Test the design rules for your 3D printer(s)

Group members

3D Model

Before testing the design rules, we browsed thingiverse to find a suitable test part. We used search words like 3D test, and narrowed the search to 3D models. We found a test part that we liked. The model is called "Test your 3D printer! v2", by user CtrlV, and it included a test part with a thicker base, and a thinner base.

The test part with the thicker base:
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The test part with the thinner base:
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Testing the design rules for Fortus 380 MC

Here's the Stratasys Fortus 380 MC 3D printer of Fablab Oulu. It is the most expensive 3D printer we have and uses ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) to print the models.

The 3D printing is controlled from a computer next to the printer, from a software called Insights. So basically you import your stl file, change some settings if need be, and press build.

We first started out, trying to print the part with the thinner base. The first thing we did, was set up supports for the part we were going to build to "smart".

Next, in the modeler setup we selected the part interior style to be "solid-normal", and the visible surface style to be "normal". Then we clicked Finish, which does all of the remaining processing.

Next we used the tools to show us how layer by layer our part would be printed. This is illustrated in the following four pictures as well.

What we noticed when we looked at all the layers the printer would print was, that not all of the smallest details of the part would print out with the settings that we had. for example the printer would only print 3 columns on the left hand side of the part, when in the original model there were 7. The smaller columns were deemed too thin to print. So we went back to the settings to see if there was anything we could do.

What we did was that we removed supports and deleted all of the existing toolpaths calculated before.

And of course we got an error message, saying that we need to generate toolpaths and clicked OK.

We generated the toolpaths again, by pressing the button on the right

We decided to see how the part would come out like this, and sent it to the printer queue.


Next we started working on the settings for the part with the thinner base. With the default settings it had the same problems, that some smaller details of the part would not print out, as they were too thin. We set out to try different settings.

We were suggested that applying wall thickness filter might help with the smaller details, so we selected that.

Next we moved to take a closer look to wall thickness settings

We chose not to resize small columns and pins, hoping that this might do the trick.

Next we started to work with the toolpaths for the part

We made the contour width smaller

And then proceeded to generate toolpaths for the part.

We placed the part next to the previous one, and sent it to printer queue

The estimated printing time for both was 13 minutes

The parts are printed on transparent film. So before pressing print on the machine we had to insert it, make sure that it is there tightly. The printing oven (?) is quite hot so we needed to wear heat proof gloves and lean backwards here

Open the door to put the film on the plate

A red cross on the top left hand corner of the display indicates the film is not placed correctly

Press with both hands, protected with the heat proof gloves, to help the film stay tight on the plate

When the machine is ready, the red cross dissapeares from the display

When you have inserted the base to print on, you select your print from the printing queue visible in the control panel

You can see the actual printing time before proceeding, and check if there is enough material available to succesfully complete the printing

Result: Thicker base.

Result: Thicker base. As you can see, it looks quite clean. However the smaller details (columns on the left) did not all print. That was also the case with some smaller cuts that were supposed to be there (the ctrlV, M4 texts, gaps on the side of the model on the left. Our guess was that the material melted together as the gaps were too thin

Result: Thinner base.

Result: Thinner base.The thinner base does not look as clean as the thinker one. You can see that there is some material residue there left between the details. Also, some details are "hanging" (the bridge on the back). On the other hand, with this thinner base, more of the smaller cuts were (almost) successful

Thin base above, thick base below

Sindoh 3D Vox

Sindoh printer.

Sindoh printer plate.

Model in the 3DWox application.

Support settings: none

Bed adhesion settings: none

More settings.

More settings.

The printer notices the overhangs and bridges and informs us

Send to machine



Feedback in display

Feedback in display

First printing failed. The machine stopped. We were suggested to add a bed adhesion to try to make it work.

. After adding an adhesion of the type brim, with 5 lines, it worked. Thicker above, thinner below. The lines of the brim are quite visible.

Thinner, brim visible.

thicker above, thinner below, removing brim.





The result in both cases is quite similar. The bridge was perfectly printed. Just three walls were printed in both cases, and not very clean. Although the gaps are visible, none of them shows a clean separation between lines


Lastly we tried out the Formlabs Form2 printer in our FabLab. It prints the model into resin, the finished model is cleaned in two small tanks, first one containing isopropyl alcohol, and the second one water.

Formlabs Form 2

According to the Formlabs website
, some safety issues should be taken into account when working with FormLabs Form 2:
- The laser beam is harmful to the eyes, so one should avoid direct contact. The printer contains an interlock system to automatically shut off the laser when the cover is opened. If this system is fails for some reason, there is risk of exposure laser light.
- The 3D print is is made out of resin.You should always use chemical resistant gloves whenever handling it. Eye contact may cause eye irritation and skin contact may cause skin reactions. If you get any on your skin, wash with soap and water. To clean tools after handling resin wear gloves and use alcohol, followed by soap and water.
- The finished 3D prints are first cleaned in a tank of Isopropyl alcohol and then moved to water. IPA is flammable and should be kept away from heat, fire, or sparks. Containers holding isopropyl alcohol should be closed when not in use. It is also recommended that you wear protective gloves and have good ventilation when working with IPA.

Piece printed in Formlabs printer


We have compared qualitatively three of the printed pieces (one from each printer). At first sight, it is quite obvious that FormLabs printer is able to do a finer work in general. There are, however, some details to take into account.


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