189 Seabourne Road | Bournemouth, Dorset, BH5 2HH | 01202 244115

FAQ


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.

What materials do you print with?

Currently we print with ABS, PLA, Ninjaflex, Full Colour Sandstone, Nylon, PCABS, PET, HIPS and more.

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. Many people like large polygons though and it is possible to find designs like this low poly bunny rabbit.

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 old Malt and Hops pub in Southbourne, 10 minutes walk from Pokesdown train station and along the main bus route from Bournemouth to Christchurch. We have short stay parking outside the shop, if there is no space, there is a car park around the corner. Our address is:

189 Seabourne Road
Southbourne
Bournemouth
BH5 2HH

Can I customize a 3D object?

Yes, that is one of the things that makes 3D printing so great, you can have something made which is just for you without the £10,000 to £20,000 tooling cost of injection moulding.

How thick are the layers that 3d printers print?

Currently we offer three layer heights at 0.1mm, 0.2mm and 0.3mm. We charge for the time it takes to print an object and so printing at 0.2mm will take approximately half the time of printing at 0.1mm and 0.3mm will take around a third. This translates into the cost of the print. The layer height most often requested is 0.2mm.

What is support material?

Support material is a thin structure that is printed in order to support overhangs. Typically 3D printers print at 45 degrees to the horizontal with no problem at all and a lot of the time go past this but in order to ensure that parts with overhangs are printed properly, support material is put in place. The support material is made up of the same material that the model is and can be removed with relative ease depending on the design.

How much does it cost to print something this size(ish)?

The simple answer is we don’t know until we have the file. Generally, if your model allows, we will offer three prices based on three different layer heights for printing your design. These will be roughly proportional with the middle value being about half of the most expensive and the cheapest being roughly a third of the most expensive.

The other thing to consider is the scaling, reducing the size by a third can half the cost to print. The bigger the object, the bigger the variation in cost with small changes in size.

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. Some of the things to look out for are:

Wall thickness. We recommend a minimum wall thickness of 1.5mm. It is possible to go thinner than this but there will be no strength to your part whatsoever.

If you can, try to design a product that will not require support material. While this isn’t a necessary requirement of 3D printing design, it can make the difference between using a part straight off the build plate or taking days carefully removing support material and sanding to remove the marks. Issues that we have encountered with support material range from breaking the printed part to going to hospital having over-eager use of a craft knife.

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!

How much do your printers cost?

We do not sell 3D Printers, only the service of running them for you.