Frequently asked questions about 3d printing.
3D Printing is a process to create things. These things are built by material being deposited one layer at a time with precise positioning.
What kind of plastics can be used?
Currently ABS (lego plastic), PLA (corn/sucrose based), and PVA (water soluble) are known to work well. Other materials require more specialized equipment. We use PLA for all our printing currently.
What software is needed?
Any 3D modeling software – 3D Studio, Blender, Solid Works, Sketchup, etc. works fine. As long as it can export the model to an .STL file, which is a common modeling format.
How expensive is it?
Plastic filament ranges from $35 to $100 per kilogram. We find that the quality of the plastic plays a big part in a successful print.
Printer kits start as low as $300. Completed printers (take it out of the box and print) are generally $1000 – $3000. Industrial printers range from $15k to $500k+.
A printed object is relatively cheap itself, but time, complexity, and tools play a big part in the final cost. You may need to add cost for 3d models depending by what you need to print.
How fast is it?
The technology is still fairly new. One hour or more is common for average objects. A few minutes for simple small objects. Or many days for multi-part or large objects.
Can I do it?
Absolutely! The learning curve is a little steep (3 to 5 months of experience to get good quality prints most times). But anyone can do it if they have access to a printer.
Where can I get a printer?
Generally you order one on-line. There are many styles and options to choose from. Fill the form below for more details!
Where I can get models?
On-line – http://www.thingiverse.com is an awesome source for 3D models intended to be printed.
Or you can design your own!
How strong are the plastics you can print with?
It depends by the infill. We can print thin empty shells to 100% infill. The purpose of the object will determinate the level of infill necessary, but for display you can print with none or very little infill.
Is this as good as it gets?
Not at all. More expensive equipment offers better quality. The technology is improving rapidly and printing speed and quality are getting better all the time.
Are there limitations?
Yes. Speed is a factor. Overhangs and bridges can be problems. Keeping the printer properly tuned matters to the success of the objects. Failed prints are common. Fill the form below to talk about how to improve the chance of success when 3D printing your models.
What kind of projects do you do?
Fashion, mechanical, figurines, art sculptures, and enclosures are just a few types of projects we have already taken on. The technology is not limited to a particular industry or area.
If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below.