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What is 3D printing?

To start 3D printing, the first thing you need is to have a virtual representation of what needs to be 3D printed, also called a 3D model. There are three commun ways to make such file:

 

  1. Make it in a CAD software

  2. 3D scan an existing part

  3. Download the file from the internet

 

Once you have the file, you can view and arrange your object in the 3D printers' software. When you are satisfied with the scaling and the print settings, you can just hit print!

To make an object in three dimensions, your 3D printer will actually slice the file to make many two dimension patterns. Why does it need to make 2D slices? The 3D printer draws these slices (patterns) one on top of the other. The patterns are all slightly different from one another. that is why it is possible to make almost any shape.

The process described above is called additive manufacturing. For 3D printing, there are many technologies and many different ways to make the layers. 

 

Most of the 3D printers we sell use a technology called FDM (fused deposition modeling). This technology is the most simple and the most accessible out there. The way FDM makes its layers is by melting a thermoplastic filament. 

 
 
Prototypes and product development

3D printing has helped many companies make prototypes and develop new products with huge savings. Forget about machining, molding or extruding! 3D printing is the best solution for research and development.

Functional parts and mock-ups

With all the materials and 3D printers we have available. We can print objects that are functional and that can be used in tough environments. 3D printing also allows mock-ups to be made for buildings, machinery, height maps, demos, etc.

Replacement parts

Bring back the old and the unique objects that are so expensive or so hard to find. 3D printing is a great way to make a replacement part for something you can't find anymore or something that costs a lot more money than they should.

Modify an existing object

If you have an object but you would like to change something about it, 3D printing can help you out. We can do almost anything once we have the 3D model of an object. We can make it bigger, smaller, stronger, customized, branded, etc. We can also print it in another material.

Production

We can now take your part into production using 3D printers. You can always 3D print an object and make a mold out of it but sometimes, you can make your actual production parts right out of a 3D printer. Some of our printers can make parts very affordably and efficiently. 

*Pictogrammes brought to you by the thenounproject.com

For our 3D printing services, we use FDM for small projects but we usually use other, more professional technologies such as SLA, SLS and DMLS. How do these powerful technologies make their layers? 

 

SLA 3D printers use a laser and a liquid resin. The laser is usually in the ultraviolet spectrum and reacts with the resin to make it hard.

 

SLS and DMLS 3D printers also use a laser but the laser is used to fuse together a powdered material. The 3D printer adds a thin layer of particles and the laser makes a pattern to harden selected parts of the layer. DMLS is used for metals and SLS is used for plastics and other materials.

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