What is Infill Density in 3D Printing?

Considering DMLS 3D printing for your next project? This technology excels at producing functional metal prototypes and complex parts, suitable even for small production batches. Selecting a skilled manufacturer lets you construct parts from diverse materials, including 316L stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, nickel-base superalloys, and die steel. But remember, the success of DMLS largely hinges on both the expertise of your manufacturer and the specifics of your design, particularly when it comes to infill density—the internal structure of your part.

What does infill density mean for your print?

In 3D printing, infill density is the variable that adjusts the internal structure’s shape, impacting the part’s strength, print duration, and mass. A variety of patterns are available to fine-tune these attributes, selectable through your 3D slicing software during the design preparation phase.

Unlike injection molding, which requires parts to be either fully hollow or completely solid, DMLS 3D printing builds structural patterns that partially occupy the space within the outer layers. Most 3D printing methods use infill because printing entirely solid parts is both time-intensive and expensive. However, selecting the right infill density is crucial to ensure efficient print times and material usage.

The role of infill density

Infill density dictates how much material fills the inside of your print. A higher volume of material results in increased infill density, contributing to a stronger part, particularly vital for components meant for end-use. Manufacturers can adjust infill strategically, bolstering areas that will bear the brunt of operational loads. Generally, the denser the infill, the sturdier the part will be.

Choosing the right infill density

The decision on infill density depends on factors like the chosen 3D printing method and the part’s intended use. While aesthetic models and prototypes crafted through DMLS 3D printing might use a lighter infill of about 20%, parts subject to mechanical stress often require 50% infill or more. For non-load-bearing components, a 20% infill density is typically sufficient. However, specific design elements, like a flat horizontal plane, may necessitate a higher infill to prevent sagging in the final product.

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the specifics of infill density for your DMLS 3D printing project, reach out to HLH Proto. Our DMLS 3D printing services include a complimentary product review, ensuring that your decisions are well-informed every step of the way. Contact us to start the conversation.


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