Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Designing FDM 3D Printed Jigs and Fixtures
Jigs and fixtures that are 3D printed off of a Fuse Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3d printing process do not have isotropic mechanical properties, meaning the orientation in which the part is 3d printed greatly effects the strength of the part.
Maximize the amount of flat surface area that will touch the 3d printing bed
Minimize the amount of overhangs and bridges to several millimeters wide
Designing SLA 3D Printed Jigs and Fixtures
SLA (stereolithography) parts do not have the issue of needing flat surfaces for successful production, however there are still some things to keep in mind when designing 3d printed jigs and fixtures using SLA.
Keep size and wall thickness minimums to 1.50mm
Certain SLA resins have different resolutions they can hit. These range from 25 microns to 100 microns
Limit the size of the touch points to help reduce support nodes bumps that can compromise dimensional precision in certain features of part
To avoid certain issues with 3D printed parts, consider designing with non-3D printed parts as part of the final jig/fixture assembly.
Threaded inserts, metal plating and clamps, injection molding, machined parts can all assemble easily onto 3D printed parts if designed correctly.
To save money/material, consider fortifying the design in areas only where loads are applied (generative design and FEA are excellent tools for 3D printed parts).