3D Printing Tech Tips: 3D Printer Layer Resolution vs. Print Size

What are the tradeoffs of large format 3D printers in creating large scale parts when it comes to layer resolution?

3DP Representative Mark Huebner talks with Development Engineer Joe Binka about 3D printing resolution versus size. There is a lot of focus on “how fine a print can a printer deliver”, Mark comments, “but there are other important factors to consider. What are those?” Joe explains that with smaller parts we can really push the layer resolution down into the 100 micron range and below. So, if you are really looking for a fine surface finish while using these large printers, it is easily able achievable. In contrast, when you get into larger prints, the driving factor is less about layer resolution and more about speed. We need to get this part into our hands quickly. Using the examples of the different sized gear samples, Mark asks, “You are saying this little gear part was at a 100-micron layer resolution. So what would you print this size at?” Joe answers, “This large brown gear would probably be about 0.4 or 0.35-millimeter layer resolution.” Mark follows up, “And roughly how long would it take to print something this size?” “For a part this size, once we do the work on the info we can get the print time down to about a ten hours.” Joe goes on to explain for a 100 micron layer the print time is three times the layer thickness. Therefore, there will be three times the print time (roughly 30 hours).

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