3D Printing - FAQs
How do I know which system and material is best for my model?
Each system has strengths and weaknesses and service companies and good bureaux are in the business to help guide you to the best technology for the job. If budget is of no concern, resin is ideal for almost any prototype, mainly because it’s more durable than powder and metal printing is probably better if mechanical parts are involved.
If your model is complex prototype it by using both the least expensive system and scale your model down a bit to reduce costs. Companies such as i.materialise and Shapeways will give you some feedback but for more comprehensive support on a ‘one to one model’ basis work with a bureau. This might turn out less expensive than the online service companies in the longer run.
How much will my model cost to 3D print?
The method of costing of 3D printed models is BY VOLUME of material used and not by the complexity of the model. So a model that is hollow and holey is less expensive than a plain solid straightforward cube or sphere. If it is hollow make sure it is holey to drain out the uncured resin or powder, and that wall thickness is above the minimum for the system/material being used.
Even a minor reduction in scale can change the price dramatically. For example, if a 100 cubic centimetre model is say £100, scale it down by 25% and the model will be approximately 60% cheaper to make! (info. from 3DPrintUK). In Sculpteo there is a slider bar for sizing which shows dynamically this dramatic shift in pricing.
Cost varies between companies for the same or nearly the same type of material because they each have their own pricing structures, support and running costs. They use different systems and offerings. It’s easy to shop around as you can set up accounts on the 3D print providers’ websites and upload your model with no obligation to order.
How can I finish my 3D printed pieces?
If printed in multi colours the company will have impregnated the bonded powder with extra fixative and no further finishing in necessary unless you want to varnish it to be glossy. Go to the 3D printing company’s forum to find the best varnish compatible with the printed material.
Nylon can be dyed and plastics painted and or sealed with acrylic paint.
Some finishing processes such as tumbling material parts including metal are offered by Shapeways etc as well as bureaux.
Why can’t I upload my design to a 3D printing website direct from Cloud9?
This is on Anarkik3D’s list of function to add to Cloud9 to make the process even more straightforward. The list is compiled from feedback from our community of Cloud9 users and our IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign was set up to enable this and other software development to be done to enhance the package.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WHEN USING THIRD PARTY SERVICES TO UPLOAD AND 3D PRINT, ANARKIK3D LTD HAS NO CONTROL OVER THE PROCESS OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OUTCOME.
If you experience any problems whilst uploading or when you receive your 3D printed model, please contact the company directly.