Note: The following was authored by Tyler Hudson, an intern at Wohlers Associates.
With the declining prices for consumer-grade material extrusion (FDM-like) 3D printers, more people are purchasing them. This has created a need for a basic understanding of how to get started with the technology.
The orientation of the part you are building is key to success. Orientation that produces the fewest number of overhangs tend to result in better builds because it requires less support material that later must be manually removed.
Few designs can be oriented in a way that eliminates overhangs and the need for some support material. When this happens, it is best to orient the part in a way that results in external overhangs instead of internal. The orientation at the left in the following is usually preferred over the one at the right.
The orientation on the left results in external overhangs, which means that the support material will be easier to remove. The orientation at the right results in internal overhangs, so removing the support material becomes much for difficult. Some designs may not be as easy to orient as this one, but with experience, you will be able to decide which orientation works the best.
Click here to read the entire Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing.