What are the 3D model design guidelines for printed parts?

Designing parts to print with engineering materials can be more challenging than using materials such as PLA. Some engineering materials have a higher tendency to shrink, causing warping. To combat this, there are ways to optimize the design of your model.

A well-designed model that follows these guidelines and uses Ultimaker Cura’s recommended profiles will help to improve the print reliability.

The diagram below shows some useful features that work well for 3D printed parts:


  1. Rib
  2. Chamfer
  3. Gusset
  4. Wall thickness
  5. Fillet
  6. Rounded corners

Rib. A rib is a special type of extruded feature that adds material of a specified thickness in a specified direction between the contour and an existing part. Not only does it connect the part to a wall to further strengthen it, but it also supports the part from the bottom surface.

Chamfer. These can be added to corners to reduce stress points. Avoiding sharp corners results in less accumulation of stress when printing.

Gusset. A gusset helps support a feature of the part from the bottom surface. Unlike a rib, it tapers off as the Z height increases.

Wall thickness. Generally, designs with a uniform and consistent wall thickness decrease the chance of warping or shrinkage.

Fillet. Similar to chamfers, fillets reduce stress points and reduce the accumulation of stress when printing.

Rounded corners. These distribute the stress in the material throughout the model, which will improve the quality of the print.

The table below shows the design recommendations for some challenging Ultimaker materials:


Fine features. x=y=1.5 mm for features where z = max. 3 cm (For example, a pin feature of 3 cm should have a minimum diameter of 1.5 mm. For a taller feature the diameter should be increased).


Was this article helpful?
48 out of 49 found this helpful



Article is closed for comments.