Nesting For 3D Printing
Nesting Guide for 3D printing. Space is valuable, especially if it happens to be a piece of land in Roma. A 3D Printer has only a limited amount of space with which to build parts in, so most Printing companies have a pricing structure either based on or incorporating machine space as a cost.
Making The Most Of Your Space
We aim to make our pricing structure very easy to understand – it’s based on the volumetric capacity of your parts bounding box (max. X Y Z dimensions) in centimetres cubed (cm3). What this means is that you pay for a box of machine space and this presents an opportunity to you that you may not of realised – you can fit in a surprising amount of parts into a small space by nesting them well.
It’s basically like playing Tetris, but in 3D.
Interlock parts amongst each other keeping in mind their unique geometries.
Below are some visual instructions to help you, but before you dive in keep in mind a few constraints:
- Leave a minimum of 2mm between ANY surfaces, remember your parts will be scaled up to account for shrinkage when they’re printed so having parts 0.2mm apart means they will be fused together when printed.
- Keep in mind a parts orientation and which way it will need to be printed (See our Design Guide HERE)
- The smaller your bounding box the cheaper it will be, so try fill as much space as possible!
Typically, the parts are positioned side by side according to the work area network.
Most programs are not interested in the optimal arrangement of the parts.
And they occupy so much volume.
In the table below, we have listed the statistics of a free group of 36 parts. On the right we’ve calculated their cumulative volume.
389 x 205 x 150 = 11961 cm3
Now let’s think. Do we have parts of which the outer dimensions are smaller than the empty space of other parts? We start with Tetris spinning and we set one to the other, to the smaller ones.
Step by step, taking care of the distances between the parts.
When we finish the arrangement of the big ones, we can start with the little ones.
Small parts always have plenty of space!
In them the great danger is not to lock them together or in a space from where they can not go.
When we are ready we can check the result.
129 x 132 x 211 = 3592 cm3; -70%
We have reduced the volume by 70%, or else the price has been more than 3 times lower.
Pro 3D Nesting
Of course, if you plan to print a large amount of parts or work serial bundles in parts, you can use a professional service to arrange the parts.
It also costs money, but given the larger volume, the investment is certainly worth it.