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What Is an Appropriate Wall Thickness for 3D Printing Parts

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What Is an Appropriate Wall Thickness for 3D Printing Parts

Dec 28,2023

What is Wall Thickness in 3D Printings

Wall thickness in 3D printing refers to the distance or thickness of a printed object's vertical walls or surfaces.

Importance of Wall Thickness

Wall thickness affects the structural integrity, printability, and overall quality of the printed product, making it an important factor to take into account in 3D printing. For example, the wall thickness directly affects the strength and durability of 3D-printed objects. Specifically, a thicker wall provides more structural support and rigidity, making the final product less prone to deformation or breakage. On the other hand, thinner walls may result in reduced strength and structural stability, leading to a higher risk of failure.

Moreover, the thickness of the walls determines the surface finish of the 3D-printed object. Since they are less likely to contain flaws from the stacking process, thicker walls often have smoother surfaces. Thin walls may have a more pronounced layered or rough texture, especially those that are near the printer's resolution limits. Achieving the desired surface quality can be facilitated by designing with adequate wall thickness.

JLC3DP Design Guidelines -Recommend Wall Thickness

One thing you should be aware of is that different 3D printing materials have different properties and behaviors that affect optimal wall thickness. Some materials may require thicker walls to ensure structural integrity, while others may be better suited to thin walls due to their flexibility or specific mechanical properties. Understanding material properties and their effect on wall thickness is critical to achieving desired results.Generally speaking, whenever you enlarge your design, we advise you to increase the thickness of your walls.

Moreover, regarding surface finish, wall thickness influences the surface finish of the 3D-printed object. Thicker walls tend to have smoother surfaces, as they are less prone to imperfections caused by the layering process. Thin walls, especially those close to the printer's resolution limits, may exhibit a more noticeable layered or rough texture. Designing with appropriate wall thickness can help achieve the desired surface quality.

JLC3DP recommends wall thickness

(Figure 1. JLC3DP recommends wall thickness )

JLC3DP Recommend Wall Thickness

SLA 0.8mm or above

MJF/SLS 1.0mm or above

FDM 1.2mm or above

SLM 1.5mm or above

JLC3DP recommends: During the design process, we suggest you do not exceed the recommended wall thickness value above. If it is impossible to reduce the wall thickness value, it should be at least 0.2mm of the recommended value at most and in non-important parts.

For large-area 3D printing, if the wall thickness is less than 0.5mm and the overall wall thickness is less than 1.0mm, there will be a risk of damage to the printed product. Although JLC3DP can print for designers when the wall thickness is lower than the above-recommended value, you may have to accept the risk of damage, deformation, and loss.

Minimum Wall Thickness

In 3D printing, the minimum wall thickness is the most minimal thickness that can be printed consistently without affecting the object's overall quality, printability, or structural integrity.

The precise minimum wall thickness might vary depending on a range of variables, such as the capabilities of the printer, the properties of the material of choice, and 3D printing technology. There are minimum wall thickness recommendations and restrictions specific to each printing technology.

For instance, the minimum wall thickness of filament-based or fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers tends to be impacted by the layer height and nozzle diameter. Thus, to guarantee adequate adhesion and strength, it is often suggested to design walls that are at least twice the nozzle diameter or marginally thicker. For instance, a minimum wall thickness of 0.8 mm or more is frequently advised if the nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm.

The curing or solidification properties of the liquid resin have an impact on the minimum wall thickness in resin-based 3D printing technologies such as digital light processing (DLP) and stereolithography (SLA). Specifically, a minimum wall thickness requirement of approximately 0.5 mm to 1 mm is commonly used to guarantee successful curing and prevent problems such as excessive brittleness or insufficient curing.

Thin Walls and Hollow Structures

We frequently used thin walls and hollow structures in 3D printing to optimize material usage and print time.

Design consideration

Firstly, we need to consider the structural integrity of our 3D-printings. When designing thin-walled or hollow structures, ensuring adequate structural integrity is crucial. Walls should be thick enough to withstand expected loads or stresses without deformation or failure. Thus, we need to analyze the mechanical requirements and use appropriate engineering principles so that it could help us determine the minimum wall thickness. To ensure accurate printing and easy support removal, we must also consider proper support placement. Therefore, when designing thin-walled or hollow structures, we must consider supporting structures to avoid collapse or distortion.

Moreover, the orientation of the object can affect the strength and stability of hollow structures or thin walls during printing. The overall structural integrity can be enhanced and the effects of layer adhesion flaws can be reduced with optimal orientation.

Beneficial of Thin Walls and Hollow Structures

We can greatly decrease the amount of material used in printing with thin walls and hollow structures, which can save money and speed up print times. This is especially helpful when utilizing cost-effective or specialized materials. In addition, hollow and thin-walled constructions can make an object lighter, which is advantageous in industries like aerospace or automotive where reducing weight is crucial. It enables increased portability, decreased energy consumption, and increased efficiency. More importantly, by retaining air or other insulating materials inside the structure, hollow constructions can offer superior insulating qualities. This can be helpful for items like enclosures or heat sinks that need to manage heat.

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