Below The General Rules on Designing for The Best 3D Print Setting

Designing for 3D Print has its differences compared to 3D Designing for 3D Rendering or Animation. Those differences are driven by the 3D Rules of nature/physics of the physical world.


There are some basic 3D KNOWLEDGE BASE to take under consideration when designing for 3D printing.

Objects must be closed/watertight

You should always make sure that your 3D Model is closed. If you are not certain about this, you can easily check for this kind of problems by using Meshmixer or Meshlab or netfabb.

Objects must be manifold

You should always make sure that your 3D Model is manifold. Manifold in simple terms means that no edge is shared between more than two faces. If you wish to check and correct your model regarding being manifold, you can use netfabb.

Correct normals

You should always make sure that your 3D models Normal Faces are correct. This means that all the Normals on your 3D Model are pointing in the correct direction. If your 3D Model has inverted Normals we won’t be able to print because our 3D Printers cannot determine the inside or outside of your 3D Mesh. If you are not certain about this, you can easily check it and correct if necessary in Meshlab or netfabb.


Don’t forget to take into consideration the gravity when 3D Designing for 3D printing. Since your 3D Model will take a physical form it will obey to the rules of physics. This means that you should be cautious about the balance/center of gravity of your 3D Model if it needs to stand. For example If you want to 3D Print a figurine it should be able to stand on its own, if this is not possible you can 3D Design a base to keep it standing. You can easily analyze the stability of your model in Meshmixer.

Size and Wall-thickness

You should always make sure that size and wall-thickness of your 3D Model complies with minimum requirements of the 3D Printing Material you have chosen to use. You can find detailed guides on each material in our 3D Material Guide. If you are not certain about your wall thickness, you can check and correct it in Meshlab or netfabb.

Compensate for smoothing modifiers

When 3D Designing for 3D Print, keep in mind that 3D Printers don’t read smoothing modifiers. In order to achieve the same result you just have to sub-divide your mesh. Most 3D design software have the ability to sub-divide the mesh.

Polygon limit

Another important issue you need to take under consideration when 3D Designing is to keep you polygons under 1 million. 3D Models with extremely high polygon count are useful to animation and other industries but not to 3D print.

A high polygon count is needed in order to achieve a smooth and detailed result but there is no need to over exaggerate since the models are relatively small and such fine detail won’t be visible to the eye.