Design to Manufacture Series: FDM 3D Printed Snowflake Ornament

In this design to manufacture example, the team created a 3D printed snowflake ornament.

Design to manufacture is a series of projects showcasing the talents of our SOLIDWORKS and Hardware experts, as they team up to execute part 3D printing design and production. In tandem, they brainstorm part geometry, 3D model the part in SOLIDWORKS, and utilize our in-house Stratasys machines and GrabCAD Print to create the final 3D printed part.

In this article we’ll be highlighting our Stratasys FDM 3D printing service with the new F370CR. Paired up as teammates, Eric Bryant and Jake Ifft chose to create a fun 3D printed snowflake ornament using ABS M-30 material. They created an easy to print part file that is optimized for the printing speed on FDM technology and measurable in GrabCAD Print times.

3D printed snowflake ornament design process

Jake began by drawing the boundary that he wanted everything to fit inside. From there he drew the snowflake ornament body shape with a hexagon extrude, added cuts and arms with a circular pattern, and then modeled a small piece to add on. Jake then made configurations to have only one of each part showing, for use in an assembly file, copying and pasting the sketches to make the multiple instances of the small arm piece. Once that was completed, he connected all the parts with a thin extrude feature from drawn in connecting lines.

Snowflake design in SOLIDWORKS

Snowflake design in SOLIDWORKS

Reduction in print time

The TriMech snowflake files are a great example of designing with intent. The flat pack layout results in the reduction of print times. With FDM printing the same geometry oriented to be taller in the Z direction results in a time penalty. This is due to the extrusion head path and each layer being laid one by one.

Snowflake flat vs assembled

Snowflake flat vs assembled

Build time comparison

If we compare the print times of printing the assembled version vs a flat pack parts version, we find the following time information.

Snowflake flat packSnowflake assembled
Print Time59 min1 hour 20 min
Model Material (in3)0.3640.171
Support Material (in3)0.5650.463

On our Stratasys F370CR, ten of the flat pack models can fit on a build tray with a print time of 9 hours and 20 minutes. With ten of the assembled versions on the same F370CR we see a print time of 11 hours and 19 minutes.

SingleFull Tray
Assembled1 hour 20 min11 hour 19 min
Flat pack59 min9 hour 20 min
Time Savings21 min1 hour 59 min