Common questions & answers

Let us answer some common questions you might have about 3D scanning and printing services.

3D Scanning FAQ's

Not sure if 3D scanning can help you? Not sure if your object is right for 3D scanning?

We’ve got some answers to common questions that might be useful. 

We use structured light 3D scanning here at Surface Scan, but it does come with a few limitations. Don’t worry though, we have ways of getting over most issues. 

Need more info? Check out our 3D scanning services page.

Maybe you already have the 3D scan data and need another service?

Here is a more detailed explanation of what’s involved in conducting a 3D scan.

Let’s say you wrapped an object in clingfilm and it took the form of that shape and every tiny detail. You then remove the object without altering the clingfilm, you’re left with the exterior shape of your object, a mesh or point cloud. This data can then be used for various purposes.

Most files we send are in the format of an STL or an OBJ.

If we’ve reversed engineered your data it will normally be sent as either a STEP or IGES file.

Generally, we’ll send your data over secure servers or using a portable storage device, whichever works best for you.

Absolutly, we offer a complete mobile service.

Yes, not a problem. Just bear in mind the postage costs and how big yor object is.

Scanning shiny or dark objects can be tricky for most 3D scanners. The way around this is to coat the object with a non-reflective spray. Don’t worry though, it’s residue-free and self-evaporating, so no cleanup is required. 

We use 3D scanners that scan using structured light. It basically projects a pattern onto the surface of the object and cameras data.

Have you handmade a prototype? Do you need to reverse an old mould? You want to create custom car parts? The list goes on, but it all comes back to creating a digital 3D model of your object. 

If we haven’t answered all your questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist. 

3D Printing FAQ's

Let us answer some of the questions people have when it comes to 3D printing. If we don’t cover all your questions, take a look at our 3D printing services page for more detail and to get your order started.

Our SLS printing service is a fantastic technology. It can print moving parts in one go, and there are no support structures needed. The parts are strong because of the way they are printed and the process they go through. 

All parts are printed with Nylon PA12.

Selective laser sintering or SLS uses lasers to fuse PA12 nylon powder together, it’s a bit like painting with lasers. We take your model, slice it with our software and build it up layer by layer.

You can save money when 3D printing by nesting your parts. What is nesting? 

Let’s say you have a bowl and you printed that on its own, that’s not an issue, but what about all the space inside the bowl? Why not stack the 2 bowls together with a 1.5 mm gap or place another model that fits inside the bowl? That is nesting. Our prices are worked out by the square cm, not by the shape of the model.

We recommend a tolerance of around 0.2 mm for moving parts, any closer and you run the risk of the parts fusing together.

2 mm is around the right size.

1 mm wall thickness is good, but we can go down to 0.5 mm. The thinner your parts are designed, the greater the risk of your parts not printing.

Our current maximum print size is 480 x 480 x 480 mm for FDM and 90 x 130 x 130 mm for SLS. 

In the Z axis it is + or – 0.075mm, in XY axis it is + or – 0.1 mm. These figures can change depending on the complexity of the model.

If we haven’t answered all your questions, please contact us and we’d be pleased to assist. 

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We’re ready for your enquiry. Please fill out the form, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible or give us a call, which ever suits you best.

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