Printing Strategy for Dental Models in a Horizontal Orientation

  • Application: Dental Model
  • Material: CURO Model
  • Layer Thickness: 70 μm
  • Software: Alpha 3D

Dental Model Orientations

There are three positions in which you can print Dental Models:

  1. Horizontal – Printing horizontally is faster to prepare, faster to print if it is only one Dental Model, and is the most accurate, but it takes up the most space on the build platform.
  2. Angled (10-15°) – Printing at an angle takes more time to prepare and more time to remove the supports during the finishing phase. If you are printing a hollow object and have not added weep holes, you can print the model at an angle to allow resin to escape.
  3. Vertical – Printing vertically is the fastest way to print when there is more than one Dental Model, but it takes the longest time to set up and is the slowest to print if it is only one model.

When should I print a horizontal dental model?

The horizontal orientation (i.e. flat) is the easiest to print because it is easy to set up, it prints quickly, and it usually does not have any supports to remove. It prints accurately enough for clinical applications. For these reasons, most users in labs or clinics print most objects horizontally. More specifically, it is best to horizontally print solid models and models for fit-testing other applications, such as surgical guides or splints.

When should I use a different orientation?

Supports on the underside of your model may be necessary on hollow objects. If the model has only a shallow hole, that may cause print problems. Additionally, hollow objects can trap resin under the print, causing the print to fail or have small holes where heat or resin bursts through.

Therefore, we do not recommend printing hollow models in a horizontal orientation. If you do print a hollow object, you must add holes to your design to allow excess resin to escape from the print. In this type of situation, it is better to print your object in an angled orientation (or with supports).

To maximize production, we recommend printing in a vertically orientation. This is especially true when printing on the Diplo 3D printer, which is specifically designed for vertical printing.

Print Analysis

Critical Areas – Do Not Add Supports

The most important parts of the print are the teeth, especially the occlusal surfaces, any die holes, and the gingival areas. Alpha 3D can easily identify these sections on your model in all orientations and try to avoid putting supports here. The supports are not necessary in these places in the horizontal orientation, unless there is an overhang because a tooth is in an unusual position.

Intended Support Area

When printing in a horizontal orientation, the entire bottom of the part is directly on the build platform. No supports are necessary when printing solid models but any scratches on the build platform will be visible on the bottom of the print.

Note: The model and print area shown in Alpha 3D is actually inverted on the printer. It is easier to see and work with your model in this perspective, but the object is printed from the bottom up during the print process.


  1. Put the model in a horizontal position.
  2. Select the model, open the Orientation panel, and click the Select Base button.
  3. When your cursor is over the object, a red arrow appears, showing the direction of the base.
  4. Click the flat base to to put the model directly on the build platform.

Warning: The first layer must be flat and cover the complete base of any print in a horizontal orientation. You can use the View Slider function to make sure the first layer extends to the boundary of the print.

Tip: Use the zoom function to view the alignment of the object and the build platform and make sure they are parallel


Solid Models – No Supports

Supports are not necessary when you are printing solid models with a flat base and in a horizontal orientation. You must make sure that the base is flat, complete (i.e. no holes), and that it extends to the boundaries of the model.

Tip: Click Manual Support and use the View Slider to find the lowest points of the model. Make sure it covers the complete base area of the model.

Hollow Models – Supports on the Bottom

Supports must attach to the lowest points inside hollow models.

  • Point Size: 0.6 – 1.2 mm
  • Elbow Size: 0.9 – 1.8 mm
  • Bottom Size: 1.5 – 2.5 mm


When the models that you want to print are in place:

  1. Select your Printer Model, Material, and Layer Thickness, and save the print job.
  2. Click the Printing Setup button to open the Printing Setup window and make sure the settings are as follows:
  3. Select your printer on the Printer Model dropdown list.
  4. Select CURO Model on the Material dropdown list.
  5. Set the Layer Thickness. We recommend a layer thickness of 70 micrometres if you are using a FreeShape printer, or 0.075 mm if you are using a Diplo or Ackuray printer.
  6. Click the Print button to open the Print window and save your model as a print file. The top of the windows shows your Printing Setup settings.
  7. Key in a Job Name.
  8. Click the Save button to save the name and settings.

Alpha 3D slices the model into layers and creates the print file. When the process is complete, it shows the IBF file in a window. You can now send this IBF file to your printer and start the printing process.

Warning: Alpha 3D shows a warning if the model is not attached to the build platform. Set the Z position to a negative value on the Layers panel.


When the printing process is complete, you must clean, dry, and remove the print supports.

  • Cleaning Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol (95%)
  • Ultrasonic Cleaner or Soak Time: 2 minutes
  • Suggested UV Oven: Ackuretta UV Oven
  • Suggested UV Oven Time: 2 minutes on the bottom side; turn the print over; 4 minutes on the top side.