How to Orient a 3D Printed Part for Smooth Finishing

This tutorial will show you the best practices for orienting a part in order to achieve a smooth finish.

  1. Step 1:

    When orienting a part, consideration must be given to surface finish. This is due to the process of slicing the part in increments. Better surface finishes will be achieved by building the surface in the xy plane. Any surface built in the z-axis will be stepped. If the part was built as orientated in Figure 1, poor surface finish along the angled surface would be visible.

  2. Step 2:

    Slice the part (Figure 2). Once sliced in this orientation, stepping is visible along the angled surfaces. This will produce a rough surface.

  3. Step 3:

    Rotate the part around the x-axis (Figure 3). By rotating the part, surface finish will greatly improve on the finished part.

  4. Step 4:

    Slice the file again. Notice angled surface is now being built in the xy plane (Figure 4). This will produce a smooth finish.

  5. Step 5: Conclusion

    Consideration of the surface finish is very important when orienting a part. Depending on the orientation of your part, you can have very rough or very smooth surface finish. It is important to follow the best practices in order to get the smooth surface you desire.