Designing for DLS Technology

Ready to start designing for Digital Light Synthesis technology? Use these design guidelines to begin creating products for DLS production. When you’re ready to get parts made, work with a Carbon Production Network partner or contact our team to learn about bringing Carbon capabilities in-house.

Find the Right Application

Carbon’s DLS technology is ideal for a wide range of applications, from high-value athletic equipment that delivers performance and protection to rugged automotive components that meet stringent engineering requirements.

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DLS Design Quick Guide

DLS lets you design the best parts for your product, without worrying about moldability or machinability. Like every 3D printing process, DLS has its own best practices; follow these principles to get the best results in your applications.

This design quick guide offers a multi-step workflow to help you design and evaluate parts quickly. Follow the steps below to determine whether your part is a good fit for DLS technology and identify aspects of your design that might need revision.

Table of Contents

  1. Evaluate: determine whether your project is well-suited to DLS printing.
  2. Design: consider the 3D printing process you’ll use as you design your part
  3. Optimize: improve print outcomes by refining your design.
Carbon DLS Design Quick Guide
Download the DLS Design Quick Guide as a PDF

Evaluate

Begin by using these basic guidelines to determine whether your part is a good fit for Carbon DLS technology.

Build envelope

Will your part fit in Carbon’s 3D printers? For efficient production, consider how you’ll fit multiple parts in the build volume.

M1 M2
X 141 mm
(5.6 in)
189 mm
(7.4 in)
Y 79 mm
(3.1 in)
118 mm
(4.6 in)
Z 326 mm
(12.8 in)
326 mm
(12.8 in)
Carbon M1 M2 3D printer build volume dimensions

Material properties

What mechanical characteristics do you require for your parts? What traditional thermoplastics would you usually specify?

Resin Ultimate tensile strength Elongation at break Tensile modulus Shore hardness Impact strength Heat deflection temp Comparable thermoplastic Biocompatibility: cytotoxicity
2 Part Resins CE 221 85 MPa 3% 3900 MPa 92D 15 J/m 230° C Glass filled nylon
EPU 40 9 MPa 300% N/A 68A N/A N/A TPU
EPU 41 15 MPa 250% N/A 73A N/A N/A TPU
EPX 82 80 MPa 5% 2800 MPa 89D 45 J/m 130° C 20% glass-filled PBT
FPU 50 29 MPa 200% 700 MPa 71D 40 J/m 70° C Polypropylene
MPU 100 35 MPa 15% 1300 MPa 81D 30 J/m 50° C
RPU 70 40 MPa 100% 1700 MPa 80D 15 J/m 60° C ABS or PC ABS
RPU 130 35 MPa >50% 920 MPa 100D 76 J/m 119°C Nylon 6
SIL 30 3.4 MPa 350% N/A 35A N/A N/A TPE
1 Part Resins DPR 10 45 MPa 4% 1800 MPa N/A 20 J/m 61° C
PR 25 29 MPa >15% 920 MPa N/A 18 J/m 49° C
UMA 90 30 MPa 30% 1400 MPa 86D 30 J/m 45° C

Chemical compatibility

Does your part need to perform well when used with any of these common chemicals?

Class Chemical CE 221 EPU 40 EPU 41 EPX 82 RPU 70 RPU 130 SIL 30
Household Chemicals Bleach (NaClO, 5%) E E E E E E
Sanitizer (NH4Cl, 10%) E E E E E G
Distilled Water E E E E E G
Sunscreen (Banana Boat, SPF 50) E G P E E G G
Detergent (Tide, Original) E E G E E G
Windex Powerized Formula E G G E E G
Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2, 30%) E F F E E F
Ethanol (EtOH, 95%) E P P G F P
Industrial Fluids Engine Oil (Havoline SAE 5W-30) E E E E E E E
Brake Fluid (Castrol DOT-4) E F F E E P
Airplane Deicing Fluid (Type I Ethylene Glycol) E E E E
Airplane Deicing Fluid (Type I Propylene Glycol) E E E G
Airplane Deicing Fluid (Type IV Ethylene Glycol) E E E E
Airplane Deicing Fluid (Type IV Propylene Glycol) E E E G
Transmission Fluid (Havoline Synthetic ATF) E E G E E E E
Engine Coolant (Havoline XLC, 50%/50% Premixed) E E E E E E
Diesel (Chevron #2) E P P E E E F
Gasoline (Chevron #91) E P P P
Skydrol 500B-4 E P P E G P
Strong Acid/Base Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4, 30%) E P F E E P
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH, 10%) E E E E E E
Note: Due to variability in part geometry and level of exposure in actual use, it is required that adequate validation is done for production applications.
KEY RATING GAIN* DESCRIPTION
E Excellent < 5% The solvent is unlikely to degrade the material during prolonged exposure
G Good 5% – 15% The solvent is unlikely to degrade the material during short-term exposure
F Fair 15% – 30% The solvent will likely degrade the material during short-term exposure
P Poor > 30% The solvent will likely attack and aggressively degrade the material when exposed
* Percentages are percent weight lost after a 1 week submersion per ASTM D543. This is only a value of weight lost and not representative of changes in dimension or mechanical properties.

