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Printshop Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ addresses questions specifically related to our printshop. If you have questions related to equipment sales, please click here to be directed to our general FAQ.

General

I'm new to 3D Printing, but i have an idea. How do we get started?

We recommend visiting our Learn More and Create sections of the website to familiarize yourself with the process and the possibilities. In short, we need a 3D model before we can print. There are several ways to create a 3D file. If you have an idea, we recommend you go ahead and Contact Us so we can help you determine the best method to realize your goal.

What are your lead times?

Most lead times are 5 to 10 business days per desired phase of service. Mold making and casting run on longer lead times depending upon the number of parts being produced. Expedited lead times are available for every phase of service, but are subject to additional charges.

Who do I contact about having work done?

Give us a call at 1-800-376-6203 or send an email to customerservice@3dprovensystems.com.

Who retains ownership of...?

You retain all ownership of 3D files and 3D Prints unless otherwise specified and agreed upon in writing.

Why don't you price prints per cubic inch or cm?

While this pricing model affords a convenience, we have found that it does not always offer our clients the best possible value depending on the nature of their file and the technology being used.

What kind of agreement do I need to protect my work?

As per our standard Terms and Conditions, all projects are held in confidentiality unless we receive express written permission to discuss or promote them. If you would like an agreement specific to your project, we are happy to sign an NDA you provide.

3D Design

What do you mean by clean or flawed file?

A clean file is 100% ready for 3D Printing. There are no structural problems, impossible/overlapping faces, no undesired holes, or any other artifacts and errors which would cause a flaw or total print failure. A flawed filed is the opposite, including but not limited to inverted faces, non-manifold vertices, non-manifold edges, non-watertight features, floating planes, impossible geometries.

How do I know if I have a flawed file?

We recommend checking a file yourself before sending it to us. Meshlab is an example of a free program that can be used to check for clean files. Most times, flawed files are not evident in a simple visual examination. When we receive any 3rd party file (any file we did not create), we will evaluate it for flaws.

What are my options if 3D Proven Systems finds I have a flawed file?

Foremost, we won’t print a file we find to be flawed. In the event a file doesn’t pass our check there are a couple of options. When we contact you letting you know the file is flawed, we will include the specifics that need fixed as well as a quote for fixing them. If you would prefer to fix the file yourself, it will be rechecked once you send the corrected version.

What is polycount or density?

Printable 3D models are known as a mesh. Meshes create an object by representing it as a surface area. This surface area, no matter how complex is made up of “polys,” (individual triangles) --much like pixels make a digital image. Density refers to the number of polys contained to a given surface area. The higher the number, the higher the resolution of the object.

What are the minimum and maximum polycounts you can handle?

A standard mid-density 3D model generally sits in the neighborhood of 40- 50 thousands polys. This level of density captures detail, but may not capture fine textures. 1.2 million polys represents the upper limit of detail/density a 3D Printer can represent.

Can you create 3D files in color?

Yes we can; however, due to our applications we typically will not work with or produce color files other than the .wrl file format or renderings. If your project requires another 3D format and color please contact us to discuss the specifics.

3D Scanning

What scanners do you use?

We currently offer 3D scans on the Artec EVA and the HDI LMI Advance. These offer us a range of options to handle jobs ranging from small objects at a fine level of detail up to very large objects.

How does your mobile scanning service work?

Every mobile job is unique. Please Contact Us with the critical information and orthographic views of the object(s) you would like to have scanned. Mobile scanning jobs will incur travel expenses.

Why is there a calibration fee for scans?

Every scan job requires setup of the equipment and prep work to accurately scan the object(s). In the case of the HDI Advance, this means setting focal distances and gridding a field of view.

What makes some objects harder to scan than others?

Classifying an object for scanning involves a few factors. Objects with a non-uniform and highly detailed surface often rate higher in difficulty because it generally takes more time and may require object rotation to capture every face/detail. Dark, particularly saturated black, surfaces can represent another marker of difficulty. Conversely, highly reflective surfaces cause the opposite problem with the same results. Generally altering the lighting conditions or the object itself corrects any such issues.

3D Printing

What types of files can you print?

.stl, .obj. .wrl, and .ply files are formatted for 3D printing. If you are printing in color a .wrl or .obj with attached bitmap color profile are best. If you want to print but do not have a file in any of these types and cannot convert yourself, we are able to in most cases.

What materials can you print in?

In short, we offer almost every conceivable material currently available. Please visit Service to learn more.

How do I choose the right material for my project?

Material selection is generally determined by a few key requirements: Functional vs. aesthetic, color, weight, heat-resistance, electrical resistance, and general properties. Visit the Learn More and Service pages for more information or Contact Us to discuss your specific needs.

How much is a 3D Print?

It depends entirely upon which material you select and the nature of your 3D file. We handle all our print jobs on a per quote basis.

Why can’t I get a quote from your website?

It’s true that many 3D Printing resources offer automated quoting systems. We’re a solution center. We value the personal touch of actually finding out about you and your project so we can tailor our service to best meet your needs.

What happens if my print fails?

In the event of print failure we first determine why the failure occurred. In the event the failure is due to our error or mechanical failure we’ll reprint at no charge. In the event a failure is deemed to have occurred due flaws in a 3D file, correcting the flaws and reprinting may be billable.

Can I come in and use a 3D Printer for my own files if I pay for material?

While we are a print shop open to the public we do not offer direct use of our equipment to the public.

Casting

Why are the casting lead times so much longer?

Production at quantity takes time. The process of making a mold and reaching a production threshold is directly affected by the physical and mechanical aspects of the process.

What materials do you offer?

Our standard casting materials include resin, rubber, foam, wax, and metal. Outside of these we are able to acquire special order materials.

How do I choose the right material?

Material selection for casts is very much as 3D Printing.

Do you handle finishing and cleanup?

Yes. The majority of jobs we handle include cleanup and finishing for any given piece.

Can you use a mold I already own or made?

We do not typically accept a 3rd party mold except in very special circumstances. Even then, we recommend reproducing a new mold through any of our methods. In the event we do use a 3rd party mold we do not guarantee results and are not responsible for damage to the mold.

Can you use a material I already own?

We are happy to acquire a specific material to try and best fit your needs, but in order to ensure our standards and workflow we are not able to use material originating outside our workflow.

What kinds of limitations are there to mold making and casting?

In short, none that don’t have some sort of work around. The biggest question to consider is how valuable, fragile, and pristine your master is and must remain. Mold making can destroy some masters or require considerable physical alterations. If you are unable to allow us to alter a master or must be certain it is in no way altered by mold making we recommend using 3D Scanning and 3D Printing to create a master that is not subject to the same risks.

Can I use or rent your facility to make a mold or cast with my own material?

We are not able to make these types of arrangements.