I'm quite new to 3D-printing. I need to build a curved piece with a hole pattern and I was wondering whether it was possible to print such a hole pattern accurately, with such a thin (3 mm) thickness of the piece. In the past, when I tried printing thinner pieces with holes, the piece warped and holes were not printed properly. Therefore is there any changes to the model I need to make to improve the quality of the print, or add any supports? I am using an Ender 3 Pro, with PLA.
People like PLA for dimensional accuracy. It's disadvantage is it becomes brittle, which can be an issue especially with thin prints if the application tends to bend it (applying force). Working with settings and with a 0.4 mm nozzle, typical for most printers using PLA, you can print walls as thin as 1 mm, but strength may be an issue.
To prevent warping, you need the PLA to stick to the build surface; something like a PEI tape surface. glue stick, or hair spray. Slowing down the print speed decreases warping. With a heated bed, you can print you first layer hotter (e.g. 75 °C) so that the PLA sticks well to the build surface, then use a lower temperature for subsequent layers (e.g. 60-65 °C) so that the PLA is stiffer. A level bed is also important to prevent warping. Using a brim also helps prevent warping.
Your print orientation is good for the print accuracy of your curved ends, but not as good for keeping a perfect circular shape of your holes. However, the smaller the holes the better the circular shape as long as they are large enough to print with your printer.
- Use the smallest nozzle possible to get better rounded edges on holes.
- Slow down the print speed to increase accuracy and prevent errors.
- Print it face down against the bed if possible to reduce support requirements for overhangs and increase hole quality.
- Clean the bed well, increase bed temperature, stick glue, enable brim, or add 'mouse ears' to prevent warping.
- Make sure the bed is levelled properly to prevent warping and increase finish surface quality.
- Use a 'stringing tester' to find the best temperature to print at so that you can prevent stringing between holes.
- Enable z-hop retraction to prevent stringing and errors.
- You can bore through the holes with a drill to clean them flush.
That depends on the printer, the print material and your experience level (and maybe print orientation, but that depends on the load case), but, the depicted part should be printed very well at a thickness of 3 mm (that is not really "thin"). PLA will be easier than higher temp materials like ABS and PETG, but not impossible.