Design

Once you have determined that your part is a good fit for DLS technology, the next step is to review your part’s features. Refer to the recommended feature sizes below to ensure your part’s printability.

Overhangs, unsupported angles, and unsupported wall thickness will inform the print orientation and support strategy for your part.

FEATURE RPU 70 RPU 130 MPU 100 FPU 50 CE 221 EPX 82 PR 25 UMA 90 EPU 40
EPU 41
SIL 30
Wall Thickness – Unsupported (mm) 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Wall Thickness – Supported (mm) 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5
Maximum Overhang (mm) 2.0 2.0 3.0 2.0 3.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 1.0 1.0
Maximum Bridge (mm) 4.0 4.0 6.0 4.0 6.0 4.0 6.0 6.0 2.0 2.0
Unsupported Angle from Horizontal (deg) 30 40 40 35 40 40 30 30 40 40
Hole Size XY (mm) 0.5 0.5 0.9 0.5 1.0 0.6 0.9 0.9 0.5 2.0
Hole Size Z (mm) 0.6 0.5 0.8 0.5 0.7 0.9 0.6 0.8 0.5 2.0
Positive Feature Size XY (mm) 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.6 0.4 0.5 1.0
Positive Feature Size Z (mm) 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 1.0
Engraving Depth / Embossing Height (mm) 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.5
Text Size, Engraved / Embossed (mm) 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.5
Clearance Between Mating Parts (mm) 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.8 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

Holes

To compensate for overcure, horizontal holes should be oversized ~0.04 mm.

Hole dimensions for 3D printing

Unsupported angles

Measured relative to the platform (XY). Unsupported angles over 40 degrees are safe for all materials.

Unsupported angle for 3D printing

Bridges

Bridges should span no more than twice the recommended overhang distance.

Unsupported bridge for 3D printing

Fillets

Interior corners: ~0.5 mm minimum

Exterior corners: ~0.5 mm + wall thickness

Fillets for 3D printing

Mating parts

Print mating parts in the same orientation.

Mating parts for 3D printing

Wall thickness

Walls at minimum thickness should be kept short.

Minimum wall thickness for 3D printing

Optimize

Refine your design using these guidelines to ensure dimensional accuracy, excellent surface quality, and overall performance that meets your requirements.

Issues to address before adding supports

Consider these recommendations as you design your part.

Low resolution model

Adjust export settings in your CAD software to make a smooth model.

Refine CAD model for 3D printing

Sharp corners

Add fillets or chamfers

Reduce sharp corners

Unvented volumes and blind holes

Add 2-3 mm vents or re-orient part.

Avoid unvented volumes in 3D printing

Slice islands

Islands must be supported or connected to part in order to prevent print defects.

Make sure that part features are not islanded

Non-uniform, rapidly changing or stepped wall thickness

Make wall thickness uniform, or keep changes in thickness as gradual as possible in order to minimize print defects and prevent warping during baking.

Keep wall thickness as uniform as possible

Tall, thin parts

Change orientation, or redesign to reduce part height and/or create stability.

Reorient or redesign tall, thin parts

Supports

Use Carbon’s print preparation software to add supports to your part design.

  • Check overhangs and unsupported angles using the Overhang Detection feature
  • Place supports no closer than the recommended overhang distances from part walls and other supports
  • Ensure that slice islands are supported
  • Use the Advanced Supports feature to ensure first-print success
  • Reinforce supports that are longer than 76 mm. Fences can use bar supports as reinforcement.

First-print accuracy

  • Accuracy is dependent on many factors, including:
    • Part geometry
    • Resin
    • Baking method
  • For your first print, assume accuracy of ±0.200 mm as a general guide
  • Iterate on design, orientation, and/or support structures as needed to improve accuracy