We're here to help
Our FAQ should get you up to speed if you're new to 3D Printing or have specific requirements for your project. For any other inquiries, we're more than happy to answer your questions via email or over the phone!
3D Printing? What's that?
3D Printing is a general term for a process that can be used to create physical objects by repeatedly combining small amounts of source material, like plastic filament. A 3D Printer creates an object by following a blueprint in the form of a 3D Model file -- just like a regular printer lays down ink, a 3D Printer will lay down source material in a precise 2-dimensional layer, and then repeat the process directly on top of the previous layer.
3D Design? What's that?
3D Design (or 3D Modeling) is a blanket term for creating a file on a computer which describes a physical object. There are many different software packages available to create 3D Models: SolidWorks, Autodesk Fusion 360, Rhino, Maya, ZBrush, ProEngineer, Google SketchUp -- to name a few. All 3D Printed objects have to first exist as 3D Models saved on a computer. Our software translates these 3D Models into a special language which 3D Printers can use to create the object in physical material. Without a 3D Model, there is no 3D Printed part.
3D Scanning? What's that?
3D Scanning is the process of transferring a physical object to a 3D Model file. Most 3D Scanners project light patterns onto a target object, and the reflected light is used to digitally gather spatial and surface detail information, which gets converted to a 3D surface resembling the physical part.
What kinds of 3D Model files can I send you?
Anything with a file extension STL, OBJ, IGES, STP, STEP is your best bet -- these are standard universal filetypes for 3D Model files. If you know that you have a 3D Model, but it's not one of those file types, feel free to send it to us or drop us a line to figure out how to convert it.
How long does 3D Printing take?
Most small or medium-sized jobs are ready for pickup within about two days. Large objects can take multiple days to 3D Print -- it is not uncommon to have a part which takes upwards of 40 hours on one 3D Printer. We do offer same-day printing; if you have an object to print and you submit an order in the morning, we'll see what we can do to rush process it same-day. It's helpful if you let us know your time constraints!
I just want a 3D Print of my idea. Why do I need 3D Design services?
A 3D Printer needs a blueprint -- a set of instructions to follow -- or else there is nothing to create. Just like an ink printer needs a text document file or a color image, a 3D Printer requires a 3D Model file. It is not possible to automatically convert a regular image to a 3D Model file; manual design is the only way to do this.
What size objects can you 3D Print?
Our maximum build volume is 10" x 10" x 12". For parts larger than these dimensions, we can section your part, print it in multiple pieces, and then join it back together for no additional charge. It's simple!
What type of 3D Printing can you provide?
Our most commonly requested material is strong and durable ABS plastic. For high-resolution parts that require a high degree of smoothness, we provide ultra high-resolution PolyJet 3D Printing. For jewelry, we provide SLA Wax and Castable Resin options.
Can you 3D Print in color?
Most 3D Printing processes are monochrome, or single-color. Depending on the material we are using to 3D Print your part, we may have multiple color options, or we may have just one or two. Please inquire about colors when you are ordering with us. If we are unable to 3D Print in a specific color, we can certainly offer airbrush painting and detail hand-painting services to change your part's appearance.
What information do you need to make my 3D Design?
If all you have is an explanation in words, no sweat -- that'll do just fine. If you DO have materials -- hand-made prototypes, drawings, dimensions, rough sketches, napkins with scribbled writing -- please share them with us at the beginning of our discussions. It saves you time!
I drew my model in 3D "perspective using AutoCAD or other sketching software. Is this a 3D Model file?
Not quite, but it's certainly helpful information and will save us time in creating a 3D Model for you.
Can you sign my NDA? I'd like to protect my ideas before I share them
We have a standard mutual NDA which we sign for customers with ideas to protect. Your ideas are always safe with us, but of course we understand the need for an NDA in some cases. Ask us for our NDA and we'll happily email it out to you, or you can come to our shop and sign one.