Illustrationsbild top Gründe
The top reasons why a project fails

Common sources of errors in 3D printing: how to avoid them

Did you know that it is often difficult to get the right information about a part's 3D printing requirements? Often important details are overlooked, which later lead to the failure of the project. In our article, we'll take a close look at this problem and explain what the most common reasons are so you can avoid them.


3D printing has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, as it is possible to produce complex parts quickly and cost-effectively. However, quite a few 3D printing projects fail due to these sources of errors:

Read the following sections to see why these issues are important.

The wall thicknesses must fit the additive manufacturing technology chosen

3D-Druck Metall-Bauteil topologieoptimiert Lattice-Struktur

One of the most common sources of error why 3D printing projects fail is inadequate attention to wall thicknesses. This can result in the part not being printable, or not having the required strength. Please keep this in mind with any design.

The minimum wall thickness varies by material and technology, but for many additive manufacturing processes it is around 1mm. A general rule: the harder the material, the lower the minimum wall thickness can be.

Required wall thicknesses for frequently used technologies:

  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) materials PA12, PA-GF or PP plastic: 1 mm
  • Stereolithography (SLA): 1 mm
  • Selective laser melting (SLM), metals: 1 mm

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), material metals: min. 1.2 mm, ideally a multiple of 0.4 mm (size of nozzle). Thick wall thicknesses offer significant advantages in the sintering process. Often, smaller wall thicknesses are also possible. However, this is strongly dependent on the selected material and the component geometry. Please make an individual inquiry in each case, we will be happy to clarify this.

Misconceptions about tolerance levels can doom 3D printing projects to failure

Ausmessen der Genauigkeit eines 3D-Druck Bauteils

Tolerance values are important to ensure the functionality and accuracy of fit of components. They indicate which deviations are permissible compared to the planned dimensions. If the tolerance values are not observed, problems may arise with the assembly of components and with their functionality.

If exact tolerance values are required for a component, you must include this information with the order. Tolerance values in 3D printing are subject to different conditions than in traditional manufacturing methods.

In this blog post, you will learn what tolerance values 3D printing can meet: Tolerance values in 3D printing

Requirements not mentioned can make a 3D printed part unusable

Since many customers are not yet well versed in 3D printing, the risk to a project from requirements not mentioned is great. If you know the desired technology-material combination and are familiar with 3D printed part design, you can easily order your parts through a Jellypipe store in the configurator.

If you are unsure, we need all the details to understand exactly how and where the part will be used later. This is necessary so that we can recommend a suitable material-technology combination:

  • Quantity: Is a single part needed or is a series planned (may have an influence on the choice of technology).
  • Properties: What is important, necessary, e.g. chemical resistance, high accuracy on a surface, a specific color
  • Environmental conditions: Will the part be exposed to strong pressure, great heat/cold, or weather?
  • Material / technology: what is desired, if you already have an idea of it
  • Data: Component, image, CAD files, a 3D print file, include everything available.
  • Additional information: Mention everything that is important for the use of the component or for the project.

In addition, for metal 3D printing orders, we recommend always making an individual request for larger quantities or volumes. Additive manufacturing of metals is much more demanding than plastics.

If you provide the above information, your project will also be a success.

Lack of material knowledge as a source of error

Lack of knowledge about the available 3D printing materials can also lead to the failure of a project. It is important to learn about the properties and possible applications of the different materials in order to select the right material for the planned project.

In this post, you will read how to find the appropriate material: How to find the right 3D printing material

Faulty 3D print files that cannot be printed like this

3D print files with errors cannot be printed. These can be, for example, 3D scans that have not been prepared cleanly, a file resolution that is too coarse, no "watertightness", i.e. the component is not self-contained, etc. It is important to check the 3D print files carefully before placing an order. If you are unsure, please ask first.

3D printing service provider that delivers inferior quality

Additive manufacturing is a young technology. There are very many suppliers, especially for technologies such as FDM, where the printer purchase is relatively inexpensive. So we hear again and again of cases where people thought they were getting a "bargain". In retrospect, however, it turned out that the quality was completely unusable.

Remember: components that are used in industry or mechanical engineering require a much better quality than, for example, toys or the like. Accordingly, it makes sense to order the 3D printed parts from a professional. Your advantage with Jellypipe: in our online calculator, the prices of several professional suppliers are automatically calculated and you get the cheapest result and the required quality.

Read more about how Jellypipe ensures quality in the print factory here: Interview with Markus Grimm, Chief Virtual Printfactory

Avoid the mentioned 3D printing errors

If you consider the most common mistakes mentioned in the text before your next order, your project will also be a success. Talk to one of our Solution Partners or make an individual inquiry if you are unsure. We will be happy to help you at any time.

We are looking forward to your project.

Your Jellypipe Team

Read more?

Find more exciting topics about 3d printing here:


Markus Grimm
Chief Virtual Printfactory

Newsletter subscription

Stay up to date with our newsletter.