frequently asked questions

Do you only 3D print for companies and large businesses?


Most of our work is for companies, but we will work with anyone, including students.




What is infill?


When 3D printing with the FDM technology, we have the ability to produce parts that are not fully solid on the inside. This saves substantial time and money, and in many cases it will leave you with superior material characteristics. The standard infill for most working parts is 20%. It might seem that a higher infill will produce stronger parts, but solid does not equal strong. Consider bridges and beehives as an example. These structures are light weight, have high strength and stiffness, dissipate heat (to avoid warping), and would fail miserably if produced solid. Finally, it's important to note that infill patterns are only used bulky areas of your model. If you do not have bulky areas, there will be little/no effect. Taking all of this into consideration, it's very rare that an infill over 40% would be helpful in most cases.




What materials do you use?


So many!

First, we operate FDM machines, which can print a nearly endless array of thermoplastic materials, ranging from PLA (easiest/cheapest) up to aerospace grade materials like Ultem 9085. The materials featured on our website are the most commonly used thermoplastics, but we are open to 3D printing any FDM thermoplastic material on the market. Contact us for special requests (material, color, brand, or otherwise).

Next, we operate SLA machines, which work with liquid resins that are cured by a laser to produce smooth, pristine, beautiful results. Material options are more limited here given the unique way this technology works, but we can run any common Formlabs resin, as well as most odd brand resins. Our website and business primarily use Formlabs, but we do operate open source, less mainstream machines as well. Feel free to contact us about any special projects you might have. We have a talented team of artists that can make parts look showroom ready.

Finally, we use SLS (selective laser sintering) machines, which run Nylon 12. These are our highest-end machines (3D Systems SR60 machines). At this time we are only using Nylon 12. We consider this material to be one of the strongest and most well-rounded for higher-end engineering grade applications, end-use parts, and short-run productions of quality products.




Do you print metal?


We do not print metal.




What are your CAD design and consulting fees?


We are just as excited as you are to design parts that are both perfect for your application and work well with 3D printing. Our applications engineers are experienced CAD designers, and can also reverse engineer already-existing parts if you need something replicated.

Our rate is about $120/hour. If that seems reasonable to you, contact us to set up a free 30-minute consultation.




How large of a part can you print?


600x600x600 mm is our largest build volume, although we are limited in material choices at this size. PLA and PETG work well at this scale. For even larger parts, we can section them into pieces and then bond them together using a variety of processes.




What do I need to get started?


3D printers require an STL (.stl) file.

An STL (.STL) file is a digital 3D representation of a part that the machine will produce, and is available to export in any common CAD (computer aided design) modeling software. If you do not have this kind of file, contact us to see if we can make your project work.

Can we work from a photo, drawing, PDF, or a physical part to replicate?

The 3D printer cannot, but one of our applications engineers might be able to work with you to produce an STL (.STL) file, the only acceptable format for most 3D printers. Contact us to see if this is possible for your design.




How much does this cost?


We consider our pricing to be as competitive as you can find, largely thanks to the fact that we produce our products in-house versus functioning as a middleman.

There are a few elements that factor our pricing. There is the set-up time required to program the tool paths or profile that the machine will use to produce your part(s). There is the print time required from the machine, as well as the material cost associated with the print. Finally, there is the human labor needed for post processing, cleaning, and quality control.

All parts are different, and our materials range from prototyping to aerospace grade. Click here to upload models and see some pricing options for our most common materials.

When producing parts in bulk, many of these factors (like the set-up costs) are streamlined, and small parts can be as low as a few dollars each (material dependent). When looking into a bulk order, it's essential to modify the design to be perfectly optimized for 3D printing in order to achieve the best price/unit. We specialize in this. Any design fees involved (might only require a couple hours of our time) are often insubstantial when stacked up against the savings on bulk orders. In fact, for larger orders, design optimization is often free.




How long does it take to 3D print something? What is the lead time?


Lead times are given on each quote, and we always strive to beat them. For small orders, it’s often just 1-2 days.
Jobs are queued in the order that they come in, and the influx can be sporadic. If a fast turnaround is essential, the best advice we can give is to order as soon as you are ready, as this will immediately put you next in line.




What tolerances can you hold?


This is an incredibly complex answer that varies significantly based on the technology and material that is used, as well as the features and complexity of the part itself. More information can be found on each material's page, and be sure to note any specific requriments when submitting models.





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