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Tips for Selecting a 3D Printing Service

by RaihanGardiner

3D printing has transformed the way that ideas are brought to life. There are different 3D printing services available but you need to consider the cost, quality and time for the project when selecting the right service.

3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing and this is a process where 3D objects are built layer by layer. A digital design or a 3D model is used for this process and there are different materials and technologies used to achieve the final outcome. When selecting a 3D printing service, you should first have a good understanding of your project requirements. Some of the factors you need to consider are complexity, size, quantity, material and the final finish you need to achieve. Once you define the project scope, you will be able to let the 3D printing team know what you are expecting from the final outcome. There are also different technologies when it comes to 3D printing and there are pros and cons to each. Some of the 3D printing methods you will come across will be selective laser sintering, PolyJet and fused deposition modelling. You need to consider which method is appropriate for the requirements of your project. If you are looking to make functional parts that can last a long time, selective laser sintering is a good option. The 3D printing service can also make some recommendations regarding this.

Selecting the right materials is important when it comes to 3D printing.

Some of the materials you can work with are ceramics, plastics, metals and composites. Materials have to be selected based on the requirements of the project and you have to consider the colour options of the material, strength, heat resistance and flexibility. It is also important to consider the quality of printing and to determine this, you can ask to see some sample work of the service provider. You will also be able to see some of their work on their official website. Some of the factors you need to consider when evaluating quality are the surface finish of the component, dimensional accuracy and layer resolution. When you are making a functional prototype, you need to have a high quality 3D print.

You may have certain deadlines

When it comes to the project so you need to check with the company what their lead times are and their production capacity. You have to contact the service provider and verify whether they will be able to deliver the project on time. The pricing structure is another important factor to be considered. Some companies will consider the volume or weight of the material used when calculating price while others will have a cost per project or a fixed rate per hour. There has to be transparency in the cost estimates provided by the service provider and you need to check whether there are hidden fees. Some companies will have online quoting tools where you will be able to upload your 3D model and get an initial price estimate for it. This will allow you to compare prices.

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