Q: What is 3D Printing?
It is a fabrication process where material is added to make an object.
It is the opposite of machining, grinding, sanding, cutting and
drilling where material is removed from a chunk of something to
make an object.
How does it work?
There are a number of different 3D printing technologies. We use
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), also known as Fused Filament Fabrication
(FFF). Plastic filament, which looks like weed trimmer line, is
fed into a nozzle, where it is heated until it is melted, then extruded
out like a tiny hot melt glue gun. The nozzle is moved across a
surface and a tiny line of molten plastic is extruded, like a tiny
line of toothpaste. Many lines are extruded next to each other until
the bottom layer of the object is formed. Then the surface moves
down a tiny bit and the next layer is deposited on top of the first
layer. After hundreds or even many thousands of thin layers have
been precisely applied, the object is complete and can be removed
from the printer.
How does the printer know where to put the plastic?
A computer file called a 3D model defines the size and shape of
the object. The printer is basically a computer controlled robot
that extrudes the plastic according to the computer model.
Where does this computer file come from?
You can make a 3D model with 3D CAD software, 3D sculpting software,
or you can scan an object to make the 3D model.
Why use 3D printing?
It is ideal when you only want one of something or a few of something,
especially something one of a kind or custom.
Why not make everything with 3D printing?
Right now it is slower and costs more than mass-production methods
like injection molding.
Who would want to use 3D printing?
Everyone has some need for 3D printing once they understand what
it can do. That’s why we opened this store. It can make some
types of things much more quickly and cheaply than other methods.
For example, an architect can have a model of their design to show
their client with a fraction of the work it would take to make one
the old fashioned way. Engineers and inventors can rapid-prototype
their parts and try many different versions before going into production.
You can make a replacement part for something around the house or
in your car that broke much quicker and easier than waiting to get
one from the manufacturer, if it is even made any more. Hobbyists
can make custom models for their doll houses, railroads drones and
RC airplanes. And of course the best thing about 3D printing is
endless customization. For example, a bride and groom can get scanned
and be themselves at the top of their wedding cake!
Q: What kind of plastic do you use?
We use a number of different plastic formulations. We use PLA, which
stands for Poly Lactic Acid. It is made from corn, is non-toxic
and biodegradable. The PLA we use is specially formulated for 3D
printing, and we have dozens of colors. We use ABS which is the
same plastic that Legos are made of. We have 3 different kinds of
industrial-strength Nylon and a special PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
with remarkable optical clarity in both clear and translucent colors.
We have HIPS, or High Impact Polystyrene. We have Laywoo-D3 which
has real wood in it! And we have Laybrick, which looks like masonry
when an object is built with it. We have flexible filament which
makes things that feel like rubber. We have PVA, which is a water
soluable plastic that we use for dissolvable support structures.
Ninjaflex is a rubber-like TPU (Thermo Plastic Urethane) with uses
from gaskets and seals to orthotic inserts. We are excited build
with these materials, which are all specially formulated for 3D
I have an idea for an invention but don't have time to learn all
that 3D software. Can you help?
Of course! We have designers with decades of product development
experience on staff, and have completed the required coursework
to be certified in Solidworks.
How much does it cost?
Our prices for services and equipment are on the front
page of this web site, and the prices for our materials are
in the gallery
section where you can see all the colors you can choose from.
Unlike some of our competitors, we do NOT charge a setup fee, and
when you buy equipment from us, the training and support is included.
What if I don't like how it came out?
We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our work. If you don't
like it, you don't have to pay for it, whether it is a build, a
scan or design. You don't get to keep it of course, but you are
never stuck woth something you aren't completely delighted with.
Equipment carries the manufacturer's warrantee.
Can you make something with more than one color at a time?
YES! We now have both the dually and flexy dually dual extruders
for our Lulzbot TAZs. In addition,we can make something that contains
more than one part in different colors, like our logo. The logo
was made from 5 separate parts glued together.
Can I paint these plastic objects?
You most certainly can!