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3 Tricks to Optimize STL Designs for 3D Printing

by • May 4, 2016 • One Comment

3D versioning for printing can be hard-work, especially when one does not know all the tricks of the versioning software and cannot put them in application to ensure a shorter printing time of the version.

There is the general knowing that a high-detailed version in printable file format, with accurate and clean-printed outer shell, must take a lot of time to turn it into, weigh much and print forever and a day. But, this is not the case.

In this article we can focus on 3 versioning tricks that offer to the 3D version’s optimization for 3D printing and cut down versioning time, without affecting the high end of the final 3D printed version.

  • Avoid UV showcase

First things initially: what is UV? UV is the conversion or generation in a 3-dimensional space. The letters “U” and “V” denote the axes of the 2D texture, while “X”, “Y” and “Z” denote the axes of the 3D object in the version space. The values for “U” and “V” usually alter of 0 to 1. A UV conversion can either be produced instantly by the software, or turn it intod manually by the 3D versioner. 3D Studio MAX software has additional algorithms for automatic implementation.

So, when you turn it into 3D printable versions you can skip UV function. When the UV function is not utilized you save both time and nerves!

  • Merging primitive elements

All versions are turn it intod in various software like 3DS MAX, MAYA, Zbrush, MUDBOX, and etc. Any software uses various versioning methods to get the most final outcome. Jointly, all actions and methods, undertaken by the 3D versioner or 3D artist, outcome in the creation of a version. Let’s take T-60 Power Armor 3D version of Fallout 4 video game as an example.


The version is turn it intod up of additional primitive elements, adonlyed and positioned correctly until the 3D version has taken the shape of the original.


What are the primitives?

The primitive elements in the 3D versioning world are basic geometrical shapes. They include: spheres, cubes and boxes, toroids, cylinders, and pyramids. These shapes are the primitives in 3D versioning for the reason they represent the construction elements that create other additional rigorous shapes and forms. Certain 3D software boxs can include a list of additional rigorous primitives. For example, 3D Studio Max lists the teapot as a primitive shape.

When these primitives intersect one of them they form non-standard geometrical shapes. So, these intersected elements assist us create a 3D version as shown above.

Below, you can see an example of primitives intersection (utilized to turn it into the T-60 Power Armor 3D version):


This is how the printed version appears like. As you can see, you can create a non-standard, rigorous geometrical shape with the assist of additional primitives (visually it consists of a reinforced construction with screws that holds the T-60 Power Armor Suit).

This is the picture revealing the version after it has been printed. As you can see, the outcome is clear and quite detailed.

The picture at a lower place shows the version during the versioning stage:


The picture shows that the version consists of additional elements that are not interlinked; yet, the primitive elements interact one of them. From the next images you can see the same part of the version in X-ray mode:

turn it intoing-t-60-power-armor.png


All the description above is a short introduction into why the “merge” function is significant for the 3D versioning.

This function is included in approximately all 3D versioning box. The showcase empowers you to merge vertices, edges, and faces into a single vertex. You can in addition merge several vertices into a single vertex, via the software’s commands. After having merged the vertex, you can adonly the Threshold.

To merge edges or faces into a single vertex, choose the edges or faces you want to merge to a center point. But, it is significant to know that you can only merge edges that are part of the same mesh. If you want to merge edges of various meshes, you must apply the combine showcase initially.


To summarize, this showcase merges 2 or additional primitives into a single one. This function, yet, is quite rarely utilized in 3D Printing. Even if it is utilized, it’s with the purpose to optimize the version’s mass (Mb, Gb).

The merge function is not always necessary. If we don’t use it, we save time that we normally waste on merging 2 or additional primitives. The printing software does not know that 2 or additional primitives have been merged or intersected only.

  • High-Poly versions for 3D printing

To print a detailed version, you require additional than only a great 3D printing device and high-high end filament. You require to turn it into a HIGH-POLY version. The additional detailed the version is, the advantageous it can appear in printed form.


To turn it into a detailed version for 3D printing you don’t require to waste your time in versioning tiny elements in the hidden parts of the version. They take a lot of time to turn it into and frequently the outcome is not worth it.

Detailing depends on the dimensions of the version to be printed. The bigger the version, the additional accurate the detailing must be. To calculate the average dimensions of your 3D version, take your print bed dimensions into consideration. If you set 0.1mm layer height for printing, the tinyest element must be at very least 4x bigger.

If you store to these recommendations, your version can print accurately, with the most detailing. In addition, pay special attention to the outer shell elements. They must have a great printing layer height. Inner shell, outer shell and infill must have no less than 4 layers, to avoid damaging the version when processing after printing.

We applied all these recommendations when we printed the T-60 Power Armor 3D version and the outcome lived up to our expectations. See for by yourself.






These three recommendations for turn it intos for 3D printing are valid only to reduce the versioning time and to ensure that the outcome of the printed version does not suffer of that. If you use them, you can see that the high end of the final version is not affected, while you acquire valuable time to use for other 3D turn it into projects.


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