin wires in the 1.5-3mm range are printable if they extend only a little before encountering thicker walls for support. If there is a long bar with no support, the model will fail to print. In this image, even though the wires are thin, this model can be produced since there are no long stretches where the wires are unsupported.
Hanging structures are more likely to break
Any model that has a hanging structure is likely to break. This includes the end piece in an unsupported, heavy object, as pictured. Another example of something that would break is a miniature of a person with an arm sticking straight out. The arm would break off.
Difficult to reach places will not be polished
To get a great polish, we use polishing media that is 13-15mm in size. Any crevices or indents smaller than this may remain rough because the media can't get inside. This includes engraved areas, and the insides of fully enclosed mesh or wire structures with small openings.
Be careful engraving and embossing details and text
Engraved details and holes in the surface should be wide enough to prevent trapped media. We recommend at least of 0.5mm wide (10pt Arial bold), and 1mm deep. Text smaller than this may its detail, or get polishing media stuck in it. Embossed details should be thick enough to withstand polishing without being worn away. We recommend a depth at of least 1mm.