What is 3D Printing?
We use FDM 3D Printing technology also referred to as (AM) Additive Manufacturing.
Parts are modeled in the computer using 3D CAD software, these parts are then loaded into the printer software where they are sliced into lots of layers. These layers are composed of numerical co-ordinates that tell the printer where to deposit plastic.
Molten plastic is extruded from a geared extruder and hot nozzle and deposited on the printer bed in thin ‘sausage’ like lines. This is connected to three axes that are controlled by stepper motors, which can be controlled to high precision. Each layer is built from multiple line extrusions of plastic which in turn is controlled by the print file.
FDM works on an “additive” principle by laying down material in layers; a plastic filament or metal wire is unwound from a coil and supplies material to produce a part. Thus, FDM is also known as a solid-based AM technology.
The technology was developed by S. Scott Crump in the late 1980s and was commercialized in 1990. The term fused deposition modeling and its abbreviation to FDM are trademarked by Stratasys Inc. The exact equivalent term, fused filament fabrication (FFF), was coined by the members of the RepRap project to give a phrase that would be legally unconstrained in its use. It is also sometimes called Plastic Jet Printing (PJP).
Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) is derived from corn starch and can be organically grown in field. It is also bio-degradable and can be recycled with commercial composting methods.
Poly(lactic acid) or polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable and bio-active thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States and Canada), cassava roots, chips or starch (mostly in Asia), or sugarcane (in the rest of the world). In 2010, PLA had the second highest consumption volume of any bioplastic of the world.
PLA filament is available in the following materials:
- Plastic, coloured and tranlucent
- Wood with polymer binder, different colours available
- Metal with polymer binder, copper, stainless steel
- Carbon fibre
CNC Machines usually adopt letters X, Y, Z for the axes. Our 3D Printer has a print area of:
- X = 190mm (width)
- Y = 190mm (depth)
- Z = 200mm (height)
*Larger Print Coming Soon!
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We only accept .stl files (Stereolithography). Please email us if you require CAD data to be translated into .stl file format. 3D Printing is suitable for cosmetic prototypes, form and fit testing, low product production.
We can print various models with high precision, more intricate or suspended structures require the use of support material, this applied to the model during the processing stage.
- Lead time for 3D printing can vary between 1-7 days (dependant model size)
- Maximum quantity 1 – 20 parts (smaller parts maybe produced in larger volumes)
- We stock certain filament colours, but not all as there are too many and they have a shelf life!
- We can order filament colours on customer demand