3D Printing Services
FDM 3D Printing Services
3D Printing With FDM
FDM 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology. In simple terms, it lays down a melted layer of plastic layer by layer until the model is complete. One of the main downsides to FDM printing is overhangs; these require support material and can leave an undesired finish. This is something to consider when designing your part.
Layer lines are something to consider with FDM 3D printing. All our models are printed at .2mm layer height and generally create a very smooth finish.
Designing your model for 3D printing comes with things to consider. Overhangs need to be printed with support structures and can leave a scared finish.
SLA 3D Printing Services
3D Printing with SLA
SLA 3d printing is fantastic for prototypes; it creates an almost injection moulded look and feel to models. Your parts will always need to be supported during the printing process and can leave tiny scars on the surface. Printed parts are easy to sand and remove these scares. SLA printing is not really suited to parts that need to be used in functional situations.
SLA 3D printing, in most cases, needs to be printed with supports. The model is 3D printing in resin which is not able to support the model.
Due to the supports needed in the printing process, there will always be very slight scars left from the support material. These can removed with light sanding.
Are 3D Printed Parts Stong?
Yes! We only print with nylon; your part will be strong, usable and functional. You really can use our printed parts every day! Compared to FDM printing our 3D Printed parts are strong in every direction.
Like with everything there are limitations, like the wall thickness of your part or the location it’s going to be used in. Is there extreme heat? Does it need to hold fluids? Does it need to be flexible etc.?
See our “How Strong Are 3D Printed Parts” blog for more information.
Is 3D Printing Good For Mass Production?
Our 3D printing services can certainly produce 1000’s of items but, can it take over from traditional manufacturing techniques? That’s hard to say really. It all depends on what the part is, how big it is, how complex it is, the expected demand etc.
3D printing doesn’t require any expensive tooling or CNC machining. It can produce complex items in larger volumes that traditional methods would struggle with. That being said, if you needed millions of parts, then traditional manufacturing is what you need.
How SLS 3D Printing Works
We use SLS for our 3D printing services, but what is SLS?
SLS stands for Selective laser sintering, what is that? it basically uses high powered lasers to fuse and melt nylon particles to create incredibly strong parts, with little to no layer lines visible.
In simple terms, the printing process works by spreading a very thin layer of nylon powder across a platform in the heated chamber. Using the laser it fires the pattern of the print onto powder and fuses it all. The platform then drops and completes the whole process again until the part is complete.
SLS allows you to nest your parts and utilise the entire volume of the print area.
Is 3D Printing Expensive?
It all depends on what you need? SLS printing is generally more expensive than say FDM, but FDM can not produce the same quantity in one go as SLS.
SLS can use nesting, meaning the whole square printing area can be used. With FDM printing, you can only use the flat area of the bed. SLS requires no support material, it uses the surrounding powder as it supports. Any unused powder can be recycled and used again.
SLS produces a more injection moulded finish and truly functional parts. If you need fast batch production, ready to use parts then SLS is the only solution. Other than cost injection moulding
3d Printing vs Injection Moulding
First off, both produce fantastic finishes for parts and prototypes. But they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
3D printing is generally better for very complex parts. 3D printing allows for instant changes to your design, this means you don’t need to reinvest in new tooling. 3D printing is perfect for bridging the gap between millions of parts or just needing 1000’s and allows you to create a functional one-off prototype.
Injection moulding is great for high volume production runs and can be the most cost-effective solution for needs. It also leaves a perfect finish, our 3D printing services can get close with Vibro polishing but it will never quite match injection moulding. Injection moulding does come with much higher startup costs, but if you’re making millions of parts, this is the right choice.
Advantages of our 3D Printing Services
Fast turnaround time – Using are 3D Printing Services means, no waiting time for imports. No waiting for tools to be made and no accosiated cost compared to injection moulding. Our 3D Printing service is much cheaper than injection moulding! This means more flexibility when working on prototypes.
No Minimum order – You can order just a one-off of your item or a small run. This is perfect if you are prototyping a product. You can test the design and make the necessary improvements. It also works for architects’ and designers that want a scaled model.
Batch production – We offer one off prototypes or batch production runs, it really depends on what your goal is. Batch production is the most cost effective method.
Low Cost – There are no tooling costs, no stock holding. The models are lightweight and cheap to transport. All these cost savings add up to save you money.
Improved Quality – Traditional manufacturing methods can be poorly executed. You can also be committed to large quantity orders. The 3D printing technology means that the most complex geometries can be accurately reproduced every time.
Product development control – Having a design on screen, as an STL model or even a 3D scan is completely different to looking at a physical product. If you have an idea you can see how your product will look. Giving you the opportunity to redesign any flaws.
Less Waste – Additive manufacturing is very precise. There is little to no waste involved in this process. Unlike CNC milling or injection moulding. This cost saving passes onto your business.
Not quite ready for 3D printing?- Do you need a part reversed engineered or 3D scanned before it’s 3D printed? Check out are other services and see how we can help.
Where Is SLS 3D Printing Used?
Rapid Protyping – Rapid prototyping could be one of the best uses for 3D printing, it allows you to save time and money. You can print, test and highlight any issues, fix these issues, reprint then test again.
Batch Production – Batch production is another use for our 3D printing services. It allows you to produce many copies of one or many parts in the same print. It’s cost-effective and leaves you with fully functional parts. It also bridges the gap between injection moulding.
Prosthetics – Prosthetics is another industry 3D is becoming more widely used. Prosthetics are expensive but using 3D printing it can greatly reduce the cost.
Technology – 3D printing in the technology industry allows for rapid prototyping of an idea and can reduce the development costs before mass production. 3D printing is also allowing for bespoke accessories to be produced or reproduction of OEM parts.
Drones – Drones are another great example of 3D printing. Many people are customising their drones, and require 3D printing services like ours. They need strong functional parts but only need small numbers or one-offs, that’s where 3d printing can really shine.
Many drones are built for a specific task, our 3D printed parts are strong enough straight from the printer to be used straight away.
Maybe a company needs to prototype their concept before mass production, 3D printing greatly reduces that cost and allows them to make any design changes before mass production.
Automotive- 3D printing can give the automotive industry the freedom to create and see their concepts come to life fast. It’s helping the industry reduce its costs in prototyping and development. By taking advantages of 3D printing technology designers can get really creative and actually see if their concepts are viable.
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