Printing Solid Object without having solid Fill

Hey Everyone,

It’s my first time designing a product and I’m trying to print as cheap as possible because I’m building a prototype.

What I’ve done is made a 13" x 13" mirror frame and I’m getting quoted a ridiculous amount of money to print it. I’m assuming this is due to the item being completely solid.

It’s not essential that the product is completely solid on the inside - does anyone know of an easy way to alter the design so it only prints with a few support beams on the inside rather than completely fill? Or any other method that would work to reduce the amount of plastic

i suppose it is doable in Sketchup, but totally unnecessary! If you would print a design made in Sketchup you have to put it through a slicing-program so the printer knows what to do with it.
Every “slicer” has build-in capabilities for setting percentages of filling the solid.
If you asked a firm to print it for you, they probably have done so already to determine how much material goes into it and how much time it will take. These are probably the two most cost determining factors, besides the choice of material.
So, if i were you i would contact the firm and ask why the price is much higher than you expected. They can give you a much better answer then anyone here.

P.S. the size of the print is pretty big! This can also be the reason. It will take a big (pricy) printer to make! What you can do about that is breaking it apart in smaller pieces witch you then can assemble after printing.

13" x 13" is a big part regarding 3d printing. You can try to reduce the inner material as suggested, but the big bounding box itself maybe one reason for the price too.

I created a frame that is 13" x 13", but only 0.1" x 0.1" in cross section:


This resulted in a $9.06 print. I then created a 13" x 13" frame with a 1" x 0.25" cross section:


This costs $115.48. I also tried a 13" x 13" frame with a u-shaped channel in the back to give a hollowed out 1" x 0.500" frame:


This came in at $133.88.

This would suggest that the material volume itself is the main cost, and not the machine space that it requires.

Note: I used Shapeways laser-sintered nylon plastic for the pricing in my examples.

It would be a lot cheaper if you printed that upside down.

If it was made from 3d printed extruded plastic, you would be correct. However, the laser-sintered nylon is made from a bed of powder and orientation and disposable supports aren’t needed. Just to confirm, I uploaded the same model upside down:


Still came in at $133.88 …


I hadn’t heard of laser-sintered nylon. Is that what PleaseHelpMe is planning to use? The mention of “plastic” made me think it was to be plastic.

It could be that the machine that is big enough to do 13 inches across just gets rented at a lot higher rate than the regular sized ones. I could find a number of printers that can do up to 11 inches across, but nothing that does 13 inches (other than the ones that can 3D print very large things).

Wow you guys were super quick and helpful. Sucks that it’s going to be expensive regardless of how I do it but at least I know the quotes I’m getting are fairly accurate.

Thanks everyone!