From the Design Lab: An Insider’s Guide to Laser Sintering

Written on

Design for manufacturability isn’t a new concept for engineers. Adhering to these rules helps maintain consistency and makes for easy manufacturing, but breaking the rules has its costs—increased production expenses, diminished quality, and poor aesthetics. But the biggest problem is suppressed innovation. 3D printing frees engineers from the constraints of traditional DFM rules and allows them to think differently—designing solely for desired form, fit, and function by eliminating tooling and multiple steps associated with traditionally fabricating complex parts.

Aerospace part 3D printed with Laser Sintering

Design for additive manufacturability is a newer concept and means something different than conventional DFM. Although all 3D printing processes can create complex parts with intricate features, each process has its own unique formula of materials, delivery methods, constraints, and file configurations therefore each system requires a set of unique considerations. Understanding these different process controls and the design for additive manufacturability rules for each process ensures accuracy and optimized part design for the build process and compatible materials.

Until now, guidelines around designing for additive manufacturing processes have been generally undocumented and passed down among equipment manufacturers and service providers throughout the years, leaving design engineers feeling adrift on a sea of 3D printing challenges. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing has decided to share our trade knowledge with the masses to help you minimize errors and achieve consistently successful parts.

We’ve gathered the most efficient design guidelines for one of the more popular 3D printing technologies: Laser Sintering. Our new guide details a study undertaken by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and the University of Texas (UT) at Austin which vetted tolerances for challenging LS design features. Our goal is to make the information collected within the study well-known to the average design engineer and present working expectations for what LS can do.

In this comprehensive guide you’ll find:

  • Optimal external and internal wall thicknesses based on part orientation
  • Minimum hole diameter based on part orientation
  • Ideal hole proximity to walls
  • Best fonts and font sizes for text
  • How to optimize movable components, like gears and pins

All of these guidelines are validated by test data from the University of Texas at Austin and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Download An Insider’s Guide to Laser Sintering to take full advantage of this 3D printing process for prototyping and low volume production.

LS White Paper Cover

Share This:
Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPrint this page

AS9100 & ISO 9001 Certified (Austin TX, Valencia CA, Belton TX, Eden Prairie MN) | ISO 9001 Certified (Poway CA, Tucson & Phoenix AZ)