When designing 3D printed enclosures, we recommend working with a wall thickness of greater or equal to 2mm for all enclosure walls. This helps with the structural integrity of the part and provides an allowance for any type of shrinkage that may occur.
Also, ensure that the wall thickness is uniform throughout the design of the part.
Fillets and radii help in 3D enclosure designing by aiding the printer to avoid sharp corners and reduce stress concentrations around the edges of the part. Adding even a small fillet/radii can be significant in ensuring that the part is accurately printed.
Bosses can help to deliver additional strength around corners, holes and locations where threaded screws will be used to secure the enclosure. Bosses help by reducing the likelihood of fracture, distortion and bulging in these areas.
As a guideline, do not go less than 1 hole diameter for the thickness of the walls around the holes.
Keep at least 2mm (each side of 1mm) of clearance between the 3D printed enclosure ports and the components I/O plugs to be placed in the part.
Lips, Lugs and Cut-outs
Lugs, lips and cut-outs all assist with part alignment, assembly and disassembly. They are relatively easy to incorporate into your design and alignment of the enclosure with multiple parts and structures in the design.
When using lugs, ensure that they are at least 5mm in width.
Reduce the diameter of self-taping holes by 0.25mm to allow the screws or fasteners bite into the case and secure the part firmer
Add 0.25mm to expand the diameter of your fastener and screw clearance holes to obtain improved results. Also, ensure that you drill the holes after printing to obtain better clearance holes.
Ribs and Gussets
Although not essential for 3D printing as much as it is for injection molding, these structures help to improve structural performance by reducing the stress throughout the part. As Ribs and gussets are not mandatory in 3D printing design, they can be made to 75% of the part’s wall thickness to save material and lower cost.
Other Rules and Guidelines
• SLS nylon is ideal for 3D printed enclosures that will see a significant number of repeated open and close action
• FDM is ideal in instances where rapid prototyping is required for low-cost production
• Maintain, at a minimum, a wall thickness of 2mm and tolerance of 0.5mm for internal design components
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