Tips for Printing Thin Parts

When printing thin parts, a critical piece of info is knowing what the optimum wall thicknesses are for your printer. This is highly dependent on your settings, and not strictly tied to just your nozzle size. Too thin a part and you may end up with no wall at all. Slightly too thick and you could have a gap between inner and outer walls, resulting in a weaker part. Just right and you have a thin but strong wall. To help determine what the best wall thicknesses are for your printer and its current settings, we've developed a great calibration tool. You don't even need to print it, just process it through your slicer program and view the resulting g-code.

Thin wall gauge
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The calibration tool consists of a series of tines, starting at 0.1mm wide and increasing to 3.55mm wide, in 0.05mm steps. After slicing the calibration tool file, open the g-code in a visualizer program. The first thing that you're looking for is when the first tine is visible from the left side. The first several tines are very small and most likely will not be visible, marker lines are visible below where the tines would of been if they could have been generated.

Below is the g-code generated for the gauge.

Thin wall gcode - closeup

The determine the minimum solid wall thickness, count from the left edge, the number of markers below the missing tines until you reach the first visible tine. Start with 0.1mm, then add 0.05mm per marker, then add 0.05mm for the first visible tine. In this picture the first tine appears at a thickness 0.45mm. So the thinnest solid wall this printer can print is 0.45mm, a single filament wide.

Thin wall gcode - with missing tines marked

This image shows where the missing tines would have been in yellow.

Now that we know the single wall thickness, the next is the optimum double-wall thickness. If we keep counting, you'll see that 0.6mm is the first appearance of two vertical filaments forming the tines. If you keep going you can find the best 4x, 5x, 6x, etc, thick walls for your printer.

Here's the entire g-code for this printer with the optimum wall thickness marked with an arrow. You can see the large range between 2 and 4 walls that, if printed, would leave your part with a weak, hollow wall.

Thin wall gcode - closeup - with missing tines

This is a table of the minimum thickness per wall count for this particular printer to aid in you discovering the best for yours.

Number of walls Thickness
1 0.45m
2 0.6mm
4 1.65mm
5 2.05mm
6 2.5mm
7 2.85mm

Using the calibration tool you can easily find the optimum wall thickness when designing parts with narrow sections, just slice and count.

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