Our Basic Guide to Designing for Metal 3D Printing

The 3D printing feature has been such a game changer in the manufacturing industry over the years. Not only does it make the process more efficient and the application more streamlined, but it also boosts productivity and yields quality output. Most importantly, the design possibilities are endless with additive manufacturing.

When it comes to additive manufacturing, the metal 3D printing can be your best bet. This printing type allows a whole new approach to design, in which complicated and odd shapes can be brought to life. Even intricate geometric parts can be turned into a single piece without complications as with other traditional methods.

However, there are a few key steps to keep in mind when utilising metal printing for your design. In this article, we will share our guide to designing your parts for your metal 3D printing:

Support overhanging geometries with additional structures

For the uninitiated, the overhangs are the design elements unsupported by the rest of the part. If left unsupported, they may lead to the collapse of the bottom surface, which may eventually result in the whole structure’s deformity.

For this reason, it’s necessary to support overhangs with additional structures. All it takes is to have a small modification between the vertical face and the out-sticking wall. While at it, you need to apply a fillet or a chamfer at the overhang’s intersection point. Ultimately, the rule of thumb is to avoid overhangs larger than 0.5 mm. 

Pay attention to the quality of surface

When it comes to metal 3D printing, the quality of the surface must always be your top consideration. To ensure this, you must factor in two things—position and direction. 

As far as optimal position is concerned, be sure to print the part parallel to the build plate to maintain the circular shape. When perpendicular to the plate, the hole may become oval and less functional. When it comes to the direction of the part being printed, be sure to orient the most crucial planes of the horizontal part to the build plate, ensuring the part’s surface quality and overall aesthetic value.

Ensure the wall thickness

In additive manufacturing, wall thickness pertains to the thickness level between your part’s surface and its opposite one. Along with this is the minimum wall thickness, which is the minimum requirement that your part must have at any geometrical points.

As a rule of thumb, no elements or wall must be thinner than 0.5 mm, as they are quite challenging to post-process. In fact, in the print direction, one layer thickness is said to be the required tolerance for the most part. Because of this, be sure to maintain the wall thickness of your part for a successful design.


At this point, we’ve covered our basic guide to designing manufacturing parts for metal 3D printing. As outlined above, all it takes is to support overhanging geometries with additional structures, pay attention to the surface’s quality, and ensure the wall thickness. To that end, be sure to keep these basic design guidelines in mind and work with a highly reliable additive manufacturing company to bring your vision into life!

We provide high-quality, FDM 3D printing services and rapid prototyping services in the UK. All you have to do is send your CAD data and step files today, and we’ll send you a 3D printing quote in just a few hours. If you need professional services for 3D Quick Printing, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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