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Don’t Play Games With Your 3D Printing Cost

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by The Technology House

One of the quickest ways to reduce prototype cost is to hollow the part. This is because less material is now needed to fabricate the part. Rather than running a part completely solid, it can be hollowed with a thick enough wall thickness to have the part still be durable.

In 3D printing processes that use a liquid photopolymer, such as SLA, a drain hole must be added to the hollowed part. This is so that any resin on the inside can drain out of the part. A plug can be glued into the drain hole once the part is fabricated in order to give the surface a clean look. If the resin is trapped inside, then it will harden when cured. Thus, the part will not save any material.

Solid 3D Model
This file is solid, and has a cubic volume of 19.957.

Hollow 3D Model

This part is hollowed with .080″ wall thickness, and has a cubic volume of 9.934.  Since it is hollowed, it is saving 10.02 cubic inches of material.

In 3D printing processes that fabricate parts with extruded material, such as FDM, the parts can be either made solid or sparse.  Fabricating a part with a sparse interior will help reduce the amount of material needed.   For example, if we took this same arcade and applied a sparse interior structure in the FDM process, then it would require  11.03 cubic inches of material. Thus saving, 5.92 cubic inches of material.

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