What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing is the most popular form of additive manufacturing that has unleashed the potential of what we can create. Thanks to quality 3d printers and innovative materials, we have the ability to make products we only ever dreamed of right now!

FDM 3D Printing can be for everyone, from school teachers 3D Printing education models, medical personal for custom prosthetics, small business for prototyping / small production runs, home users for hobby and repair and even artists and cosplayers. Quality 3D Printing Systems have found a place in short-run or made-to-order production.

3D Printing Technologies

The three main 3D Printing technologies are FDM / FFF, SLS and SLA.

FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology works by drawing thermoplastic filament from a spool into a heated extruder nozzle. The nozzle deposits and fuses the plastic layer by layer eventually creating your three dimensional object.

FDM is the most popular form of 3D Printing thanks to its affordability, ease of use, larger print volume, wide range of material types and its advancement into SLA level resolution (down to 10 microns). Thanks to products like Polymakers Polysher its possible to achieve finishes similar to an injection moulded part. High quality FDM 3D Printers can cost between $900 – $5,000 AUD depending on your desired build volume.


SLA
(Stereolithography) technology works by lowering a perforated platform into a tank filled with thermoset resin. A highly focused laser draws a pattern of light which hardens a thin layer of plastic (50-10 microns) layer by layer until you have a 3 dimensional object.

SLA is popular for models that require extremely high detail however SLA is still a niche technology due to its messiness, high material cost, limited material properties and impractability for functional parts (they are affected by UV/Sunlight). High quality SLA systems can be brought starting at $6,000 AUD.


SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology works by using a laser to sinter powdered material (typically Metal or Nylon). The object is build layer by layer with the unused powder supporting the next layer. After printing the excess powder is excavated from the model by hand and reused for the next print.

SLS is typically used for limited run manufacturing to produce end-use parts with extremely complex geometries. Operating an SLS 3D printer typically requires significant operational training. SLS printers are more suited for big business and the customers are often locked into using the manufacturers proprietary consumables and expensive service contracts.

About 3D Printers

Thanks to the explosion of FDM 3D Printing there are a variety of different brands on the market. The price point typically is based quality of construction, build volume, whether the 3D Printer has a heated bed, single or dual extruders and layer height resolution.

Not all 3D Printers are equal and 3D objects printed with different brands can vary dramatically. Lower quality 3D Printers typically print with a very rough finish that requires extreme sanding and a combination of fine tinkering and multiple prints to achieve a presentable result.

Customer satisfaction is very important to us and we at 3D Printing Solutions have decided to only stock 3D Printers that we have tried and tested. Our range of 3D Printers are easy to use, versatile and produce the best quality results available.

3D Printer Range

What plastic material is used?

The most common thermoplastics for everyday printing are ABS and PLA. Thanks to innovation in the material industry, today there are now a large variety of 3D Printing materials on the market with a diverse range of properties. We now have PLA strength enhanced materials that are 9 times stronger than regular PLA, PC materials specifically designed for engineering applications, Flexible TPU materials and even PLA based close-cell foam materials that offer the ability to print lightweight structures.

When deciding what material to purchase, you need to consider you application and which material type will be best suited for you. As with all consumables the quality varies with the price. It is important to be aware that there are a lot of cheaper filaments flooding the market many of which don’t produce acceptable finishes or worse will just clog your printer extruder head and may even damage it.

About 3D Printer Filament

Supports

To print certain geometries the 3D printer will print what are called ‘supports’. These supports are thin generated scaffolds that allow the printer to 3d print features and overhangs which would otherwise be printing in thin air. These supports can be peeled off after printing with minimal effort.

One advantage of using a dual extrusion 3D printer is the ability to print your support in a specialised support material which allows you to print more complex geometries. 

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Who's using 3D Printing Systems?

Ordinary People are Today's Inventors

How many times have you used a product and thought you could make it better or worked on a job where you said if only I had a thing to do this easier. We all face these situations regularly.  Before 3D printing systems creating a product by turning an idea into reality was a very expensive exercise and certainly out of reach for most people. With a 3D Printer the risk and cost is minimal. Whether you just want to make a product that solves personal problems at home or design products to market and sell a 3D printer can achieve amazing results.

  • Architecture Design
  • Casting Patterns
  • Custom Promotional Items
  • Hobby and Model making
  • Cake decoration and Cookie Cutters
  • Manufacturers

3D Printers in Education

Schools and universities are now embracing 3D Printing. They see the importance of teaching 3D Systems in the tech classroom. Some of the hybrid products they are making by combining 3D printing with traditional manufacturing like wood and metal work is outstanding.

3D Printers at Home

Parents are now buying 3D Printers for the home.  Just like our children embraced the computer they are now becoming makers with 3d printing. They are designing designing toys, figures and electronic products - who knows this technology may even drag them away from the gaming console.

3D Printers in Business

We have seen massive 3D Printer uptake by 3D Design Business’s. They can now offer their clients a full service from idea to design; rapid prototyping a product in a fraction of the traditional time-frame. Other business create unique plastic parts to order or replace and supply hard to find parts by manufacturing them on-site.


Need Help?

Dont know where to start? Or which filament will suit your application?

We have a broad range of support options including Telephone Support

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