3D printing has fast become the more popular tool for fabrication. Whether you are prototyping a design, printing custom mounting plates, custom fittings or simply having fun, 3D printing is a reliable and cost effective solution.
We have a series of both DIY and professional 3D printers. Our preferred method for functional parts is FDM or SLS printing in nylon. For more robust models there is also the option to have your 3D print in steel, alumide or ceramics, however we do not print these in-house.
Plastic wire PLA Red
Plastic wire PLA Yellow
Plastic wire PLA Blue
Designing items to be 3d printed is a very rewarding experience, to see your design go from concept to drawing to real life. We would suggest getting your own 3d printer so you can experiment through trial and error and learn how to design 3d objects for printing.
That being said we do offer printing services to those who are new to the 3D world, need prints for projects or models they are working on, or anyone who just needs something in 3D.
When printing 3D objects there will be many cases in which a new layer will cover a gap or a cavity formed by previous layers. This process is calling bridging.
Most of the time a 3D printer extrudes the material over relatively small gaps and no supports will be needed during the process. However you should always make sure that the distances that you are working with are small enough for the printer to be able to bridge a gap. Depending on the size of the gap, the material, the temperature and the volume extruded, a bead may sag in the gap. Some sagging is actually acceptable (depending on the design) as it would still provide enough support for the layers above it.
Below there are two examples of the same screw head on a different scale. At this point the printer is about to start the threaded piece.
These are separate layers of extrusions done alongside the print to be able to support over hanging parts. Unlike powder printers and SLA printers FDM printers extrude in mid-air and don’t have material to naturally support them.
When it comes to supports there are three main approaches you can take:
- Let the printing program do them.
- Design them into the drawing yourself.
- Don’t use them.
- In the example above you can see a simple 3D curve.
These figures show the boundaries of the printers. It is suggested that a 5mm offset is used to guarantee the object will fit.
Our MakeBlock Elephant 3D printer has a build volume of 180mm x 200mm x 160mm (WxDXH)
Our MakeBlock Giraffe 3D printer has a circular bed of 180mm diameter and has a build height of 300mm.
Ideally designs are made to be slightly smaller than the work volume to ensure that it will all fit in.
If an object is too large to fit in the work volume, it can be designed in parts made to be fitted together.