Forums/Tutorials/3D Printing Tutorials & Tips

Hollowing out your design to reduce 3D printing costs

Rich Borrett
posted this on February 08, 2012 17:56

Reduce your 3D printing costs by hollowing out your designs.


Hollow objects are a great way to save on the cost of your part, as well as reducing weight which means cheaper shipping too.

For an example, lets check out the Pono model available for free in our showroom here.


Originally the design was to be made solid, and looked like this:
Even in Rainbow Plaster (one of the cheapest materials), this came in at $126.63. Pretty pricey for an 80mm high figurine.

Then the design was hollowed out to the required wall thickness of Rainbow Plaster (2mm), and the mouth became the drainage hole to the inside.



This reduced the build volume (and weight) of the design by 62%, creating a saving of $78.82!
Hollowing out the body also created the opportunity to add mass (on the inside) to the front of the figurine to ensure that Pono wouldn’t topple over backwards.

There are 2 important requirements to keep in mind when creating hollow designs:

  1. Drain holes: The void inside your model will be filled with loose powder during the printing process - this must be able to be removed, so you need a drain hole of at least 5mm dia to do so.
  2. Wall thickness: Please ensure the wall thickness of your hollowed model still meets the minimum requirements for that material.