Crucial Mistakes to Avoid in 3D Design

The ability to create 3D models and then “print” them with today’s modern tech has opened new horizons in manufacturing, medicine, and countless other sectors. While you can improve your 3D designs with Solidworks and other similar programs, many beginning designers find their results not living up to expectations due to some simple mistakes. Here are some mistakes you must avoid in your design process to achieve quality outcomes.

Wrong Material Specifications

No two material types are exactly alike. Certain products are strong and solid, while others are light and flexible. Because of this, designers must account for the individual attributes of the materials they plan to print. Design principles that work for steel won’t work for plastic, and so on.

Do your research so you are aware of the recommended design specifications and any special adjustments needed to print your object. Be especially mindful of wall thickness, as walls that are too thick or too thin will be more likely to break or crack.

Bad Print Tech

Not all 3D printers are created equal. In fact, different printers are generally required for different materials. Printing alumide is significantly different than printing steel or resin. Even seemingly similar materials (like gold or silver) can vary in their printing methods and requirements.

Because of this, it’s not enough to merely understand the material specifications for your design. You must also make sure that your 3D printers are properly equipped to handle the materials you’ll be working with. Otherwise, even the best of designs will go to waste.

File Resolution Mishaps

3D designs are generally exported into a file format known as STL. As with any other file format, project designs can be exported in a wide range of resolutions. Similar to the physical attribute of wall thickness, you need to find the “just right” balance to ensure that your file resolution generates the desired results.

If the file resolution is too low, the printed object will have a pixelated look and a rougher surface. Too high of a resolution, however, will often result in an extremely large file size that includes intricate details that today’s printers aren’t equipped to handle. For best results, choose a middle ground that keeps file sizes under 100 MB and tolerance definitions around .01 mm.


With the right preparatory work, you can have confidence that your 3D designs — and the resulting printed models — will fully live up to your expectations. Putting in a little extra effort now will ensure that the final result meets your needs.