Customizable 3D Tolerance Test

by zapta, published

Customizable 3D Tolerance Test by zapta May 13, 2017
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NOTE TO SIMPLIFY 3D USERS: several users reported that S3D doesn't slice this model correctly and I was able to reproduce it, the 0.2 part is fused at about Z=10mm http://i.imgur.com/99Qa9SV.png. If this happens to you, try one of these workaround (all worked for me) 1) rotate the part on the Z axis by 90 degrees, or 2) Click the menu entry Mesh | Separate Connected Surfaces before slicing.

This thing allows you to test the accuracy of your printing process and to determine the optimal clearance between moving parts (e.g. hinges). It was inspired by this Maker's Muse video https://youtu.be/TYuLVN3YHw8 and was designed with OpenScad (source file included here).

The test allow you to test up to 7 different clearances of your choice. Each clearance is tested using a cylinder and a rod that have the specified clearance between them. After printing, examine which of the clearances resulted in free moving parts, which can be freed by breaking them in using the screwdriver slot at the bottom and which are simply stuck.


  • The model doesn't test tolerance of first layer which is typically more problematic due to 'squashing' it against the bed and always has ample clearance on the first layer.
  • The model has inside each cylinder an overhang of 45%. This is used to keep the rotating centers from falling out.
  • The clearances are measured horizontally, on the x,y plane, parallel to the printed layers. As a result, the actual clearance at the overhang sections is lower but I believe that the horizontal clearance of each layer is what matters.
  • With my 3D printing process (FFCP, PLA, S3D), I can release 0.2mm clearance but not 0.15mm clearance.

To customize this test click on the Customizer button in this page and change the model parameters.

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Are the numbers shown the clearance on both sides of the cylinders? Or is it the difference between ID and OD, so the radial clearance is half the shown value?

I'm looking at the layers before printing and seem to have an issue where the 0.2 wants to fuse a little over half way on the full joined set, i compared it to the multi and small and it appears to be fine in those. I dont know if others are having this issue as well when trying to print.


Ok, I can replicate the problem, both with S3D 3.1.1 and 4.0 (Mac version). Will look into it. Thanks.

Any chance you can post a screenshot of the simplify 3D preview screen, that shows the fusion? E.g. add to imgur.com and post here the link.

I presume that you are using the provided STL, not a customized one.

image for fused, default placement. Original stl.

image for rotated 90 deg.

**in both images 0.2 is in the upper left corner.
Simplify3D 4.0 (Windows)

Thanks TEDCF. It seems to me that it's not fused in the 90 degree orientation. Is it so? (it may be easier to examine fusions with the Feature Type coloring).

Also, have you tried the Separate Connected Surfaces command in the Mesh menu?

Yes, it is not fused at 90 deg for some reason. (If needed i can post more screen captures)

And the Separate Connected Surfaces worked great. I was able to get it printing correctly this way.

What are the settings to tweak in the slicer to make this print well?
What infill?
What layer height?
What slicers have people successfully sliced this with and had satisfactory results? What did they change to make it more satisfactory?

Nice! thanks for this

I tried the tolerance test and unfortunately, I cant get any of them to work. I even purchased the makers muse test and only .5 worked. What are the recommended settings for this type of test. All my prints generally look great. Is there something special about the infil density? layer width? number of lines? build plate temperature? flow? I do have my nozzle temp at 210 since my filament uses a slightly higher temp and looks great at 210. I am using PLA just in case anyone was wondering.

What slicer are you using?

On simplify3d for example, there is a horizaontal-size-compensation parameter that should be on zero. If positive, it bloats the print.

I don't think that the parameters you mentioned will cause any problem but other may correct me.

When you look on the sliver and the sliced model, do you see sufficient spacing between the parts?

I am using cura. Dont know if there are settings in cura that will bloat the part.

Same here, what do we do to fix?

unsure if its an issue with the model or my slicer (Simplify3D) however on the 0.2mm part with 0.16mm layers, it appears to put in some solid infil on 4 of the layers, fusing the parts together.
only fix i've found so far, is to separate non connected surfaces, so it treats each part like a separate stl

Same thing for me. on the .2mm part at .2mm layers

Simplify3D has an option to put a solid layer of infill every so many layers. "Include solid diaphragm every X layers" in the infill tab. Do you have anything there?

Similar trouble slicing here... S3D, .16m layers, and I get 6 layers of infill connecting the inner & outer parts of the .2mm test, from layers 63-68. I can't seem to get them to separate at all.

Edit: happens at .12 and .20 layer heights as well.)

Edit 2: If I go to Advanced tab & choose to discard non-manifold segments, the pieces are now separated. But now the .2 and .15 center sections print top layers, then zero infill, then back to regular infill at about the same height where the .2 was going to print solid. Not perfect, but it should serve the purpose of the design.

Might try slicing in Cura or Slic3r for comparison.

I just tried it here and didn't notice any problem.

Any chance you can export your S3D factory file and upload to a public place where I can download it?

I was able to reproduce it. Added a comment in the description with two work arounds that worked for me. All the reports so far are S3D specific and the nature of the workarounds that worked for me (e.g. rotating by 90 deg) suggests that this is a S3D issue).

I have noticed in the past other S3D peculiarities and even reported a few.

At least you had the good sense to not included that wretched "key" ! :-p

Ah, I'd been working on similar recently... Really nice Scad work :D

Happened to me last week with the Fidget Stick design. Found an existing good one after I completed mine ;-)

always the case isnt it lol

Nice OpenScad code

Thanks. ;-)

While this test most likely focuses on x/y accuracy I was curious if there were any suggested printer settings?

Should I be attempting a more fine layer height (e.g. .06 some similar rather than .2 )

Infill at zero?

I use this test to 1) evaluate my 3D printing process, 2) use the information in my designs (how much clearance to leave) and 3) tweak my 3D process for better accuracy.

In other words, I don't see value in having a special process that is not practical for regular prints just for optimizing this test (e.g. zero infill).

YMMV ;-)

Prusa i3 mk2... 0.15 layer height, 100% speed - I get all of the to turn!!

0.1 is a very tight, "friction" turn...
0.15 is a little snug, has no real z axis slack - but could be usable at times...
0.2 spins freely, with just a touch of slack in z axis - going to model a 'no assembly req'd' fidget today.

Did you use S3D to slice then?

I used Slic3r, with all default settings.

These are very good results. I can loose only down to 0.2. If I understand it correctly, if I will set 'horizontal size compensation' in Simplify3D to half of that (that is, -0.1mm), I should be able to loose all of them. Haven't tried it yet.

Does Angus from makers muse know you have posted this it was not licensed under creative Commons

since the link they provide in the description of the video you have to donate to receive the model then I don't think they know this has been posted here.

do you know that he even credited him in the description, even though he didn't publish any of makers muses files. He recreated them in Openscad

AND Angus states clearly in the comments under the video that he encourages recreating his work + has no problem with the recreations being handed out for free!

If this is truly the case I apologise.