To print, we need files in either an .stl or .obj format. Most CAD packages should be able to handle this. Sketchup Pro needs the addition of an .stl add on,
Our machines can print to just over 200*200*200 mm, but a typical item printed to take full advantage of this volume would take some 30-50 hours to print out.
- For recent eight hour prints, we have been dealing with objects measuring 90*70*45mm (a toy), or 110*55*25mm (a relatively uncomplicated architectural model)
- 2 hours could involve a toy of 50*40*25mm or the architectural model of 60*30*15
- We can speed printing by switching to a coarser nozzle, which can give perfectly decent results for many jobs.
- For more delicate results, we can switch to a finer nozzle, which will double print times.
- If you need to print above 200mm on one dimension, it is possible to divide a job for printing purposes.
We normally print in PLA, which is a biodegradable plastic optimised for 3D Printing (good surface finish etc). If you need an item which will go into a serious working environment, then we can offer other materials, including a filament which is 20% carbon fibre.
Layer depth can be as fine as 60 microns. On the x/y axis the limit is probably around 250 microns (
- fine lettering gets increasingly difficult as we scale down)
When designing, bear in mind
- Overhangs of more than 30% may involve support “scaffolding” which can lead to slightly blemished surfaces
- However, we can now use an Ultimaker 3 which allows us to wash away scaffolding at the end of a print job. This gives us much improved surface finishes - at the cost of some loss of time
- Stable printing is helped if a design has a substantial base. Tall items on an insubstantial footprint can slip out of vertical when printing, at which point the prints have to be aborted.
- One subtle issue is that designs done at real-life dimensions (several metres and upwards) which are then scaled down for printing can sometimes become unprintable because elements become too fine for printing. If we’re using our standard .4mm nozzle, elements should be bigger than that (walls, columns etc).
- If this happens, you would need to tweak your design to make it printable.
Prices are negotiated around the length of time a print will take, and on how much help you need on your design. Post and Packaging are extra
- Reflecting our social goals hobbyists and students are given a discount.