3D Printing Parts That Fit Together: The Issue of Tolerances

When creating any product through 3D printing, any engineer or designer has to be aware of tolerances. The tolerance is the difference between the expected and actual sizes of the design. They’re considered the acceptable margins for an object to be printed accurately.

Understanding tolerances among other components will help you better communicate with your 3D printing company about what is needed for the job to be successful.

What is tolerance in 3D printing?

Tolerance refers to the range of variations that can be tolerated. In 3D printers, it’s the maximum distance between two points before they are considered not fused. It’s important for manufacturers to consider this when designing their products so that they can produce high-quality pieces with the smallest amount of errors. This means that if you have a hole that measures 3 mm in your design, it can be as small as 2.975mm or as large as 3.075mm and still fit together with another part.

Creating your designs with these tolerances in mind can optimise the prototyping and post-production process. This can also effectively reduce the material cost of iteration, lower the overall 3D printing price and mitigate the risk of potentially broken parts which can affect your overall project timeline. As such, it is important to discuss tolerances with your chosen 3D printing company in Singapore before starting the designs.

What to do when ordering prints online?

As you discuss your product requirements with your 3D printing company, it is important to take any tolerances into account so that everything printed fits together snugly and precisely. According to Hubs on the dimensional accuracy of 3D-printed parts, the dimensional tolerance is as follows for the most commonly used printing types:

  • Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM): ± 0.5% (lower limit: ± 0.5 mm) – desktop; ± 0.15% (lower limit: ± 0.2 mm) – industrial
  • Stereolithography (SLA): ± 0.5% (lower limit: ± 0.10 mm) – desktop; ± 0.15% (lower limit: ± 0.01 mm) – industrial
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS): ± 0.3% (lower limit: ± 0.3 mm)
  • 3D printing on metal: ± 0.1 mm

If you have trouble fitting pieces together, your trusted 3D printing company in Singapore will keep you informed on the adjustments required by the material type or print speed.

How to order prints online?

While ordering your 3D printing parts online can appear daunting at first, the process can be straightforward and convenient by using a Digital Part Analyser. This will do its job to determine if additive manufacturing and its range of 3D printing processes are suitable to develop your part.

Alternatively, you can also leverage computer-aided design (CAD) services to save time and ensure that your 3D models are drawn to scale prior to production. Here’s a quick guide to 3D modeling and what you can expect.

How accurate can 3D printing be?

Besides tolerances, there are also common STL file mistakes to be aware of. Some of these mistakes can include incorrect file resolution, wrong wall thickness and others. Another consideration that affects printing accuracy is the type of 3D printing service chosen for your specific project in Singapore. For example, SLA printing can produce the sharpest details in your parts. At the same time, MJF 3D printing can also develop products with high quality and durability, with less wastage.

Yet, under the expertise of a reputable 3D printing service provider like Additive3D Asia, you can rest assured your project is in good hands. If you are unsure of what type of printing will be best suited to your needs, reach out to us before printing and designing. Throughout your product development process, 3D printing services can offer your organisation an affordable way to make small changes without having to start from scratch.

Get in touch with us to find out more about our 3D printing prices for your project today.