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Texture Adds Stiffness To 3D Parts

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[Stefan] is always looking for a way to make stronger and better 3D prints. His latest experiments involve using a texture on thin plastic parts to increase stiffness. You can see the texture pattern in the banner above and the video below.

While a lot of people looked at IdeaMaker’s new texturing feature as something for cosmetics, [Stefan] thought of sheet metal products that often use bead patterns to increase stiffness and strength. Can patterned plastic be stiffer than ordinary printed plastic? Turns out, the answer is yes.

Honestly, we never realized how often you see this in sheet metal products until we saw the surprisingly long montage of everyday objects that use the technique. Everything from vegetable cans to gas tanks have some bead pattern in them.

Like sheet products, 3D printing in vase mode makes very thin objects, but — depending on the material — may flex and even deform during printing. This is especially true when using ABS or PET. The patterning helps with this problem.

Of course, if you don’t use IdeaMaker, you could still design the shape with a pattern in it, but that would be tedious in most tools. Of course, the program is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac, so maybe this is the push we need to try it.

Last time we looked at IdeaMaker, we were talking about fixing up errant STL files. We don’t think it helps with strength, but plywood looks nice patterned, too.



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