24 May 2017 16:20
With any SLS project, achieving a successful print is only the first step. Once your design has emerged from the printer, it’s time to begin the post-processing stage, to give it a truly professional look. In this week’s tutorial, we’re going to look at the different steps you should consider and how to ensure they deliver the result you’re after.   Removing the leftover powder With any SLS print, you will need to remove the excess powder before any further finishing can take place, which is typically done with a blast of compressed ...
19 May 2017 15:10
While many people still think of plain-coloured plastic when it comes to 3D printing, it is not only possible, but more straightforward than ever before to achieve vivid, full-colour results for both prototypes and production parts. In this week’s tutorial we’ll look at some of the available options for achieving great results with coloured SLS prints. There are a few options for adding colour to your SLS parts during the post-processing stage. The best choice for your part will depend on its intended purpose (i.e. is it intended for demonstration purposes, ...
10 May 2017 14:51
Fused deposition modelling remains one of the most popular techniques for 3D printing amongst hobbyists, AM bureaus and industrial manufacturing companies alike. In this tutorial, we’ll take a closer look at the mechanics of the process and share some practical tips for getting the most out of your chosen materials and 3D printers.   What is fused deposition modelling? Fused deposition modelling prints 3D objects by using a heated filament to manually build up layers of material. A thermoplastic material is heated to a semi-liquid state, after which an extrusion head builds the layers ...
09 May 2017 17:15
Anyone -- amateur and professional alike -- who has ever printed a 3D CAD model has utilised 3D slicing software. Slicing programmes are the tool that translate 3D models -- everything from simple geometric shapes to complex medical and architectural models -- into information that the printer can use to bring the design to life. Crucially, the right 3D slicing software will allow you to strike the perfect balance between fast printing and the quality of the printed part, so it’s important to select the right tool, and make effective ...
04 May 2017 15:28
Ever since Chuck Hull printed his first prototype at home more than 30 years ago, plastics have been the material type most associated with the field of additive manufacturing. 3D printing with plastics allows for the quick creation of quality prototypes, but with recent advances in printing materials and technology, also offers opportunities for the creation of functional parts, suitable for mass production. In this short tutorial, we will look closely at some of the options currently available for printing with plastics, their respective advantages/disadvantages, and some of the key ...
07 April 2017 14:45
Achieving the right polygon count is an essential part of achieving a professional result with 3D printed parts and prototypes. The polygon count determines the level of detail in the finished printed part, and so will need to be sufficiently high to capture the appropriate level of detail. However, this is not simply a question of setting the count as high as possible, as this can lead to a number of issues that will disrupt your project flows: Unmanageable file sizes. The higher your polygon count, the larger the resulting ...
20 March 2017 18:33
Since their introduction in 1987, STL (Stereolithography) files have remained the default format for printing in the field of additive manufacturing. In this tutorial, we’ll look closely at this file format and share a few ways to make more effective use of its capabilities as part of your own additive manufacturing projects. How they work STL files are available in both ASCII and binary formats, although in practice, binary representations are more commonly used in additive manufacturing to minimise file sizes. ASCII-formatted files are typically reserved for testing new CAD interfaces. Models generated ...
15 March 2017 18:02
“Compared with a traditionally cast part, a printed [part] has superior strength, ductility, and fracture resistance, with a lower variability in materials’ properties.” Elon Musk   While plastic-based materials have been utilised for the majority of additive manufacturing projects since the technology’s inception, recent developments in metal printing materials mean that producing functional metal parts is now not only feasible, but worthy of serious consideration for a range of industries. The possibility of using additive manufacturing techniques to deliver parts with the same mechanical qualities as their machined counterparts has helped open the ...