What is 3D printing?
All 3D printing technology uses the same basic principle, that is to take a digital model and convert it into a physical 3D form by building material layer upon layer. Specialist computer software takes the digital model and ‘slices’ it horizontally into layers which are then built up by the 3D printer in an appropriate material. This process is also known as additive manufacturing.
There are different types of 3D printing/ additive manufacturing technologies that build the layers in different ways and in different materials. Here is an overview of the 3D printers that we use within our service:
Formlabs Form 3
SLA 3D printers use a single-point laser (UV light) source to solidify liquid resin layer-by-layer. The brand new Form 3 from Formlabs uses new Low Force Stereolithography (LFS)™ technology to improve the printing process. It can create stunningly detailed and complex 3D prints out of resin, available in different colours including transparent.
The Form 3 is a brand new 3D printer which has now arrived - please get in touch if you have a project which requires SLA printing!
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
Sometimes called ‘material extrusion’, FDM printers work by melting plastic through a nozzle and laying in layers, building the model horizontally. The Ultimaker 3 3D printer offers superb quality, high detail and the ability to print complex designs.
Using the latest FDM technology, the Ultimaker 3 creates highly detailed 3D prints from draft to high quality, adjusting the layer thickness as required.
We can currently 3D print in Nylon, PLA and ABS plastics in a variety of colours, at the following quality settings:
High Quality: Layer height = 0.06mm (60microns)
Standard: Layer height = 0.1mm (100microns)
Fast: Layer height = 0.15mm (150microns)
Draft: Layer height = 0.2mm (200microns)
The printer also features dual nozzle extrusion, which allows the use of specialist support material from the second nozzle to act as a support structure for complex designs that may otherwise be unprintable, and also allows the printer to combine 2 different colours on the same model.
If you have a digital model that you need 3D printing, please don't hesitate to get in touch:
These are typically in STL or OBJ format, but we can accept a variety of different formats and convert them if necessary.
We can also offer a range of post-processing options to complete your model, such as painting and finishing, or can integrate 3D printed parts into traditionally made models - please visit the modelmaking section for examples.
architecture - engineering - animation - VFX - product design - sculpture - art - medicine
just a small selection of industries which are now benefiting from 3D printing and model making!