FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?
3D printing is the process of producing a physical three dimensional object from a three dimensional digital model, usually by building the object one layer at a time. Also known as additive manufacturing.
HOW DO FDM PRINTERS WORK?
FDM printers use a filament of material on a spool as its raw material, this is fed through a heated nozzle where it emerges in a molten state. The nozzle is mounted to a gantry that moves side to side and back and forth depositing a layer of plastic. Once a layer is complete, the build plate moves down by the layer height specified and the next layer laid down. Other mechanical set-ups do exist.
HOW DO SLA PRINTERS WORK?
SLA printers use a vat filled with resin that has a see-though membrane on its base. A laser is shone at the resin through the base to cure it. Beyond the first layer, each successive layer is bonded to both the layer before and the base of the vat, the build plate rises and sheers the cured resin from the vat base. Other mechanical set-ups do exist.
HOW DO I DESIGN?
There are many options available if you are looking for something in particular, there are websites such as thingiverse, youmagine and cgtrader where you can download other people’s designs or you can create your own using CAD software. Other methods of design include producing a sculpture which could be scanned or a two dimensional drawing which can be printed as a thickened version.
CAN YOU DESIGN FOR ME?
Yes we can design for you. We use SolidWorks to produce our designs.
WHAT FILE FORMATS CAN YOU PRINT FROM?
We print from .stl and .obj files but can accept nearly any 3D CAD file format.
DOES RESOLUTION AFFECT THE PRINT?
Yes, a .stl file is a mesh file made up of small flat polygons, the more polygons, the better the resolution and more curvature but this will also increase the file size.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM SIZE OF A 3D PRINT?
This is a common question and the answer is changing as we get in new or different printers. This said, it is always possible to break large objects into smaller ones which in some cases can help reduce the cost of printing and in others reduce post printing work, removing support material. We have two great examples in the shop of a T-Rex skeleton which is 61cm in length and the Eiffel Tower which is 61cm tall, both printed in parts.
WHERE IS YOUR SHOP?
We are situated on Seabourne road, near the Way Outback Brewing Company in Southbourne, 10 minutes walk from Pokesdown train station and along the main bus route from Bournemouth to Christchurch. We have short stay parking near the shop, if there is no space, there is a car park around the corner. Our address is:
136 Seabourne Road
WHAT ARE YOUR OPENING HOURS?
We are not open for drop in visits, we found that this interfered with our work too much. If you would like to visit the shop to discuss your ideas, please get in touch and request an appointment.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PRINT SOMETHING THIS SIZE(ISH)?
The simple answer is we don’t know until we have your file to take a look at.
Prices for SLA, FDM and Full Colour Sandstone are all calculated differently and the one that is cheapest is usually more dependent on your model than the printer type.
If price is of concern but model size is not, scaling your model down by a small amount can often reduce the price significantly.
IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD BE AWARE OF WHILE DESIGNING?
Yes, like with any manufacturing method, there are requirements of the design in order to 3D print an object. Design requirements are mainly down to the machine type and to list the requirements here would take up a lot of space. We will attempt to get some guidelines onto our website in the near future but for now if you have any questions regarding design requirements, please feel free to get in touch.
It is not possible to print all .stl files. While we do check your files for holes etc as standard, some have problems that we cannot fix and we need to ask you to do further work. It is very important while surface modelling to ensure that all of the surfaces are orientated the correct way round and that they are all knitted together. Different CAD packages do this in different ways but if the file is not water-tight, it will not print!