Using FDM® technology to build complete assemblies gives designers greater design
freedom and eliminates the time required to assemble separate parts.

The use of FDM technology enables:
• Internal moving parts
• Functional mechanisms

When designing an assembly with FDM technology, proper clearance between mating
and rotating parts is required to allow for an accurate fit and function. The design of the part and build orientation both play an important role.


1.1. Orientating Parts for Assemblies

Before making design alterations it is important to have a strategy for the build
orientation. Orientation of the mating components can affect the fit of the
assembly and will determine the necessary clearances.

To achieve the most accurate fit, it is critical to position all mating components
in the same manner relative to the XYZ axis (Figure 2). Choose an orientation
for the entire assembly and build all components in the same orientation, as if
they were assembled. Orient the mating surfaces in the X/Y plane whenever
possible. The X/Y plane is the most accurate plane and is thus the best plane
to orient critical mating surfaces.

1.2. Design

Once the build orientation has been selected, the proper clearance can be
designed into the part. This can be accomplished with the use of 3D computer aided
design (CAD) software, STL editing software, or Insight™ software.  There are different clearance requirements based upon the FDM system and the alignment of the assembly features in the build.

For more information in this best practice, download the full document here.

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