Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Do you sell 3D printers or material?

We sell filament for FDM 3D printers, but we do not sell 3D printers or offer any maintenance or service. Check out our filament store to stock up on the same high quality material that we run in our shop. Shipping is free for orders over $35 (arrives the next day if you're in Southern California), and you should find our pricing beats anything on Amazon.

How does pricing work?

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 into 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.

Can you make hundreds or thousands of parts?

Yes! When performing production runs, many of the pricing 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 are often insubstantial when stacked up against the savings on bulk orders. In fact, for larger orders, design optimization is often free. Book a meeting to review your product with us.

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, book a meeting 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 printers 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. Book a meeting to see if this is possible for your design.

What materials can be used?

So many! Check out our material guide for our full list of in-stock options, and inquire about any special requests.

Which 3D printing technologies do you use?

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 polycarbonate. 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.

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.

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 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 at their jobs 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, and one should almost always avoid producing solid parts.

What tolerances can you hold?

Tolerances vary significantly based on the technology and material that is used, the resolution and settings chosen, and also 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 requirements when submitting models.

What are your CAD design and consulting fees?

We love to design parts that are both perfect for your application and work well with 3D printing. Our applications engineers are experienced CAD designers with years of 3D printing experience.

Our rate is about $120/hour. If that seems reasonable to you, book a meeting to set up a free consultation.

Do you print metal?

We do not print metal.